Monday, 07 March 2011 14:36
We support the families of slain colleagues in their filing of cases at the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), an international body, to seek redress on the seeming negligence of the government and its legal instruments to commit to justice the perpetrators of the extra judicial killings.
We commend the effort of CenterLaw Philippines for this initiative which comes at a time we feel there is no end to the killing of journalists in our land, and the search for justice have evaded the victims.
For far too long, we have cried enough of impunity. But we never stop hearing about colleagues being slain for the work of truth-seeking that they do.
Finding redress in an international arena, in a way, provides relief and hope for the families in their struggle to attain justice.
As an organization in the front line of attending to colleagues in distress, we at the NUJP have been frustrated with the way government has handled the cases of journalist killings.
Indeed, there is a low conviction rate of perpetrators of journalist killings, due to the influence of those in power on the justice system and on state agents, the ineptitude of authorities to handle the case. Witnesses then could not come out, out of fear for their lives borne by lack of trust in the system. There are times when they are being dictated upon police investigators themselves.
The government promptly creates Task Forces after each time a colleague is killed. But these Task Forces prove to be mere token acts. At worst, they are being used to cover-up the real killers.
We lament that our quest to stop the impunity, to protect our fellow media workers, is still a long way to go. But with every step we are taking, with the support of various groups, advocates of human rights, and this initiative to file cases to the UNCHR, we feel we are taking a fresh step anew.
We would like to see the international courts call the attention and pressure our own government to do its obligations to protect its people and protect freedom of the press.
Until the state acts to punish the perpetrators of journalist killings, no media worker in the land will be free to perform their duties to the people without fear.
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