6 May 2013

Philippines vows action on journalist killings

7:46 am on 6 May 2013

The Philippines government says it wants to change a culture of impunity that exists for the killings of journalists in the country.

The country has again been ranked third most dangerous place for journalists, in the US-based Committee To Protect Journalists' Impunity Index. It is the fourth consecutive year the country has received this ranking, the ABC reports.

Police say eight journalists have been murdered under President Benigno Aquino's administration and of the six deaths were unrelated to the victims' profession.

But the Philippines National Union of Journalists says the country's high ranking in the impunity index is a reflection of its failure to address media killings and prosecute suspects.

The union says 15 journalists have been murdered under the Aquino government.

It says only 10 suspects have been convicted, adding that none of those convicted were masterminds of the killings.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the government has increased efforts to combat violence against journalists which includes forming a task force to investigate human rights abuses and media killings.

The index results come as the United Nations on Friday urged global action to ensure the safety of journalists in every country.

Observing World Press Freedom Day, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the cycle of impunity for crimes committed against journalists must be broken.

He says press freedom requires the creation of a safe environment for journalists working in both traditional and digital media.