National Press Club

NPC Mourns 12 Journalists Killed in Philippines

November 24, 2009

The National Press Club mourns the 12 journalists reportedly killed while covering a local gubernatorial candidate's attempt to file election papers in the Philippines' Maguindanao Province on the island of Mindanao.

Early reports from the Philippines state-run media say 46 people, including 12 journalists, were slain, allegedly by supporters of the incumbent governor. More than 100 gunmen surrounded the group, including the candidate's wife, and kidnapped them. Some of the victims had been beheaded, the media reported.

"No one benefits when journalists are intimidated, threatened and ultimately killed merely for trying to report the news," National Press Club President Donna Leinwand said. "The government in the Philippines must take concrete, immediate steps to protect journalists and press freedom."

The Philippine president has pledged to investigate the murders fully. We urge her to ensure a throrough, complete and honest investigation free of political bias. The government should also ensure that, despite the government-declared state of emergency, journalists continue to have unfettered access to areas where political violence is rampant.