Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dismantle the culture of impunity

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) came out today with the statement below:

IFJ calls for more action to dismantle the "culture of impunity" of the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is heartened by news of the arrest of a suspected journalist murderer, but has called for more action from the Philippines government to end the culture of impunity about journalist murders in the Philippines.

According to local reports police have arrested one of two suspects in the murder of photojournalist Albert Orsolino who was murdered on May 16, 2006.

"We are finally seeing some concrete action by President Gloria Arroyo and her government to address the shocking number of journalists who have been killed in the Philippines," IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

"But more needs to be done to send the message loud and clear that journalist murderers will be caught and prosecuted," Warren said.

"Nearly 50 journalists have been killed under Arroyo's rule, and this is a step in the right direction to finding the perpetrators of these targeted crimes and bringing them to justice. The IFJ hopes that the recent arrest of the suspect in Orsolino's murder is a positive sign of things to come," Warren said.

"These are small victories in the long struggle towards press freedom and safety for journalists in the Philippines," he said.

The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, calls on the Philippines government to put in place practical actions to dismantle the culture of impunity that has flourished under Arroyo's rule.

At its fifth annual congress, held August 27 to 28 in Tagaytay City, IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) remained "unbowed" and determined to continue to fight for the rights and lives of journalists in the Philippines.

"It is inspiring to see the growing numbers of committed journalists who stand up for a free press in the face of danger, threats, intimidation and assaults," Warren said.

"The NUJP, through its dedication to journalists' safety and enhancing the working and economic conditions for journalists in the Philippines, is a vital support network for the Filipino media in their struggle. The IFJ commends the NUJP on their valuable work."

The NUJP also elected a new set of directors and officers. The IFJ sends its warm congratulations to the newly elected team, and our heartfelt thanks to the outgoing team.

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