Philippines 'remains dangerous for journalists'

Country drops out of US-based media watchdog group's top-20 death tally list
Philippines 'remains dangerous for journalists'

Media workers in the Philippines call for an end to the killings of journalists during a protest rally in Manila. (Photo by Maki Macaspac)

The Philippines remains a dangerous place for journalists with nine Filipino journalists killed in 2015, a local media watchdog says.

"The number of journalists killed, whatever the motive, is indicative of both the state of law and order in the Philippines and of continuing impunity," the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said in a statement.

"That number should by itself be disturbing," read the statement released on Jan. 6 in response to a Dec. 29 report by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) which said no journalists in the Philippines were killed for a work-related reason last year.

However, the center said that out of the nine journalists killed in the Philippines last year "at least three were killed in the line of duty."

"[The CMFR] takes exception to the statement in the [CPJ]'s 2015 report on the killing of journalists worldwide," the center's statement said.

For the first time in eight years, the Philippines was not included on the CPJ's list of the 20 deadliest countries for journalists.

The committee said it recorded at least seven media killings in the Philippines in 2015 but said the "journalists were killed in unclear circumstances."

The organization began compiling detailed records on journalist deaths in 1992. 

The Philippines has been on its top 20 list of deadliest countries since 2007.

The country ranked first in 2009 following the killing of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in the Maguindanao massacre.

However, the Philippines remains fourth in the world in terms of impunity in the killing of journalists, according to the committee's Global Impunity Index.

The impunity index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country's population.

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