Article by: Jacob Hobbins
Photographs by: Jong Hyun Lee
Journalism is a dangerous job at the best of times. To get a good story, manyjournalists put their lives on the line, risking life and limb for the sake of the scoop. While we should hope that the average Bamboo Telegraph reporter need not deal with the daily terrors of landmines, death threats, and mass media humiliation, being a journalist in the Philippines is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.
According to Philstar, the Philippines is the second most dangerous nation in the world for a journalist, topped only by war-torn Syria. The International News Safety Institute reports that twelve journalists and one media worker were murdered in the Philippines last year. So far, the cases remain unsolved. This annual toll, however, pales in comparison to the bloodshed of the 2009 Maguindanao Massacre. At least 34 journalists were killed in what the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called “the single deadliest event for journalists in history.”
Most journalist deaths occur due to the Philippines’ political environment. With events like the pork barrel scandal and numerous fixed elections just waiting to be exposed by cunning journalists, over-curious reporters become prime targets for corrupt officials and murderous gang lords. Until corruption within Philippine society is dealt with, threats and acts of violence against journalists are unlikely to disappear.
Meanwhile, it is a comfort to know that within the confines of ISM, the biggest threats against the brave journalists of Bamboo Telegraph amount to little more than a few angry subtweets. Long live freedom of the press!