Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Philippines: June ‘08

IWPR and local partner take part in television debate on press reporting of human rights in the country.
The project initiated and organised a one- hour live national TV discussion on media coverage of human rights in the Philippines. It was first broadcast on ABS-CBN on June 19 and repeated two days later.

Project Director Alan Davis and one of four project partners, Rowena Paraan, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, were among the guests. We also brought together the mother of a missing university student, the deputy head of a human rights organisation and the chief of the Philippine National Police Human Rights section to discuss extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances on the programme.

The continuing dispute between the authorities and civil society over the numbers of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, which was among the issues discussed, was also the focus of a project blog by Davis which was republished in several local dailies including the Mindanao Examiner and Business World, the leading financial daily.

An earlier project blog written by Davis discussing safety and security issues for journalists following the kidnapping of a TV news anchor and her crew in Sulu by Abu Sayyaf group was also republished very widely on national TV news sites (including GMATV and ABS-CBN) and various discussion boards.

The island of Sulu is effectively a no-go zone for national as well as international media because of ongoing conflict and the prevalence of kidnapping-for-ransom gangs. Our project, however, is reporting from there via local radio journalists based in the main town of Jolo.

Davis also took part in a two-day seminar in northern Luzon for state prosecutors and civil society on how to investigate instances of extra-judicial killings and torture. The sessions will form the basis for a project module for journalists to follow up claims of political killings and enforced disappearances.

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