PH is fifth deadliest country for journalists
The Philippines is the fifth deadliest country for journalists, according to a media watchdog group that has cited 13 countries for enabling “impunity” by leaving more than 200 journalist killings unsolved.
But according to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, the Philippine ranking on the list released on Tuesday by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is expected, as the 2009 Maguindanao massacre remains pending in court.
CPJ said the countries cited in its Global Impunity Index for 2019 were home to the majority of journalist killings over the past 10 years.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the media security task force, said that period covered 2009 and “for as long as the massacre case remains in the equation, following the methodology used by CPJ, we [will] remain on that list.”
CPJ said the countries on its list “represent a mix of conflict-ridden regions and more stable countries where criminal groups, politicians, government officials, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative reporting.”
Thirty-two of the 58 Maguindanao massacre victims were journalists.
Somalia is the worst country for the fifth year in a row in a ranking based on deaths as a percentage of each country’s population—25 unsolved killings in a country of 15 million people.
Syria is second and Iraq, third.
The Philippines is the country with the largest number of unsolved killings, 41, followed by Mexico with 30.
The 13 countries had accounted for 222 of the 318 deaths in the last 10 years, CPJ said, with many cases linked to war and civil unrest.
“In the past decade, armed militant groups, such as al-Shabab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State group have most often targeted journalists with complete impunity,” the report said.
“However, criminal groups have become a major threat, killing large numbers of journalists and routinely escaping justice. Mexico, to date this year’s deadliest country for journalists, has seen its impunity rating worsen nearly every year since 2008, as criminal cartels waged a campaign of terror against the media,” it said.
Other countries making up the 13 worst are South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria and India.
Egco said he expected the Philippine ranking to improve in 2020, when the index would no longer include the Maguindanao massacre.
He said the decision on the case was expected to be promulgated soon.
The task force, Egco said, would get in touch with CPJ to discuss its methodology, which included cases deemed not related to journalism.
3 charged in columnist’s death
Murder charges have been filed against three suspects in the killing of Remate columnist Jupiter Gonzales and his friend Christopher Tiongson in Pampanga on Oct. 20.
Charged were Armando Velasco, Edgardo Cabrera and a John Doe. —WITH A REPORT FROM AFP
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