The Philippines named the most dangerous place in the world for journalists
The Philippines is the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, says the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
The IFJ criticized the Arroyo administration for its slow response following the massacre in Maguindanao on November 23, where civilian women were killed along with lawyers and journalists, and then buried in shallow graves. The death toll has climbed to 52, according to the Associated Press.
IFJ General Secretary Aidan White released a statement saying:
"The Arroyo administration must make a clear and unequivocal commitment to an immediate, independent, and effective inquiry into this atrocity. With elections due in six months' time the authorities must act now to guarantee the safety of journalists throughout the country."
According to ABS-CBN News, an alleged political feud is said to be the cause of the killing by unknown perpetrators who robbed, shot, mutilated, beheaded, and ran over the victims using their vehicles. The journalists were part of a convoy headed by Genalyn Mangudadatu, wife of Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan. She was on her way to Shariff Aguak to file her husband's candidacy for governor of Maguindanao.
"This is an event which shocks journalists around the world to the core," White continued, "We need a strong and urgent response from the Philippine government and the international community."
The IFJ, together with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), have launched efforts to conduct their own investigation on the killings and give their assessment of the region. The IFJ also offered humanitarian support by opening its International Safety Fund for the victims' families.