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Unraveling issues of Media killings and the culture of impunity

CM 218 – Mass Media and Society

Mock Press Conference

July 08, 2010

University of the East - Manila

Prof. Gladys Serafica

Guest Media Critics

Amer Amor

Charmie Pagulong

Presented by:

Acuna, Abegail I

Alcantara, Luis Jaime III D.

Asino, Rizie a.

Cervantes, Karla Camille

Estrada, Robinson

Izar, Nikko Norman C.

Pascua, Geloen Shekinah s.

Pascual, Fanny E.

Sadsad, Sheila Marie S.

Fajardo, Karisma Carla

Tracing the “beat’s” history

I. Facts and Figures

Impunity Index of media killings cases

Unsolved journalist murders per 1 million inhabitants for 2000-2009. Only nations with five
or more unsolved cases are included. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions
have been obtained.

Rank Nation Unsolved Cases (in millions) Calculation Rating

1 Iraq* 88 31.5 88/31.5 2.794

2 Somalia 9 9.0 9/9.0 1.000

3 Philippines 55 90.3 55/90.3 0.609

Population data sources:

Unless otherwise indicated, 2009 World Development Indicators, World Bank
* World Population Prospects 2008, United Nations Population Division



(Updated as of 18 June 2010)

• The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) recorded 171 cases
of killing of Filipino journalists/media workers since 1986. 32% (55 cases)
non-work related and 68% (116 cases) work related.

• Of the 171 journalists/media workers killed since 1986, 116 were killed
because of their work. Seventy-eight out of the 116 work-related cases
happened during the Arroyo administration (February 2001-June 30, 2010).

• The number of journalists/media workers who were killed jumped to 113 after
32 were massacred in Maguindanao in November 2009. With 36
journalists/media workers killed, 2009 had the highest killing of Filipino
journalists/media workers in history.

• Most of the journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since 1986
were based in the provinces. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao
registered the most number (34) of work-related killings since 1986.
• One hundred and eight (93 percent) of the 116 journalists/media workers
killed in the line of duty since 1986 were male.

• Most of the journalists and media workers killed in the line of duty worked
solely for print (48 of the 116 or 41 percent), followed by those who worked
for radio (44).

• The number of print journalists who were killed increased after the
Maguindanao massacre where most (24 out of the 32 fatalities) were working
solely for print. This includes Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay whose body has yet
to be found.

CPJ’s Statistical Analysis according to Investigation (1992-2010)

Job * Gender
22 91
Broadcast reporter Male
% %

1% Camera Operator Femal

34 Columnist /
% Commentator
Local /
10 Foreig
% n
100% Local
4% Photographer

31 Murder
Print reporter/writer
% Victims
47 Taken
7% Publisher/Owner % Captive

Medium * Threatened
% 47
Type of Death
Televisi Dangerous
6% 3%
on Assignment

Impunity in Murder Beats Covered by
Cases Victims *
92% Complete impunity 38% Corruption

8% Partial justice 25% Crime

7% Human Rights
Suspected Source of Fire in
Murder Cases 60% Politics
14% Criminal group
1% War
70% Government Officials

8% Political Group Freelance

9 Freelan
9% Unknown % ce


II. Causes of media killings

A. The legal environment for Media (Laws and provisions under the Constitution)

B. Government’s attitude towards press freedom (Administrations activity and

insights for media)

C. Media’s incapacity of self-defense/Sending out the media workers in a hostile


D. Lack of political wills an inadequate legal framework, a weak judicial system,

police inefficiency, scant resources, and negligence and corruption on the part of
government as causes of impunity.

E. State of self-regulation.

F. Increasing cases of impunity.

III. What are the effects?

According to Ricardo Trotti, media killings and impunity of it will cause self-
censorship, misinformation, manipulation of news, erosion of the media’s watchdog
role, media closure, and ultimately “journalism that is reluctant to expose the truth.”

The plague of impunity is having a broader effect on society as a whole, effectively

choking off the flow of news and information.

Media killings will produce different tenets that surmise the dangers of every media
men and to the people as well. Moreover, it will be a conspicuous fact that
information flow is bounded within any outside forces. Most of the people in the
industry and the society itself became alarmed and orchestrate the law that will
protect the journalist. The said response is addressed according to what media is
portraying about the hostile environment media have. Moreover, they have driven to
a point that current administration or government is the primary factor of the cases.
At the end, three things will happen. They will be too precautious for any news
related on media killings. Diminishing trust for the government, since the
government failed to respond to the increasing cases of media killings and impunity.
Lastly, it will create a mere distort image of what media is all about and what is its

V. Solutions

A. According to Luis V. Teodoro

1. Media advocacy and journalists’ organizations need to deepen and accelerate the
continuing education of journalists, especially of the untrained or inadequately
trained. But it is also necessary to engage journalism schools and the Commission on
Higher Education to assist the effort to improve the professional and ethical training
of future practitioners at the tertiary level. The same groups including journalism and
communication schools must add media literacy planks to their training programs to
educate the public on the essential role of the press in society as well as on the need
for the public to monitor press performance and to demand observance of the press’
own values.

2. As the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility has been doing, other media
advocacy and journalists’ groups need to engage the law community on at least two
levels: initiating changes in the law curriculum towards the encouragement of free
expression advocacy as suggested by Dean Pangalangan, and to work with the same
community in the reform of those laws that affect the exercise of free expression,
such as the libel law, the decriminalization of which is decades overdue.

3. Equally important, the press needs to even more rigorously monitor and hold the
powerful to account, to give voice to the voiceless, to be fair, humane and just, and
to defend its constitutionally protected freedom both through conscious advocacy as
well as responsible practice.
B. According to Melinda Quintos De Jesus

Melinda Quintos de Jesus discussed the importance of ethics and journalistic

principles in the safety training program. She noted, “If journalists do the right thing,
they will be protected by the people. There will be public outrage when someone is
killed. There will be action at the highest level because there is outrage that a good
journalist is killed.”

C. Media industry must also look inwards to consider what they themselves can do to
protect journalists – from self-regulating against unscrupulous journalism to
providing journalist trainings on ethics, safety, and security

D. Finally, the market should involve its own checks. Public awareness and media
literacy empowers citizens to use the press more critically.The last involves the
public in the upholding media freedom as well as the social responsibilities of
journalism as public service. A media literate public appreciates and understands the
role of the press in society. The public can evaluate the performance of the press,
voice its criticism of its failings as well as encourage and applaud its strong points.
E. Merging of different Government organizations (esp. Law/security related) , NGO’s
and Journalists group.





“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He
will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6)