Wednesday 25 November 2009

Aid pledge for families of massacred journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists says it is working with local and international media support groups to extend assistance to the families of the journalists killed on Monday in a brutal election-related massacre in the Philippine province of Maguindanao.
Most news reports put the death toll at 46, with at least 12 of the victims preliminarily identified as journalists. Among the press corps victims, most appeared to be reporters for local media or stringers for national outlets.
CPJ says it is heartened by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s strong response, which included pledges for full investigation and prosecution of the apparently politically motivated killings. But CPJ also said that the state of emergency declared in the province must not interfere with journalists seeking access and information to report on the killings.
“The Philippines has a long history of impunity in the case of the deaths of journalists — a history it had started to work to reverse in recent years. Now the country needs its press corps to fully cover this story of wanton political violence, which took so many lives, including those of journalists,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.
“The president might not be able to reverse the culture of violence that surrounds so much of political life in the Philippines, but she can certainly use this terrible incident to fight the impunity that surrounds journalists’ deaths,” he said.

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