ANOTHER media watchdog echoed the finding of other global press groups and said the Philippines ranked third among the most dangerous places for journalists, next only to Syria and Iraq.
In its annual report “Killing The Messenger,” the International News Safety Institute said 14 journalists were killed in the Philippines, next to Syria with 20 journalists killed and Iraq with 16.
Of the 14 journalists who were killed in the Philippines, four were officially listed as having died while they were working at a radio station in Tacloban City when super typhoon “Yolanda” hit the area on November 8.
The journalists killed by Yolanda were Ronald Vi?as and and Allan Medino of radio station dyVL and Archi Globio and Malou Realino of radio station dyBR. The four were killed while they were working as Yolanda hit the country.
But according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, 10 other media workers, who were on duty when the typhoon struck remained missing as of Wednesday but no death certificates have been issued for them.
The 10 are Violy Custodio, Boy Mendigo, Jenevive Catubao, Joyce Catubao of dyVL; Baby Jaca, June Estoya, Lulu Palencia of dyBR, Gerry Lumantas of dyXY, Christina Gabrillo of dyAC and Ariel Aguillon of Bombo Radyo.
The CMFR also reported 44 other media workers who were injured during typhoon or whose homes were destroyed.
In the INSI’s “Killing The Messenger” report, the group noted that 69 of the 134 deaths of journalists and media staff occurred in peace time while the rest occurred during armed conflicts in different parts of the world.
The INSI said their report, carried out by the Cardiff School for Journalism in the United Kingdom, was an analysis of the situations of the 134 deceased journalists and staff in 29 countries.
Aside from the finding that more journalists were killed in peacetime than during armed conflict, the study also showed that 92 percent of those killed were local journalists and more print journalists were slain than any other medium.
The toll is down by almost 12 per cent compared to the 152 who died in 2012, although INSI is worried by what appears to be a rise in the numbers of assaults, threats and kidnappings of journalists - which go unreported for the most part.
Last week, the international media group Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) said the Philippine media remain in a “difficult situation” and the environment of freedom has even worsened.
According to the RSF’s “2014 World Press Freedom Index,” the Philippines went down two notches to the 149th spot among the 180 countries included in the index, even worse than newcomer Belize which was on 29th spot.
In 2010, the year following the Maguindanao massacre that left 58 people dead, including 32 journalists, the country was at the 156th place.
When President Benigno Aquino III took office, the country managed only to climb to 140th spot in 2011 before sliding down again to the 147th place last year.
Even the troubled countries of Mali (now ranked 122nd) and the Central African Republic (now 109th) , which dropped more than 120 spots, were better off than the Philippines, the index showed.
Throughout 2013, RSF had repeatedly raised concerns about the killings and attempted killings of journalists and objected to the Aquino administration’s anti-cybercrime law because its online defamation provision “poses too much of a threat to freedom of information.”
A study conducted by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism showed that 23 journalists have been killed during the first 40 months of Aquino’s term.
If the Ampatuan 32 were to be excluded in the equation, the PCIJ said Aquino has the worst case load of media killings since 1986.
Based on the impunity index rating of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Philippines is the third most dangerous place for journalists, next to Iraq and Somalia.