NUJ Press meeting over Maguindanao killings

Posted By on November 22, 2011

On 23 November 2009 the world was shocked as information started to come into newsrooms of the cold blooded killings of 58 people in the province of Maguindanao in the Southern Philippines.

The victims had all been travelling in a convoy by road to register a candidate to oppose a local political clan leader in elections for the provincial governor. Among the group were 32 journalists. One vehicle in the convoy belonged to a radio broadcaster DZRH and another to a TV station UNTV. Along the highway the convoy was stopped by more than 100 armed men. Many of the victims were mutilated and women raped before they were murdered. A mass grave to bury the victims was prepared two days before the ambush. It was dug big enough to bury both the victims and the vehicles. The Committee to Protect Journalists called the massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history.

The Maguindanao massacre was, however, only the worst incident in a continuing environment which journalists, lawyers, trade unionists, community organisers and others have to live continuously with the threat of murder, abduction and torture. Amnesty International, the UN Commission for Human Rights and other international bodies have highlighted the climate of impunity which exists in the Philippines.

Little seems to have changed with the election of Benigno Aquino III as president in May 2010. On 14 October 2011 Roy Gallego a broadcaster, who has criticised mining companies in his local area and defended tribal rights, was murdered in an ambush on a highway in Lianga, a town in the Southern Philippines. Seven days before this broadcaster Johnson Pascual was shot dead in Isabela Province in the Northern Philippines. This makes 7 journalists murdered since the new government took office and the 148 since the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ UK) and the International Federation of Journalists is supporting a number of events to mark the second anniversary of the Magindanao massacre and highlighting the killings of journalists and others in the Philippines.

Public meeting Wednesday 23 November at 6.00pm

All welcome

The Maguindanao Massacre: Never Forget
Speakers include: IFJ President Jim Boumelha and Carlos Zarate NUJP
Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard

Saturday 3 December at 4.00pm film showing

Film showing – all welcome.

Deadline: the reign of impunity

Film by award-winning director Joel Lamangan – a thriller in which a journalist is threatened with murder when challenging the corruption of local politicians. Leading actor Alan Dizon will speak on the film.

St Mary Abbots Hall
Vicarage Gate Kensington
W8 4HW

Entrance £10 including meal.

All welcome – Sunday 11 December at 5.00pm film showing
Deadline: the reign of impunity

Covent Garden Dragon Hall
17 Stukely Street

Entrance £7.00

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