Thursday, July 27, 2006

20 Media Murder Cases Filed In Court, Cops Say

MANILA (Zamboanga Journal / 27 Jul) Police on Wednesday reported that 20 cases of murder involving media practitioners have been filed in court and that the police have vowed to exert all efforts to solve other related cases, the official Philippine News Agency said.

Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon said that 20 out of the 26 media-related cases have already been forwarded to the courts of law while the rest are still under investigation based on the report of Task Force Usig, it said.

Calderon said that only 26 out of the 81 reported media killings have been identified as work or media-related cases.

A number of reported media killings were not related to the victims' work as journalists, others were killed for their other activities, he said.

“There are instances where the victim was killed for getting involved in illegal drugs or illegal gambling or in land disputes or extortion. There are different reasons behind the killings of some mediamen,” Calderon said.

The National Press Club has agreed to send two representatives to work hand-in-hand with Task Force Usig to review and reclassify the other cases of murdered journalists.

"We would like to welcome any support that you (journalists) could give us in terms of providing assistance in gathering witnesses and we recognized your gestures in helping us to solve the media-related cases," Calderon said.

Just early this month, gunmen killed a broadcaster Armando Pace in a daring broad daylight attack in Digos City in Davao del Sur province. Pace, who worked with Radyo Ukay, was shot repeatedly as he was heading for home on a motorcycle.

No group or individual claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last month, gunmen also shot and killed George Vigo, a correspondent for the Union of Catholic Asian News, and his wife, Macel Alave-Vigo, also a broadcaster, in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province.

Vigo was also the executive director of the non-government organization Peoples’ Kauyahan Foundation, Inc. which initiates community peace forums and dialogues in North Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said at least 45 journalists have been murdered in the country since 2001.

The Philippines now ranks second to Iraq on the list of deadliest countries for journalists in 2005, according to international media group Reporters without Borders.

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