Maguindanao massacre, 7 years after
With the remembrance, last Nov. 23, of the 32 journalists killed in the gruesome Ampatuan massacre, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) reiterates its call for an end to the reign of impunity in the country and to all attacks by the fascist state against journalists.
Seven years after the massacre, justice remains elusive for the victims of the single deadliest attack ever against the media. On one hand, the Ampatuan clan patriarch and alleged mastermind, Andal Ampatuan Sr. has died of liver cancer, while Sajid Islam Ampatuan, one of the accused, has been granted freedom after posting an P11.6-million bail. The trial of the case, on the other hand, has been painstakingly slow.
For its part, the Duterte administration has formed a presidential task force to investigate media killings in the country. The task force is also mandated to ensure a safe environment for media workers. It is a commendable effort, but with the continuing culture of impunity and fascist aggression, the task force can only do so much.
The unresolved seven-year-old Maguindanao massacre underscores how state forces themselves carry attacks against media practitioners who expose government atrocities.
Through its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, government legitimizes its attacks on journalists reporting and investigating such issues as the landlessness of peasants and the militarization of indigenous peoples’ communities even as it tags media people as part of progressive groups or even members of the New People’s Army.
Delivering the truth and exposing realities are part of a journalist’s job description. And as long as the Filipino people are marginalized and oppressed by the ruling system, journalists will always report their plight, for which reason fascists will hound them with constant threats and harassment.
CEGP is one with the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre and other media-related killings in their fight for justice. Anchored on its mandate to advocate for press freedom and its goal to champion people’s democratic rights, CEGP will never cease in its call to hold the culprits accountable for the gruesome massacre, and the state responsible for its atrocities against the media and the Filipino people.
Justice for the victims of the Maguindanao massacre!
Stop killing journalists!
End impunity, stop state fascism!
JOSE MARI CALLUENG, national president, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, [email protected]
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