Press Release
June 20, 2009

Gordon wants Senate investigation on violence against journalists

With five journalists slain in the first half of 2009 alone, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) called on his colleagues in the Senate to conduct an inquiry into the killings of members of the media, and other acts of violence perpetrated against them.

Gordon has filed Senate Resolution 1133, which directs the Senate committee on justice and human rights to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, into the continuing incidents of killings and arbitrary acts of violence against journalists.

"I have consistently appealed to this august chamber to expeditiously take measures to defend the fundamental human rights of our people and fortify the rule of law by preventing the escalation of impunity and lawlessness in our country," he said.

"Journalists must be able to investigate and present fair reports of the myriad of issues and other newsworthy matters without fear of reprisal and unlawful acts of violence against them," he added.

Five journalists have already been slain this year: Badrodin Abbas and Ernie Rullen, radio commentators of dxCM Radio Ukay and dsXy, respectively; Jojo Trajano, reporter of Remate; Atty. Crispin Reyes, host of radio program Sa Totoo Lang of dwDO Heart FM; and most recently, Antonio Castillo, a correspondent of the tabloid Bigwas.

The senator noted that in the 2009 Impunity Index of the Committee to Protect Journalists launched last March, the Philippines ranked sixth worldwide among countries that failed to prosecute cases of slain journalists.

"Our country has been accused as being perpetrators of extrajudicial killings mainly because we had not been able to conduct any cogent investigation, or for that matter, been able to arrest any of the suspects in these dastardly deeds," Gordon said.

"If we do not act, we are encouraging in effect, these people who have no morals, who have no qualms of killing people in front of their families, to continue these acts," he added.

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