Govt aghast at PH tag as dangerous to media

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Malacañang is not elated by reports that the Philippines remains the fourth worst place for journalists.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Friday blamed the continuing stigma on the country’s culture of impunity which, he said, was significantly a result of the Maguindanao massacre in 2009 in which 32 journalists were killed.

“The Aquino administration has reformed the political structure that spawned the Maguindanao massacre upon which was based the impunity rating now assigned to the Philippines,” Coloma said in a statement.

“However, the trial of about 100 suspects is still ongoing, thus the impunity rating of the country has not changed,” he added.

Coloma said “the government continues to pursue suspects in other media-related crimes.”

Based on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) 2015 Global Impunity Index, the Philippines is now fourth in the world in terms of impunity in the killing of journalists. The New York-based group’s Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.

“For this index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between September 1, 2005, and August 31, 2015, and that remain unsolved. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included in this index,” the group said in its website.

“At least 44 murders have taken place since September 2005 with complete impunity; seven have occurred under the current administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd,” CPJ said.

“Justice for the 32 media victims and 26 others slaughtered in the 2009 massacre in Maguindanao appears more elusive than ever. No one has yet been convicted of the crime and, after six years of protracted legal proceedings, the suspected mastermind has now died of natural causes,” it added.

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