Drug war study sees relation between media presence and death toll
A study from different local and foreign educational institutions found a relation between the areas most covered by media and the concentration of individuals killed due to the administration’s war on drugs.
“The caveat we will point out here is that killings in areas with active media are more likely to be in this data set because we relied on publicly available information,” Professor Clarissa David of the Ateneo School of Government said on Monday during the presentation of their study.
According to David, the research started by gathering and consolidating news reports and kill lists from different news agencies, and then verifying it to obtain the data.
The study funded by Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle Universities with the Columbia Journalism School confirmed 5,021 drug war deaths reported by media, with 2,753 killed in legitimate police operations, 1,907 killed by unknown assailants, and 335 found dead.
Most of the victims were from the National Capital Region (NCR), which has 2,000 casualties. The cities with the highest number of killings are Manila (463), Quezon City (400), and Caloocan (373).
Outside NCR, the province with the most number of drug-related deaths is Bulacan (644 deaths), which is adjacent to Metro Manila where most media companies are based. Cebu, the site of several news bureaus, registered the third-most numbers at 383 deaths.
However, David said the study acknowledges that there may be other hotspots which were not covered by media, which means that the initially verified number of 5,021 deaths may actually be bigger.
“It may be possible that there are other hotspots in other provinces where media presence is not high,” she added, stressing on the importance of media coverage of anti-drug operations. /ee
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