Dangerous place for journalists

The news coming out of the Phillipines of yet another journalist being killed on the 24th of January is appalling and tragic. Anti mining crusader Dr. Gerardo Ortega is the  142nd journalist killed killed in the Philippines since 1986 and the 5th mediaman killed under the rule of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines immediately condemned the attack.

“We vehemently condemn, in strongest terms possible, the killing of a colleague in Palawan, Dr. Gerardo Ortega, a commentator of RMN Palawan and staunch critic of the current governor and of mining operations in the island province. May justice be served without fear or favor. We call on government to resolve all media killings and put an end to the culture of impunity in the country,” the NUJP said in its statement.

Puerto Princesa mayor Edward Hagedorn also condemned the killing of Ortega and said he will meet with mediamen tomorrow.

Atty Harry Roque of the Center for International Law said Ortega’s murder highlights “the continuing failure of government to stem the tide of impunity in the country, one which has targeted journalists in unprecedented numbers.”

In Australia, we can still have our say and walk the streets. I remember Jeff McMullan of 60 Minutes once did a story on the Indigenous people, the Dumagats. They gather rattan and trade it with the lowlander (their description of the large property holders)or they work for the lowlander. In turn, the lowlander gives them rice, tobacco, money, or other items. In many cases, Dumagats are abused, oppressed and are always on the losing end.

Most of them are unable to determine the fair equivalent of goods being exchanged or services rendered. They depend on their relationship for their daily ration of food.   Makes you think how Jeff managed to get out of there alive. I guess the message is don’t go to the Phillipines if you are a journalist. In fact better still just don’t go.

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