Government urged to act vs media killings

By Cecille Suerte Felipe Updated December 10, 2008 12:00 AM

The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalist (FFFJ) called on the government anew to address the unsolved killings of journalists, including the cases of 39 newsmen murdered during the administration of President Arroyo.

The FFFJ made the call in connection with today’s celebration of International Human Rights Day, with the United Nation’s 2008 theme “Dignity and justice for all of us,” which reinforces the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as a commitment to universal dignity and justice.

Since the declaration was adopted in 1948, it has been the inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The FFFJ said the recent killing of broadcaster Leo Luna Mila of Radyo Natin in San Roque, Northern Samar brought to seven the number of journalists killed this year.

“They spoke too soon,” the FFFJ said in a statement. “This year there is an escalation in the number of killings of journalists.”

The FFFJ has been a leading voice speaking out against the continuing peril to press freedom and democracy. It has provided assistance to the survivors of slain journalists as well as witnesses for the prosecution of the killers, engaged the police and justice system to prod them into action, and hired private prosecutors to assist the government prosecutorial service.

FFFJ is a coalition formed to address the killings of journalists with member organizations that include the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), the Kapisanan ng Broadcaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), and Philippine News.

The FFFJ pointed out that prosecution of journalists’ killers and masterminds is faced with several problems including a conflict-ridden society, weak rule of law, weak judicial system, poor police investigation, lack of witness, inadequate funds and the culture of impunity.

The CMFR recorded a total of 77 journalists killed in the line of duty since 1986.(Pstar)

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