- Police raid Cairo offices of Turkish Anadolu News Agency, arrest at least 4
- Ugandan police harass and detain journalists covering opposition politician Bobi Wine
- Journalist Patricia Kayuni assaulted while covering protest in Malawi
- Missing radio anchor found dead in Mexico’s Michoacán state
- Sudan suspends four news outlets over alleged financial link to Bashir regime
- Colombian magazine Semana alleges military spied on its journalists
- Montenegro reporters Živković and Raičević charged with criminal incitement
- Malawi detains, charges 3 journalists seeking to cover EU delegation’s return
- Journalists threatened, assaulted while covering local politician in Sierra Leone
Reporter Without Borders
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- Two reporters arrested in Comoros, placed under judicial control
- Reporters Without Borders, Index on Censorship and Transparency International UK urge Azerbaijan to lift journalist’s travel ban
- Sudan closes four media outlets that supported former regime
- Does crisis at leading daily mean end to investigative journalism in Estonia?
- Reporter beaten and left for dead in northern Bangladesh
- Two Iraqi journalists shot dead after covering protests in Basra
- Constitutional Court hears case against controversial snooping law
Philippines May 14, 2012
H.E. Benigno Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
Fax: (011.63.2) 735.6152
We thank your government for its words of support for journalists on World Press Freedom Day. Sadly, the echo of those words was still sounding when yet another Philippine journalist was assassinated. Nestor Libaton, 45, an anchor for the church-run, DXHM Radio, in the southern city of Mati in Davao Oriental province in Mindanao, was shot dead on May 8 as he rode a motorcycle driven by a fellow reporter.
His murder follows by two weeks the killing of Michael Jayson Calanasan, 36, a reporter for the local, Laguna Courier, newspaper. He was shot by two gunmen, also while riding a motorcycle in the province of Laguna. Fortunately, his wife who was with him, was not harmed.
The Philippines ranks third on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2012 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free. The reason is clear: attacks against journalists are frightfully common in the southern tip (particularly on Mindanao island) of the Philippines and almost always remain unpunished. From 1996 to 2008, government records show at least 76 journalists have been killed in the Philippines. Journalist groups list 104 slain over a similar period. Those who wish to silence journalists exposing corrupt or other illegal activities find that murder is often the best option, as they will most likely never be brought to justice.
This shameful impunity has affected journalistic practices in the country, forestalling investigative reporting on sensitive issues and increasing self-censorship. It has also tainted the international image of the Philippines and its democratic institutions.
In your World Press Freedom Day statement, you again pledged to protect journalists. But we find it ironic that you said, "Every time we hear of an attempt on media personnel, we immediately inform the Philippine National Police.” Clearly, the police are among those who need to be investigated. Elements of the police have fueled the hostile climate against journalists and are suspected of targeting journalists in several ways.
The Overseas Press Club of America, an independent organization that has defended press freedom around the world for more than 70 years, asks you to live up to your words and take real action to protect Philippine journalists so that they can be the strong independent voice that is vital to any democracy.
Thank you for your attention. We would appreciate a reply.
Freedom of the Press Committee
H.E. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.
Ambassador of the Philippines to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines
1600 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Fax: (202) 467.9417
Ambassador Libran N. Cabactulan
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
556 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Fax: (212) 840.8602
H.E. Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
Embassy of the United States of America
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Manila
Fax: (011.63.2) 301.2399
Philippine National Union of Journalists
Barangay Sacred Heart
105-A Scout Castor, Quezon City
Fax: (011.63.2) 400.5059
The Editor, Manila Times
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520