New York, November 24,
2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists is working with local and
international media support groups to extend assistance to the families of the
numerous journalists killed Monday in a brutal election-related massacre in the
Most news reports today put the death toll at 46, with at least 12 of the victims preliminarily identified as journalists. Among the press corps victims, most appeared to be reporters for local media or stringers for national outlets.
CPJ is heartened by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s strong response, which included pledges for full investigation and prosecution of the apparently politically motivated killings. But CPJ also said that the state of emergency declared in the province must not interfere with journalists seeking access and information to report on the killings.
“The president might not be able to reverse the culture of
violence that surrounds so much of political life in the
of the massacre, including the precise death toll and the identities of the dead,
were still emerging today as teams continued to search the countryside in
Maguindanao province, on the
massacre is among the deadliest
events for the press in recent history, according to CPJ research. In
In Maguindanao, the journalists were covering relatives and supporters of a local politician who was about to file paperwork for his gubernatorial candidacy in the May 2010 election. More than 100 armed men attacked the convoy, which included relatives and allies of a local vice mayor, Ismael Mangudadatu. The vice mayor’s wife, Genalyn Mangudadatu, was among those in the convoy.
Some officials blamed the slaughter on a bitter rivalry between local political clans, according to news reports. Ismael Mangudadatu, who was not with the convoy, attributed the attack to his decision to seek the governorship of Maguindanao. The current Maguindanao governor, Andal Ampatuan, did not immediately issue a statement.