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AQUINO VOWS TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS AS KILLINGS CONTINUE

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MANILA, Philippines - A number of media practitioners who had been killed or had reported attempts on their life under the past administration of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and this trend continued under the present Aquino government.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda assured of the government's commitment to ensure the safety of the members of the press while exercising their profession.
  • Early this week, the presidential palace condemned the killing of a broadcast journalist Rommel Palma in Koronadal City, Southern Philippines.
  • Palma, 31, a reporter for radio station dxMC Bombo Radyo-Koronadal, died from four gunshot wounds at the back and the neck after he was attacked by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
Palma had joined the rising number of media practitioners who had fallen victim to extrajudicial killings under the Aquino government.
According to the international group, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) the current administration has yet to effectively address the killing of journalists and threats to their safety.
  • It added that most attacks on journalists had been blamed on paramilitary groups and privately-owned militias, "which were included in the 2011 list of Predators of Press Freedom."
  • "Corruption facilitates the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for violence against journalists. Politicians maintain links with criminal networks. The judicial system is not sufficiently independent.
  • "Difficulty accessing information, self-censorship and journalists' low pay also pose serious problems for the independence of newspapers, which are often influenced or controlled by powerful business and political interests," RSF said.
The United Nations had designated every May 3 of each year as the World Press Freedom Day to revitalize the fundamental principles of press freedom, to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks as well as to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives doing their jobs.
Source: Agency
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