Dart Centre Asia Pacific on Contempt Charge

May 26, 2011
The Dart Centre Asia Pacific supports calls for the immediate withdrawal of accusations of contempt by the Philippines Court of Appeals against our colleague Rowena Paraan and Maguindanao massacre widow Monette Salaysay.
The Dart Centre believes the contempt accusations appear to be an attempt to silence advocates, witnesses and families of the victims of the infamous massacre of November 23 2009, in which 58 people were murdered. It is also an attack on the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the Philippines media.
Rowena Paraan is the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and is a tireless champion for the safety and well-being of journalists in that country and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as for their right to do their jobs without fear or favour. Monette Salaysay’s husband Napoleon was among 32 journalists and media workers killed in the massacre.
The Dart Centre is concerned that the contempt petition comes at a time when there are continued reports of threats against the victims’ families in their quest for justice for their loved ones through this crucial court case.
It calls on the Philippines Court of Appeals to immediately drop its contempt petition and work to a speedy resolution of the trials of the massacre suspects.
The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma is dedicated to informed, effective and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy. It advocates ethical and thorough reporting of trauma; compassionate,  professional treatment of victims and survivors by journalists; and greater awareness by media organizations of the impact of trauma coverage on both news professionals and news consumers.

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NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org 

Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp

Justice nowhere in sight, a year and a half after the Ampatuan massacre

Today, it is exactly a year and a half since our nation was jolted by the worst incident of electoral violence in recent history and the single deadliest attack on the press ever.

You would think that in the face of such an outrage, justice would be swift in coming. But a year and a half since November 23, 2009, the wheels of justice, which have always ground slow, appear to have stalled to an almost dead stop and, worse, remain in danger of being reversed.

We have seen how otherwise brilliant minds can twist and bend the law to subvert the search for justice: the multiple motions that slow the judicial process; the perverted arguments – that the victims may have killed themselves or each others, that they died of natural causes, that the hideous injuries were insect bites – that have added insult to the already crushing anguish of the victims’ kith and kin.

We have seen how the dark forces responsible for the carnage have been allowed to remain intact – both in wealth and firepower – and continue to attempt to buy off victims’ relatives, and witnesses and their families, or, failing that, threaten or even harm them.

We have seen how the person who made the Ampatuan Massacre inevitable through her penchant for drawing bloodthirsty warlords to her side by allowing them to build personal empires and armies continues to evade an accounting for this and her many other sins against the nation and the people.

We have seen how, notwithstanding its promises, this administration has failed, indeed refused, to dismantle these private armies, most of them accorded official sanction as state militia, thus allowing extrajudicial murders and the possibility of another carnage like Ampatuan to continue.

Indeed, it is a testament to the extreme thirst for justice that the survivors of those who lost their lives have not wavered in the face of bribes and threats. To them go our deepest respects.

We are encouraged, as well, by findings of the Social Weather Station that, despite the seemingly waning attention of those sworn to see justice done, our people have not forgotten. The SWS survey of May 4 to 7 showed 51 percent of people are dissatisfied with how the government is handling the case, up from 46 percent in November last year, and an overwhelming 75 percent saying the case is proceeding “too slow.”

But while our determination to see this case through has not waned, we now face another threat, one that may well hamper our efforts to keep close watch on the proceedings and gag us from continuing to demand the justice that is due not just the victims but we, the nation and the people, as well.

For commenting on the efforts of one of the accused to wiggle his way out of the charges, Monette Salaysay, widow of one of the 32 murdered media workers, and NUJP Secretary General Rowena Paraan, who is one of those who has worked most closely with the victims’ families, are in danger of being cited in indirect contempt.

Should this happen, we fear that our search for justice might be dealt a fatal blow as a cloak of darkness and silence is thrown over the proceedings.

It is therefore fortuitous that, on this day, we bring our case to the hallowed halls of Congress, where the laws that are the bedrock of our national life are crafted.

We demand that our lawmakers join us and do everything within their means to ensure that the ends of justice are not perverted, that those responsible for this blot on our nation’s life – and that includes those within your ranks – be held to account and that such an outrage shall never happen again.


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NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
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Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
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“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
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— 

Roving Ampatuan Massacre photo exhibit to be staged at Congress

MEDIA ADVISORY
May 18, 2011

Roving Ampatuan Massacre photo exhibit to be staged at Congress

Photos from the site of the November 23 Ampatuan Massacre will be
exhibited at the House of Representatives (HOR), in another leg of the
roving exhibit organized by the National Union of Journalists of the
Philippines (NUJP).

Titled “Never Forget: The Ampatuan Massacre”, the exhibit at Congress
will start on May 23, exactly a year and a half after the killing took
place, and will run until May 26.

The photo exhibit will be staged at the Congress’ North Wing Lobby. It
will formally open at 10:30 a.m., with House Speaker Feliciano
Belmonte gracing the ribbon-cutting ceremony.NUJP partnered with the
office of House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada to bring the exhibit to
Congress.

Veteran photojournalist Jes Aznar curated the exhibit and edited the
photos, which were contributed by members of the Philippine Center for
Photojournalism (PCJ).

Together with PCJ, the November 23 Movement and the Economic
Journalists Association of the Philippines, the exhibit was initially
brought to schools such as University of the Philippines and
University of Santo Tomas.

To follow shortly is a commemorative program, where media
practitioners and relatives of the massacre victims will give messages
of thanks and solidarity.

An update on the status of the legal case and the campaign for justice
for the massacre victims will be provided in the program, as well.
Also to be provided are updates on the contempt charges the Court of
Appeals (CA) is planning to file against Monette Salaysay, widow of
massacre victim and Clear View Gazette Publisher Napoleon Salaysay,
and Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary general.

Considered the single worst killing of journalists in the line of duty
in recent years, the Ampatuan Massacre left 57 dead, 32 of which are
media practitioners.

For Reference: Sonny Fernandez (0917.918.1044), Rupert Mangilit
(0927.920.3652, nujphil@gmail.com)


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NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
*********************************************************************************************************************************
Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
*********************************************************************************************************************************
“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
*********************************************************************************************************************************

We mourn a great loss in the Philippine media family

NUJP Statement

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines grieves the loss of esteemed colleague, good friend, and respected mentor Lourdes E. Simbulan, or Chit Estella, as we all knew her both professionally and personally. Chit died when the taxi she was riding in was rammed by a speeding bus near the Ayala Technohub in Philcoa, Quezon City around 6 p.m. on May 13, 2011.

She was one of the founders of VERA Files, the respected and fiercely independent investigative journalism outfit, and also worked as editor-in-chief of Pinoy Times and managing editor of The Manila Times.

Notwithstanding the name she had made and the respect she had earned in the profession, Chit was never one to stint at sharing her knowledge and wisdom with others, especially journalists of the emerging generation.

This is why she also chose to become a journalism professor at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. Her passing will leave a void in Philippine journalism that will be hard, if ever, to fill.

To everyone who knew, loved, and respected Chit our heartfelt condolences.