Update on ousted dxDC station manager Dodong Solis, the tireless cycling development supporter in Mindanao:
NUJP on World Press Freedom Day
By Press Release | Monday| May 3, 2010
Today, World Press Freedom Day, we the members of the Philippine press call to account this administration whose sins of omission and commission over the past nine years have resulted in the most murderous period for the media, not only in our country’s history but the world’s.
Since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was borne to power by the people, we have seen media practitioners murdered in record numbers – 100 of the 137 killed since 1987 were slain under her watch – capped by the unprecedented slaughter of 32 journalists and media staff last November 23, the worst single attack on journalists ever.
If anyone should bear responsibility for this outrage, aside from the accused members and armed retainers of a clan that counts among Arroyo’s staunchest allies, it is Arroyo herself.
She whose apathy and even outright hostility towards that bulwark of democracy, a free press, has led to inaction on past killings, thereby emboldening those who would suppress freedom of expression and the people’s right to know into doing so with impunity.
She who nurtured warlords, allowing them to build up massive arsenals and armies and obscene wealth in their invariably poverty- and war-ridden fiefdoms, in exchange for ensuring the survival of an administration whose legitimacy had always been under question. If we are to go by the conviction record of those responsible for the murder of our colleagues – six gunmen, and no masterminds – it would not need genius to conclude that many of those who ordered these killings count among her warlord allies.
She who, the only one since the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, attempted a wholesale clampdown on the media in 2006, when she declared a state of national emergency that former allies disillusioned with her misrule confirmed was mainly intended to silence an increasingly critical press rather than contain any supposed threat to government.
She whose glaring silence as her husband brazenly abused the influence he wielded as her spouse embarked on what has aptly been described as a litigious spree of libel suits against more than 40 journalists, a silence that cannot be interpreted any other way but as tacit approval.
Yes, today, World Press Freedom Day, we call to account this president who has proven herself to be a true enemy of press freedom.
Yet today, we also call to account those who seek to govern this country after her, they who spout promises of a better future but whose voices were hardly heard in the immediate aftermath of the Ampatuan massacre or, truth to tell, the scores of other media murders over the past nine years, and who have, till now, remain deafeningly silent on the life and death issues of human rights and civil liberties, including press freedom.
We serve notice that whoever ascends to the presidency after May 10 will be held as equally accountable as the current president for ensuring that justice is done, not only for the Ampatuan massacre but for all the media murders of the past. For, lest they forget or refuse to remember, these crimes are not a matter of one administration’s accountability but of the State.
But today, even as we continue to rage against the continued efforts to suppress the freedom of the press and the people’s right to know, we also celebrate the Philippine media community, who remain fiercely independent because they choose to be so despite all efforts to stifle them.
Time and again, the Philippine media have proven that, notwithstanding the often raucous nature of professional competition, they are truly united in defense of our freedoms and liberties, and those of the people they serve.
And today, World Press Freedom Day, we, the independent Philippine press vow to remain so, in the service of the people and of the nation.
NUJP calls for public outrage vs clearing of 2 Ampatuans in massacre
Media suffered an unprecedented attack with the terrible tragedy that struck the Philippines on Monday 23 November 2009 . The news is unfolding on a daily basis, but the latest information today is that 30 journalists and media workers have been confirmed killed with an expectation that this will rise to at least 34, the total number of journalist and media workers reported to have set out on the convoy that was subsequently ambushed and massacred.
This is the biggest single atrocity against journalists in recent history.
The IFJ is working very closely to support our colleagues at the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) who immediately sent a mission to the scene of the massacre, arriving Wednesday. According to the NUJP 59 bodies have now been found in shallow graves, often beheaded and heavily mutilated.
Prior to this attack at least 75 journalists had been killed under the Arroyo government and only four cases have seen successful prosecutions. Outside of Iraq, the Philippines has become the most dangerous country for journalists this century.
A clear culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish under this government which must no longer be tolerated.
The IFJ is sending an international mission to Manila, 7 – 10 December, to support the NUJP, provide solidarity to journalists and the families of the victims, and to send the clearest message possible to the government that this is an outrage they will not be allowed to forget.
We need your help to reinforce this message, to demonstrate our sorrow, our anger, and our determination that such a crime will not go unpunished.
To do this the IFJ is calling on all affiliates to join a global day of solidarity on 9th December to coincide with the mission press conference on the 9th, the day before International Human Rights day.
Messages of solidarity and sympathy can be posted on this page.
Full details of the actions are enclosed in the attached documents.
Please join us !
Jim Boumelha AIDAN WHITE
IFJ President IFJ General Secretary
The IFJ has called for the international community to intervene to demand a full investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the biggest single massacre of working journalists in recent history.
The IFJ call came after at least twelve journalists were murdered when a political convoy of over 36 persons was ambushed and slaughtered by gunmen in the Maguindanao province of Southern Philippines.
“This is an event which shocks journalists around the world to the core,’ said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We need a strong and urgent response from the Philippine government and the international community.”
The political convoy was led by Genalyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu, who was on her way to file her husband’s nomination as a candidate for the forthcoming election for governor of Maguindanao province. Journalists were part of the convoy along with several members of her family.
The convoy was ambushed Monday morning by around 100 armed men, who took them to a remote location before massacring them all. Most were shot; some were beheaded and driven over by vehicles.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) among the victims were at least 12 journalists covering the political development who were accompanying the political convoy.
This is the darkest day in the history of journalism in the Philippines, which, outside of Iraq, has topped the tables of countries where journalists are most at risk in recent years.
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao Chapter Statement Condemning the Shooting of Dennis Cuesta
August 7, 2008
We condemn this atrocity befalling our colleague Dennis Cuesta of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)- dxMD in General Santos City.
Cuesta used to work with RMN-dxDC Davao before transferring to General Santos City.
We are anguished by the thought of our colleague fighting for his life at a hospital in General Santos City after criminals pumped bullets in his head last Monday.
The recurrence of such dastardly crime is yet another proof that authorities are a failure in performing their obligation of prosecuting and punishing criminals.
With this incident, impunity, once more, stares us in the eye – a grim reminder of the sad reality of how dangerous still the territory remains for media persons to operate.
Cuesta is known for tackling commentaries on controversial issues like illegal gambling, graft and corruption in government and illegal drugs in his public affairs program “Straight to the Point.”
But we will not be fazed by this yet another attempt to petrify the press with fear.
We demand authorities to find the links that will lead to the solution of Cuesta’s shooting and leave no stone unturned in the quest for justice! We demand authorities to run after the criminals and masterminds and bring them to jail!
Chairperson, NUJP Davao
******NUJP calls on all colleagues and media organizations to observe a moment of prayer, at 3 pm tomorrow (Friday), during which, journalists in General Santos City will be lighting candles right at the spot where Cuesta was shot.