Statement issued by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) – Philippines prior to the December 19 promulgation of judgement on the 2009 Ampatuan Massacre.
The Philippine chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) joins the Filipino people in calling out justice for the victims of the Ampatuan massacre. It has been over a decade and still, there is no justice meted against the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Yet, we are hopeful that on December 19, 2019, the murderers will finally be convicted.
Filipino journalists have been suffering the brunt of impunity simply by telling the stories that matter. Moreover, by not toeing the line of the powers-that-be, media practitioners are being targeted with intimidation, harassment and even summary executions to muzzle the press.
Of late, red-tagging, cyber-attacks on media outfits and surveillance of the critical press have been the order of the day. Even the incumbent administration has openly threatened its critics, including members of the press.
On record, since 1986, there has been 186 media practitioners killed in the line of duty, and not a single case has been resolved and the perpetrators are still roaming free. The 58 victims of the murderous Ampatuan clan that included 32 media practitioners from different community newspapers, radio and television networks have remained as the single deadliest attack against the mass media.
IAWRT-Philippines joins the rest of humanity in demanding justice for the 58 victims of the Ampatuan massacre and all the other victims of impunity especially among the poor indigenous peoples, the peasants, the workers and the many Human Rights Defenders in the country.
The suppression of freedom of expression cannot continue as it violates the peoples’ fundamental right to be informed.
Justice for the 58 Victims of the Ampatuan Massacre!