UP Journalism to Duterte: Retract unjust remark on media killings
The Journalism Department of the University of the Philippines in Diliman has called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to retract his “unwarranted, unjust, and irresponsible” statement justifying the killings of journalists in the country.
In a statement, UP Journalism students and faculty members denounced Duterte’s “misinformed and malicious” remarks on media killings as a signal of impunity.
“The Journalism Department of the University of the Philippines strongly denounces the statement of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on the killings of journalists in the country. His statement is a condonation of the cold-blooded murders of journalists and media practitioners.
Worse, it signals impunity instead of justice for these criminal acts,” the school said in a statement.
“We call on Duterte to retract his statement that many journalists are killed because they are corrupt or unethical,” it added.
READ: Duterte triggers outrage
In a televised press conference on Tuesday, Duterte said there was justification for killing of journalists who engaged in corrupt activities. The brash talking long-time mayor said corrupt journalists deserved to die.
“Even if you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch,” Duterte told reporters when asked how he would solve the perennial problem of media killings in the country after a reporter was shot dead in Quiapo, Manila last week.
“Kaya namamatay, karamihan niyan nabayaran sila. They take sides or sobrahan sila ng atake, getting personal,” he said.
The UP journalism school lamented that, contrary to Duterte’s statement, most journalists were being killed for exposing corruption. They called on the incoming President to “set an example in honoring and upholding press freedom.”
“Contrary to his misinformed and malicious statements, majority of the slain journalists were killed in their attempt to expose corruption and crime in their communities. Thus, Duterte’s statement is unwarranted, unjust, and irresponsible, coming from the soon to be Head of State,” the group said.
“We cannot simply accept that Duterte was again “misinterpreted” in his statement on journalist killings. His words were plain enough for all audiences to understand,” it added.
The Philippines is the second-deadliest country for journalists in the world, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
On November 23, 2009, around 32 media workers were massacred in Maguindanao province, dubbed as the single deadliest event for journalists in history.
The statement was signed by faculty members and lecturers Evelyn Katigbak, Danilo Arao, Yvonne Chua, Rachel Khan, Ma. Diosa Labiste, Marichu Lambino, Cristina Rara, Jimmy Domingo, Ivy Mendoza and Tress Reyes.
Other signatories were UP journalism students led by student council representatives Raphael Rayco and Miiko Al Rashid Ringia; Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Up Dilima chairperson Danielle Isaac; UP Journalism Club president Paul John Domalaon; and Tinig ng Plaridel editor in chief Krysten Boado. TVJ
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