Statement of Condolence on the One-Month Anniversary of the Massacre of Filipino Journalists in Maguindanao Province
On the 23 November 2009, an unidentified armed force arrested and killed all 57 people in a political caravan heading towards the provincial town to file candidacy of Mangudadatu for the gubernatorial election in Maguindanao province. Among the victims include 31 journalists and photographers from local and national newspapers and televisions. It is the first largest massacre of journalist in the history of mankind.
In following to the incident, Thai Journalists Association (TJA) and Thai Broadcast Journalists Association (TBJA) as media professional groups advocating for press freedom and campaigning against all forms of threats to the media in Thailand in cooperation with Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) have sent their representatives to join a fact-finding mission comprising international media and professional groups to Philippines between 5th to 7th of December and would like to share concerns over the incident as follows:
- The investigation and arrests of killers and masterminds run into many difficulties. And the victims and their families may not receive justice because suspects in this killing involved with the influential local political group which has connection with national politicians.
- The killings terrorise the Filipino media community and have great impacts on their performing of duties in reporting and expressing opinions, particularly the local media in the areas where the killing took place.
- The killings have a profound impact on families of journalists who were killed, particularly on the living condition and future of their children who lost their bread winners.
In this regard, TJA and TBJA would like to express our sincere regret to the families of journalists who were killed in the incident and, at the same time, call upon the government of Philippines to conduct the investigation to bring culprits especially the masterminds to fullest justice without any interference from local political influence. In addition, the remedy measures given to the families of the victims shall receive prime attention and sustainable support.
TJA and TBJA would like to show our moral support to and stand side by side with fellow Filipino journalist in continuing their duty to bring out the true to the public.
Thai Journalists Association
Thai Broadcast Journalists Association
23 December 2009