by Ira Pedrasa, abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines remained 3rd in the list of most dangerous countries for journalists, with the still unresolved Maguindanao massacre dampening efforts to move out of the impunity index.
In its 2011 Impunity Index report, the United States-based Committee to Protect Journalists said “the government’s case against dozens of defendants in the 2009 massacre in Maguindanao province, in which 32 journalists and media workers were killed, reflects an overall pattern in which Philippine authorities often identify suspects but rarely win convictions.”
Its rank was unmoved from the 2010 report. The CPJ recorded 69 journalists murdered since 1992.
CPJ, founded by US foreign correspondents, noted it met with Justice officials in 2010 with the latter promising to reverse the country’s record. Nonetheless, the officials noted the task was a difficult one.
“Initial trial proceedings in the Maguindanao killings have been plagued by threats and bribes targeting witnesses, and incompetence and corruption among local investigators. The slow-moving prosecution has yielded no convictions thus far,” the CPJ said.
Sixty-one percent of the journalists murdered covered the politics beat, while 42% covered corruption.
The CPJ noted: “In countries with weak law enforcement, political reporting is the most dangerous beat. Among the unsolved cases on this index, nearly 30 percent of victims had covered politics.”