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Philippines Violence Against Journalists Increases

UNESCO Voices Alarm At Escalating Violence Against Journalists In Philippines

Condemning the second murder of a Philippines reporter in a week - and the 11th this year - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO) has voiced alarm at the escalating violence against journalists in the southeast Asian country, calling it a direct attack on democracy.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), reported that 23 year-old Stephen Omais, a staff writer of the bimonthly community paper Guru Press, was found dead with torture marks on his body in Tabuk Town, northern Philippines, after the entire paper received death threats in relation to a story about a public works project.

“The murderers of Mr. Omais, whose body was found in a garbage bin, appear to be bent on meting out the same treatment to democracy and rule of law,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement.

“Violence against journalists in the Philippines has recently escalated and is reaching a truly alarming level. To protect democracy and rule of law, adequate measures must be taken to bring the criminals responsible for these barbarous acts of violence to trial,” he added.

Professional organizations said Mr. Omais was the 46th journalist to have been assassinated since the establishment of democracy in the Philippines in 1986, and they denounce the fact that not one successful prosecution has been made in connection with these murders.

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