The Ampatuan Massacre: BECAUSE THEY COULD (Impunity in the Philippines)


keep the story alive“THE KILLERS WANT YOU TO FORGET. #KeepTheStoryAlive.”

The joint by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have come out with a report.

The joint mission was among the activities undertaken in November 2014 by media groups as the Philippines commemorated the fifth anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre, the world’s single most deadly attack on journalists.

The introduction to the report gives a stark summary of the massacre and a capsule analysis of why it happened:

On November 23, 2009, the Philippines showed to the world in the most horrific way what impunity looks like.

The slaughter of 58 people – including 32 journalists – in an “unprecedented act of political violence” in Southern Mindanao was, and is, the single biggest killing of media workers in history. The scene described by journalist Nonoy Espina was that of a “cake of death”; bodies and vehicles piled and squashed into crude mass graves.

The horrifying massacre in Maguindanao shocked and sickened the world. How could this supposedly strong Asian democracy with such a vibrant and robust press play host to an audacious and brutal bloodbath of this scale? How could the killers think that no-one would notice; that life could continue on, business as usual?

The fact is they did. And they did because that was the way it had come to be in the Philippines.

You can read the full report HERE.

(DISCLOSURE: I wrote Chapter 5 of the report. I chaired the NUJP from 2004-2006 and remain a member of the organisation.)

On the cover: The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines created an art installation at the Bantayog ng Bayani in Quezon City to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre – the largest mass murder of journalists in history. The “Monument to the Heroes” is a landscaped memorial centre honouring individuals who lived and died in defiance of the repressive regime that ruled over the Philippines from 1972 to 1986. The installation re-created the massacre of November 23, 2009, in Maguindanao in Southern Philippines, which saw 58 people killed, including 32 journalists. The body figures were crafted from newspapers and re-create the image that ran on the front page of a newspaper the day after the massacre. Leeroy New, an artist, helped visualise the crime scene. He said: “Our use of newspapers to re-enact the crime scene is in fact a direct reference to how the issue is slowly disappearing. And how the material – the newspaper as a material – is a very transient material. And it’s also a direct reference to the victims – the journalists who were killed.” The agency behind the idea was BBDO Guerrero which provides the NUJP with pro bono support for its ongoing campaigns against journalist killings and impunity."
On the cover:
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines created an
art installation at the Bantayog ng Bayani in Quezon City to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre – the largest mass murder of journalists in history.
The “Monument to the Heroes” is a landscaped memorial centre honouring individuals who lived and died in defiance of the repressive regime that ruled over the Philippines from 1972 to 1986.
The installation re-created the massacre of November 23, 2009, in Maguindanao in Southern Philippines, which saw 58 people killed, including 32 journalists. The body figures were crafted from newspapers and re-create the image that ran on the front page of a newspaper the day after the massacre.
Leeroy New, an artist, helped visualise the crime scene. He said: “Our use of newspapers to re-enact the crime scene is in fact a direct reference to how the issue is slowly disappearing. And how the material – the newspaper as a material – is a very transient material. And it’s also a direct reference to the victims – the journalists who were killed.”
The agency behind the idea was BBDO Guerrero which provides the NUJP with pro bono support for its ongoing campaigns against journalist killings and impunity.”

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