The undersigned faculty members of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) strongly condemn the killing last July 3 of radio broadcaster Rolando Morales of DWMD Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) South Cotabato.
Morales, 43, is the sixth journalist killed this year and the 69th since democracy was supposedly restored in 1986. He was riding on his motorcycle along the national highway in Polomolok town when eight men on four motorbikes shot him.
That he suffered 15 gunshot wounds proves that the killers wanted to make sure he was dead. The killers of journalists have become bolder no doubt as a result of the government’s failure to bring the perpetrators of past media killings to justice.
The administration should be doubly concerned because 46% of the murders happened during the incumbency of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Yes, 32 journalists have been killed since she assumed office in 2001! It comes as no surprise that the Philippines
has been called “the most murderous place in the world” to practice journalism by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Nothing much has been done to solve the killings. Even the establishment of the Philippine National Police’s Task Force Newsman did not result in the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the murders.
The volatility of the political situation should make the Arroyo administration more responsive to this issue. The movement for the President’s resignation will only get bigger if the murder of journalists continues.
The administration should remember that in the context of press freedom, it has a responsibility to create an atmosphere conducive to the effective practice of the media profession. The administration must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice and that journalists will not end up being punished for engaging in their primary task of truth-telling.
It must act now. Its failure could help lead to its downfall.
This statement released on 7 July 2005 was signed by 18 faculty members of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) led by Dean Nicanor G. Tiongson. For verification, please call Prof. Danilo A. Arao (Chair, Department of Journalism) at 920-6852 or (0917) 833-ARAO.
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