PHILIPPINES: Getting Away with Media Manslaughter

LAUREN CHEN WRITES- Hopefully this murder won’t become another unsolved media mystery. Recently, radio broadcaster Mario Vendiola, 33, was gunned down and killed in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay. On his motorcycle ride home, Vendiola was shot 3 times in the chest and was declared dead before reaching the hospital. He was an announcer for Manila Broadcasting Company’s Radyo Natin, the biggest radio network in the Philippines. He was also the news correspondent for DXNC-Radyo Suhnan. No suspects and no motive have been identified.


“These kinds of attacks against members of the media are rooted in a culture of impunity in the Philippines”, said correspondent Bob Dietz from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The Philippine Constitution protects press freedom yet, the Philippines is ranked as the world’s second most deadly country for the press, with 55 journalist murders unsolved in the past decade, according to CPJ research.


The National Press Club (NPC) president Benny Antiporda said, “it is not surprising anymore that media killings continue under the Aquino administration because it is not giving enough attention to the plight of journalists in the country.” The Aquino presidency has ignored the NPC’s appeal for a government body made to solve and punish media killings.


The corrupt criminal justice system is responsible for politically motivated attacks on the press and the number of perpetrators running free. “Unpunished violence against journalists often leads to vast self-censorship”, said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. Each senseless killing is a damper on press freedom and the right to information.


The Philippine culture of impunity remains an enemy for journalism.


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