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Safety Situation in the Philippines Getting Worse

Safety Situation in the Philippines Going From Bad To Worse, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has renewed its concerns about the safety of journalists in the Philippines after a week of violent attacks on media workers.

The situation for journalists in the Philippines has gone from bad to worse this week when a journalist was violently attacked, on May 16, 2006, just hours after Albert Orsolino, a photojournalist with Saski Ngayon, was murdered in the capital Manila.

Iring Maranan, columnist and host of a local television program, was mauled by San Pablo City Councillor Edgardo Adajar in full view of over 100 people, including other journalists. The assault on Maranan, an ardent critic of the city government, was caught on camera.

“The attack of a journalist by a councillor is shocking enough, but in full view of witnesses and in front of cameras it is particularly worrisome as it demonstrates a total lack of fear of prosecution,” IFJ president Christopher Warren said.

Only days before, on May 6, a local radio announcer was shot by unidentified men in Naga City, located 377 kilometres south of Manila.

Paul Manaog, president of the Camarines Sur Capitol Press Association and a radio journalist for local radio station DWLL, was shot at five times and hit while walking with his wife, along Magsaysay Avenue. The radio station is owned by the family of Luis Villafuerte, a representative of the political party Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino for Camarines Sur. Manaog is in a critical condition in hospital.

These latest incidents come in the wake of recent figures released by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that claim the majority of cases of media murders have been solved. “The escalating violence against journalists in the Philippines is very distressing and highlights the appalling culture of impunity enjoyed by killers and attackers of journalists,” Warren said.

“When journalists are killed or attacked for their work it is a shocking assault on press freedom and the Philippines Government is clearly not doing enough to ensure the protection of media workers, and the prosecution of perpetrators,” he said.

“The IFJ reiterates its calls for an independent investigation into these recent attacks, and for the government of the Philippines to make a concerted effort to protect and defend the rights and safety of journalists.”

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