Saturday, May 28, 2005

Guns & Journalism in the Philippines

A few weeks ago I posted a link to this article about the possibility of journalists carrying guns in the Philippines. This strikes me as a contrast between there and the U.S., where it often seems that "journalists" are largely anti-self-defense.

Today this turns up:
"Blasting away at targets with 0.45 caliber pistols, a group of militant Philippine journalists held their first 'fun shoot' Thursday to make clear they were not taking media killings lying down."
"'I did not want to ask for a permit to carry them (guns) because I believed that the pen is mightier than the gun, but with what's happening now, journalists are being killed like helpless chickens,' said Pablo Hernandez, a tabloid columnist.

Hernandez, known for his hard-hitting commentaries on smugglers and crooked cops, traded shots with two men on a motorcycle this month after he and a friend noticed their car was being followed in Manila.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) rejects the idea of reporters carrying weapons, but a growing number are arming themselves in Manila and other cities after police endorsed self-protection for the media earlier this year.

'While I am not going to stop any journalists who think they ought to carry arms, I just hope they go through the legal process,' said NUJP President Inday Varona.

'What the NUJP can do is to consistently reach out to them and tell them that this is not the answer.'

But the failure to convict anyone for the murders of nearly 70 journalists since democracy was restored in 1986 with the overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos has left journalists skeptical of the government's ability to protect them."
Skeptical. There's an understatement. That's 70 since 1986, and 5 this year alone.

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