MEDIA ADVISORY: Journalists to mark 1000th day of Ampatuan Massacre

What: Vigil for the 1000th day since the Ampatuan Massacre

Where: Bantayog ng mga Bayani, EDSA cor. Quezon Ave., Quezon City

When: Aug. 19 (Sun.) 4:00 p.m. to Aug. 20 (Mon.) 9:00 a.m.

Who: Journalists, press freedom advocates, families of victims, artists

Media groups including the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Philippine Press Institute, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and networks ABS-CBN and GMA7 will mark the 1000th day since the Ampatuan Massacre on Sunday, Aug. 19, with a vigil at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.

The activity aims to remember the fallen victims of the massacre, 32 of whom are members of media. The continued killings of journalists and refusal of Congress to pass the Freedom of Information Law have underscored the dire state of press freedom in the country.

The vigil will start at 4:00 pm and will end at 9:00 am of Aug. 20 (Monday).

NUJP will again collaborate with artists’ groups, cultural singers, poets, actors and other artists to share songs and poems that tackle injustice and the continuing impunity under Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s watch. Families of victims will be there to give out messages. Journalists and freedom advocates will also perform.

Also on Aug. 19, families of massacre victims will hold a press conference at the Forest Lake Memorial Park in General Santos at 4:00 p.m., after a mass and motorcade around the city. They will also exhibit art works made by victims of media killings.

Social media advocates will also join the commemoration by posting and sharing blogs and photos on the issue.

Known as the single most brutal attack against journalists since press freedom was restored in 1986, 58 people, most of whom joined the ill-fated convoy that will file the certificate of candidacy of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, were waylaid and killed by police and militiamen led by rival Andal Ampatuan Jr.

The Ampatuan Massacre alarmed not only the Philippines but also international human rights and press freedom groups. But despite the attention it has received, families of victims of the have yet to find justice.

Of the 196 officials, police and militiamen accused in the case, 96 were arrested, 76 were arraigned, and 100 of them, including some of the Ampatuans primarily accused, have remained at large.

Rowena C. Paraan
Secretary general