Thursday, 4 March 2010

Amnesty International: Massacre of journalists in Philippines should not be seen as a 'one-off''

The massacre of of 32 journalists and media staff in Maguindanao in the Philippines last year should not be seen as an isolated incident, a meeting at Amnesty International headquarters in London was told last night.
The meeting marked 100 days since 63 people, including the journalists and media staff, who were part of an election convoy were ambushed and murdered in the Southern Philippines last November.
Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director, said the attack in Maguindanao was the worst ever on journalists and a "shocking event for the whole world".
He added: "Amnesty International's analysis is that it is important that it is not seen as a one-off" but a result of policies and politics.
International Federation of Journalists president Jim Boumelha told the meeting the Philippines was one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists - with 136 killed  since 1986.
He said there was "a culture of impunity" with  the murderers of journalists very rarely brought to account.
Boumelha said that the type of militias and warlords believed to have been responsible for the massacre had been used to fight insurgents.
The IFJ has called on the Philippines government to:
  • Address the massacre and culture of impunity
  • Support the families of the murdered journalists
  • Give security to the journalists still working in the Philippines.
The IFJ is also calling for protection of witnesses and the judiciary when those accused of the massacre come to trial.

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