Being a journalist can be a difficult and often stressful job. In the Philippines, it’s also deadly dangerous.
Seventy-five media professionals have been murdered there since 1992. To combat this, many Filipino journalists have resorted to carrying firearms for self-defense.
In the video below, you’ll meet some of those men who risk their lives covering stories in the Philippines, which, as one of them says, has a very violent political culture.
While practicing shooting at a range, one of the journalists says that they’ve been forced to fight back and take sides:
The video also visits Maguindanao in the southern part of the archipelago where 32 journalists were massacred by a band of militia from the powerful Ampatuan clan in 2009. In total, the gunmen killed 58 people in the massacre.
It was the bloodiest day for journalism during peacetime.
Six years on there has been little justice for those murdered. Human Rights Watch in their 2015 report said: “Although the Aquino administration vowed in 2012 to expedite investigations into killings of journalists by creating a ‘superbody,’ little progress appears to have been made. The superbody had only processed four cases at time of writing, resulting in the conviction of five people. However, the alleged masterminds who planned and financed these killings remained at large.”
The HRW report also states that Aquino has failed to make good on pledges to improve human rights in the Philippines, especially his “expressed intent to end killings of activists and journalists, and bring those responsible to justice.”
According to data collected by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Philippines is the third most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist.
Since 1992, CPJ says that worldwide there have been 1,141 journalists killed while performing their duties. CPJ also broke down the beats covered by those killed journalists: 4% business, 20% corruption, 15% crime, 11% culture, 20% human rights, 46% politics, 2% sport, and 38% war.
1992-2015: The top 20 deadliest countries
Sri Lanka: 19
Sierra Leone: 16
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: 16