[In the Web] World marks 2nd year of massacre


Justice to the Victims of Maguindanao Massacre! Photo from kilusan.net

BAGUIO CITY ,Philippines  – The world marks the second anniversary of the Maguindanao massacre as International Day to End Impunity (IDEI).

Though it is disheartening especially to Filipinos, the event recalls the single deadliest attack on the press ever, said Rowena Paraan, executive director of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Media Safety Office in the Philippines.

At least 58 were killed including 32 members of the media on Nov. 23, 2009 when around a hundred gunmen stopped a convoy on its way to file the candidacy of now Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.

The victims were systematically murdered and buried in shallow pits or dumped in grasslands near a remote highway in Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan town.

Groups around the world espousing free expression and press organizations will mark the first International Day to End Impunity, a global call to demand justice for those persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

“It is just unfortunate that that day is marked as such as if the Philippines is the center of impunity (a negative tag) worldwide,” Paraan told a forum of journalism students and media practitioners here preparing activities for the Nov. 23 commemoration.

The Toronto-based International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a network of 95 free expression and free press organizations worldwide, is lead organizer of the IDEI.

The Maguindanao massacre is considered the worst single incident of electoral violence in recent Philippine history and the single deadliest attack on the press ever.

IFEX said from Mexico to Russia, Iraq to Somalia, “journalists, media workers, writers and others who speak truth to power continue to be murdered with impunity.”

The Philippines was earlier tagged as one of the deadliest countries for journalists.

Citing figures from the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), Paraan said 146 journalists have been killed in the country since 1986 when democracy was restored.

But it was lamentable that there were only 10 cases where convictions have been successful, though not one among the masterminds was convicted.

Already, there were five work-related killings of journalists under President Aquino and 15 active media court cases, including the Maguindanao massacre where 196 are suspects but only 93 are in jail and 103 remain at large.

Read full story at http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=749948&publicationSubCategoryId=63

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