|Washington frowns on Manila’s journalist murders, 9 slain last year
The United States views the killing of journalists in Philippines as “deeply troubling,’’ its ambassador said, adding his voice to growing criticism from watchdog groups.
“Attempts to silence journalists are deeply troubling and not acceptable,'' Philip Goldberg told reporters.
“Democracy needs a free press,'' he stressed even as he reaffirmed the close alliance between the United States and its former colony.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists lists nine journalists murdered in Philippines last year. Three are known to have been killed in relation to their work.
CPJ said 76 journalists have been murdered in the country since 1992.
In the worst such incident, 32 journalists were among 58 people murdered in southern Mindanao in 2009 by a powerful political clan that was trying to stop a rival from running in elections.
The trial of the clan members and their allies is still continuing and many suspects still remain at large.
President Benigno Aquino has repeatedly said he is determined to crack down on the murders, but local press watchdogs charge that the masterminds behind the killings often go unpunished.
The crimes are often blamed on the country's “culture of impunity'' in which powerful men feel they can get away with crimes including murder.--AFP