11/30/2004, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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International media organisation to investigate killing of Filipino journalists

by Sonny Evangelista

Manila (AsiaNews) – A delegation of journalists and officials from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) will visit the Philippines in early January. They will be traveling to the provinces where journalists have been killed to meet with senior officials to discuss the culture of impunity that appears to be responsible for the phenomenon, this according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

Last Saturday evening, another photo-journalist, Allan Dizon, 30, of the Freeman newspaper, was brutally killed while running away from a gunman behind a shopping mall in Cebu City in central Philippines. He is the fourth journalists killed in November alone and the 12th this year. The police is still investigating the motive behind Dizon's murder.

"The killers appear to be stepping up the violence. It sends a clear message to the government that their rhetoric about press freedom and justice for journalists is just that - rhetoric," said IFJ President Christopher Warren. "How many more journalists have to die before the Philippines government will put their words into action? The people responsible for these deaths are not being prosecuted and until they do journalists will continue to die. It is well overdue for this culture of impunity to end."

"Dizon's killing last Saturday indicates what should be obvious by now: the killers of journalists are becoming bolder. They are thumbing their noses at an administration whose rhetoric about protecting press freedom has not been matched by action," writes Carlos Conde of NUJP.

The murder took place in a public place, which clearly shows that "the killers wanted people to witness their barbarity, perhaps to strike fear in the hearts of journalists."

In November, every assassination was carried out in cold blood and in public places. According to Conde, "the only way for this culture of impunity to end is for the government to apply the full force of the law and due process to bring the killers to justice." He added that "2004 has been a long, long year of mourning and outrage for Filipino journalists".

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