This is in reaction to DOJ Sec. Raul Gonzalez’ statement with regards to the government being “amenable to arming members of the media as a solution to the continuing killing of journalists .
While I applaud the Commission on Human Rights’ statement holding the government accountable for the continuous spate of killings under the Arroyo administration, I strongly question this recommendation. This is obviously a knee-jerk reaction to the CHR’s statement, not to mention the heightening international condemnation to the Philippines turning into a ‘political killing field.’
Like Malacanang’s previous statement ordering the PNP and the AFP to look into the numerous cases of extrajudicial killings, this appears as another smokescreen attempt to downplay the government’s accountability to the continuing killing of journalists.
KARAPATAN, a human rights watch group, has documented 565 deaths under the Arroyo administration, 221 of which have political affiliations.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), meanwhile, has documented a total of 42 slain journalists since President Arroyo assumed office.
Arming journalists will not stop the murders. If anything, it will only protect the perpetrators by diverting the real issue behind the killings, which an emboldened CHR saw fit to point out – that of a violent culture of impunity that the government appears unwilling to curb.
Sec. Gonzales went on to state that “you cannot watch every criminal at every corner.” This would appear so, especially if the government continuously ignores what witnesses have commonly attested to. A pattern in the killings all conspicuously point to military or police implication that the government simply refuses to acknowledge and act upon.
Unless the government quits the double-speak and admits accountability, it will forever be suspect to the senseless bloodbath.
A political analyst friend once commented, even before Sec. Gonzalez’ statement, that some media practitioners advocating a gun-wielding media may even possibly be another ‘pakawala’ of a ‘militarized’ government. And why not? The double-speak, thus, garners double benefits – divert the real issue AND earn a sizeable profit from a cowed media itching to buy arms. ###
also posted at the young radicals blog