Crimes and Unpunishment: New publication relates killings of Filipino journalists
The UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) have launched Crimes and Unpunishment: The Killing of Filipino Journalists, which documents the major crimes against journalists since 1986, the year when democracy was restored to the Philippines after years of authoritarian rule.
Since 1986, a total of 125 Filipino journalists (as of June 2012) have been killed in the line of duty, according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, making the Philippines the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists, after Iraq.
This notoriety was highlighted by the massacre on 23 November 2009 of 32 media workers, along with 27 other civilians, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao. This fateful day has become the single worst attack on the Philippine press, prompting the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) to designate 23 November as International Day to End Impunity, as a reminder to everyone that such things should never happen again.
The book focuses on the fact that the killers of these journalists often remain unpunished. Six Filipino scholars analyse the reasons for this seeming culture of impunity from various points of view - anthropological, psychological, political, economic, legal, as well as from mass media perspectives.
The book concludes with incisive and thoughtful recommendations to tackle this culture of impunity. These recommendations may, however, remain on paper without political will and civic determination.