HRW urges PH state action vs media killings
MANILA, Philippines – Journalists continue to be at risk of targeted killings so long as President Rodrigo Duterte actively endorses extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday, August 12.
“Despite its assurances that journalists are safer now, Duterte’s task force will suffer the same fate so long as the administration actively endorses extrajudicial killings,” HRW Asia Division Researcher Carlos Conde said.
Data from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) shows that since 1986, 177 journalists and media workers have been killed in the Philippines, making the country one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism.
In October 2016, Duterte signed an administrative order (AO) creating the "Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media.”
Chaired by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, it is tasked to ensure a safe environment for media workers in the country.
But at least 4 members of the press have been killed since the Duterte administration took over on June 30, 2016, two just this month – Radyo ng Bayan anchor Rudy Alicaway on August 6, and Radio Mindanao Network reporter Leodoro Diaz on August 7.
Journalist Larry Que was shot dead in December 2016 – the first media killing case under the new administration. Three months later, in March, Remate columnist Joaquin Briones was gunned down.
Many journalists have also reported receiving death threats or were harassed in line with their work. In fact, according to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, “insults and open threats against the media by Duterte, another new strongman, do not bode well.”
This situation, according to Conde, “highlights the need for the Duterte administration to deliver on promises to apprehend those responsible” for the deaths of media personnel.
“Without accountability for killings of journalists, media freedom in the Philippines will remain under threat,” he said. – Rappler.com