Contemplating on a Journalistic Dream

*A Repost from

RP most dangerous place for journalists to work—watchdog

First Posted 13:41:00 11/25/2009

MANILA, Philippines – With the deaths of at least 12 journalists in Monday’s massacre in Maguindanao, the Philippines has earned the dubious distinction as the world’s most dangerous place for journalists to work, according to an international media watchdog.

In a statement on its website, the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the country has effectively supplanted Iraq, where an armed conflict is raging, as the most dangerous place for journalists.

The IFJ also scored the Arroyo government for allowing and failing to stop a “culture of impunity” directed towards journalists in recent years.

“Under the current government the Philippines has become the most dangerous place in the world for media workers. At least 74 journalists have been killed during its eight-year tenure, yet the [Arroyo] government has not acted to end the culture of impunity. At last count, only four convictions had been secured,” the group said.

Before the massacre, the New York-based monitor Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked the Philippines as the fourth deadliest country for journalists in terms of reporters’ deaths for 2009. In recent years, the Philippines got as far as the second most dangerous place behind Iraq.

However, Monday’s killings saw the Philippines leapfrog Somalia, Iraq, and Pakistan into the top spot.

IFJ General Secretary Aidan White also said the Arroyo administration “must make a clear and unequivocal commitment to an immediate, independent and effective inquiry into this atrocity,” said.

“With elections due in six months time the authorities must act now to guarantee the safety of journalists throughout the country,” White said.

He also said the IFJ was “determined to keep an international focus on this crisis. It is a traumatic and horrifying incident that means all journalists must now take even greater care.”

The IFJ is considering next steps and is supporting plans by the International News Safety Institute to organize urgent safety training for local journalists, the group said.

“We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and colleagues of all those killed in Maguindanao,” said White.

The IFJ also pledged its full support to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in an urgent campaign on news safety.

The NUJP is sending an immediate mission to Maguindano to investigate the circumstances around the killings, to provide immediate support to the families of the victims, and to assess the security failings and safety needs for the region. “The IFJ has made available its International Safety Fund to provide humanitarian support.”


As an individual who dreams to be part of the mainstream journalism and broadcasting industries, I was deeply terrified by this incident.

On these three words revolve my thoughts about this heinous incident. What kind of a human being, who has been brought up by this strictly guided and educated society can do such act to 59 innocent and helpless individuals? What kind of person with a soul can absorb such atrocity from such a gruesome bloodshed? Come to think of it, these people are not even rebels or highly trained soldiers. There are mere men listening to a more fiendish and soulless individual.

I can still remember Sir Howie Severino saying that "no story is worth dying for." What good will such a story bring if the journalist will be killed right before he takes out the essence from this story. This phrase keeps on echoing inside my head right now. Among these 59 innocent people are 18 journalists. What do we really get after knowing that the Philippines is now the most dangerous spot for journalists? Shame. Humiliation. Degradation. A Real Bad Impression. But above all these, we get a really serious situation which will get journalists, like myself, to contemplate as to whether or not our job is worth the risk. These journalists provide the country of the realities it needs to know. These people put one leg on the grave everyday as they enter the field to find God knows what and meet God knows who just to make the perfect news article worthy of airing in every Filipino television and worthy of printing on every Filipino paper. Whether or not this incident of killing was intended for the journalists or not, the previous cases of killings of journalists cannot be easily shrugged off from every media man's awareness. Is this country's security issue as serious as that of Iraq and Afghanistan's already? As far as I know, and as far as what I can understand, this incident has seriously taken the Philippines into a more problematic issue of security.

Because of this, contemplation has got me to my very core. Am I ready for this kind of risk? Am I willing to face the dangers now being associated to the profession I have always dreamed of. In the coming days, God knows what worse scenarios may still come up (knocks on wood). In the coming days, God knows how worse the minds of these people may still get (knocks harder on wood). Indeed, no story is worth dying for. And those who bring stories to people are not worthy of such kind of an end. At one point of my life, I have already pictured myself as a broadcaster, cramming on the field, interviewing people, and going places just to provide the people the best news stories they ought to know. But now, as I look at these morbid photographs and at all those graphic videos in the news, fear and fury enrage my heart. Fear for my own future as a hopeful journalist, and Fury against those soulless people who did this against their own kababayans.

Thus, together with the rest of the country, the families of the victims and the entire circle of journalists and broadcasters,

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