NUJP slams impunity in crimes vs journalists

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PARTICIPANTS to the “Basic Media Safety Training” with NUJP national directors Nestor Burgos Jr. and Nonoy Espina held at Sta. Fe Resort in Bacolod City Nov 4-5, 2017. (Photo courtesy of NUJP-Bacolod)

THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) lamented the culture of impunity in crimes committed against journalists in the country.

Citing the 2017 Global Impunity Index data of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), NUJP director Nestor Burgos said the Philippines remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world.

While journalists face risks in covering conflict areas, “journalists are also targets”, Burgos said.

He said that since democratic institutions in the country were restored in 1986 after the EDSA Revolution, a total of 178 journalists were killed in the Philippines. Of these numbers, 99 were killed in Mindanao (including the 32 killed in Ampatuan, Maguindanao), 66 in Luzon, and 13 in Visayas.

The latest addition to statistics is the killing of broadcaster Christopher Lozada of Bislig City, Surigao del Sur last week of October 2017.

He said radio remains the “most dangerous” medium, followed by print, print-radio, and TV.

Burgos stressed that killing of journalists continues due to the prevalent culture of impunity in the country.

“As long as no one is held accountable, it encourages attacks to journalists,” he stressed.

Among administrations, Burgos cited that former president Gloria Arroyo’s was the “deadliest” year for journalists with 103 journalists killed.

Under the Duterte administration, five journalists were killed since July 2016 despite the Presidential Task Force on Media Security created through the President’s Administrative Order No.1.

With the advent of social media, Burgos underscored that journalists are subjected to a new form of attack in the realm of cyberspace.

 

SAFETY

To minimize the risks when working in hostile environments, and when faced with threats for exposing illegal activities and corruption, the NUJP, in cooperation with spearheaded the “Basic Media Safety Training” held at Sta. Fe Resort in Bacolod City, Nov. 4-5, 2017.

The training was held in partnership with NUJP Bacolod headed by Marchel Espina, International Federation of Journalists, and International Media Support.

Participants were from the print, radio and TV organizations such in Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Working under the theme “Promoting the UN Plan of Action for Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity through Documenting and Promoting Best Practices”, Burgos and another NUJP director, Nonoy Espina of InterAksyon.com, discussed topics on “Journalism as Dangerous Profession”, “Know Your Rights and Ethics”, “Threats, Attacks, Surveillance, and Fighting Back”, and “Trauma”.

From these discussions, the participants learned tips on how they can protect themselves from risks when covering armed conflict, terrorist attacks, medical emergencies, and disasters such as typhoon, earthquake, fire, among others.

From the training, the participants familiarized themselves with different types of weapons as described by Senior Police Officer 1 Jared Esquilla of Bacolod Police Station 4, and got an “actual feel” of threats in the roadblock simulation.

The group also learned Basic Life Support and First Aid from Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian, head of Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Division, and his team.



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