This past week marks the two-year anniversary of the massacre in the town of Ampatuan in northern Mindanao. Fifty-eight people were killed in the massacre, thirty-three of them, journalists. Even now, journalists who are asked to cover news in Ampatuan fear sniper attacks and refuse to film at night. Art Bonjoc Jr., an area news manager of major network ABS-CBN, commented that the massacre “…made me realize the Philippine press is not free at all, and if journalists are not free, then, Filipinos, in general, are not free.” Journalists in the Philippines live in a “culture of impunity,” says says a recently done survey, in which journalists can be threatened at any time, even while reporting. This culture has led to many Filipino journalists self-censoring out of fear. We can only hope that the government will do everything in its power to do a much better job of protecting journalists.
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