What is a journalist? A journalist collects, writes, and distributes news and other information. Journalists sometimes expose themselves to danger, particularly when reporting in areas of armed conflict or in states that do not respect the freedom of the press. Organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters without Borders publish reports on press freedom and advocate for journalistic freedom.
As of November 2011, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that, 887 journalists have been killed worldwide since 1992 by murder, crossfire or combat , or on dangerous assignment. In the Philippines, one of the most controversial press killings is The Maguindanao massacre, also known as the Ampatuan massacre after the town where the mass graves were found. It is no accident that the International Day to End Impunity fell on November 23, 2011.
Exactly two years ago from said date, 58 people were killed in the hilly portion of Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao. The 58 victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and brutally killed. Of the 58, 32 were journalists and media workers. Mangudadatu was challenging Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the incumbent Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr., in the forthcoming Maguindanao governatorial election.
The people killed included Mangudadatu’s wife, his two sisters, journalists, lawyers, aides, and motorists who were witnesses or were mistakenly identified as part of the convoy. The nation read, watched and listened in shock to news about the discovery of bodies in the crime scene and there were eight vehicles and a PC 300 Komatsu backhoe with the markings “Acquired under the administration of Andal S. Ampatuan, Sr., Governor & Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members, Province of Maguindanao.” The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. At least 34 journalists are known to have died in the massacre.