Free expression groups and press organizations from around the world will hold the first International Day to End Impunity (IDEI), a global call to demand justice for those that have been persecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression, on November 23, 2011.
The Toronto-based International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), IDEI’s lead organizer, chose 23 November 2011 to mark the event, because it is the second anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, during which 32 journalists were killed in the single deadliest day for journalists in history. The Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is a member of IFEX, a network of 95 free expression and free press organizations worldwide.
“Journalists, media workers, writers and others who speak truth to power continue to be murdered with impunity in countries from Mexico to Russia, Iraq to Somalia,” IFEX said about the event. Regarded as among the deadliest places for journalists worldwide, the Philippines is notorious for its dismal record in solving the killing of journalists. In the Philippines, the site of the Ampatuan Massacre, there have been 121 journalists killed in the line of duty since democracy was restored in 1986, according to the CMFR database. Of these cases, only 10 (or approximately 8 percent) have been solved.
CMFR and the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, Inc. (FFFJ), which the Philippine Press Institute is a member of, are involved jointly and in cooperation with other groups, in several activities to commemorate IDEI.
CMFR is a member of SEAPA, a group composed of press and free expression groups in the Southeast Asia region. CMFR also serves as the administrative and technical secretariat of the FFFJ, a network of Philippine media groups, organized in 2003 to help journalists under threat and to assist the families of those killed in the line of duty. The other members of the FFFJ are the Center for Community Journalism and Development, CMFR, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines), and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
CMFR will report the discussion to participants as well as to the international community working on impunity around the world. The roundtable discussion represents a substantive effort to move CMFR advocacy toward constructive strategies that the media and other concerned sectors can support.
FFFJ, together with CMFR and PCIJ, and in cooperation with various media organizations including the PPI, schools and student organizations, will also conduct a school tour in Metro Manila to engage and inform media students in the battle against impunity. PCIJ’s documentary on the killing of journalists and media practitioners in the Philippines will be screened for free.
The “Roadshow to End Impunity” will have its first screening on Nov. 15 at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Auditorium. Other screenings will be on Nov. 17 at the Lyceum of the Philippines University JPL Hall of Freedom; Nov. 21 at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines College of Communication Auditorium; and on Nov. 23 at the University of Santo Tomas Tan Yan Kee Student Center Audio Visual Room.
The culmination of these activities will be the November 23 March led by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the November 23 Movement and FFFJ. Participants to the march will converge at the University of Santo Tomas mid-afternoon of November 23. Further details will be released in the coming days.
PPI members from nearby areas in Luzon are encouraged to the join the PPI contingent along with other media groups in the END IMPUNITY MARCH on November 23, 2011.