Exactly one year ago, on 23 November 2009, 32 media professionals were massacred in Maguindanao province, on the southern island of Mindanao, by a private militia controlled by the local governor’s family.
The tragedy’s shocking nature did not reside solely in the record number of journalists killed but also in the criminal desire of the perpetrators to eliminate all the witnesses, down to the very last man and woman.
The international community was stunned as the details of the massacre emerged. At first it was shocked by the scale of the death toll. Then it was appalled by the revelations about the criminal nature of the Ampatuan family.
Now our common goal must be to press the authorities to allocate sufficient material and human resources to the trial of the main defendants, so that it can be completed within a reasonable time and conclude with the conviction of those responsible, both the perpetrators and the instigators.
By commemorating the victims, every press freedom organization can help to promote the deep-seated changes that the Philippines needs. Together, let’s say: “Never again.”
To pay tribute to the victims, Reporters Without Borders is publishing the accounts of some of the families of the journalists killed a year ago. It also appeals for a broad movement of support for the families.
More information about the massacre and the trial: