ON THE OCCASION of International Human Rights Day (December 10), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism is publishing excerpts from an interview it conducted with Presidential Spokesman Herminio Coloma Jr. on the issue of media murders in the Philippines.

The Philippines has been labeled as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, and the mounting numbers of media murders under the Aquino administration has raised concerns that the government has not done enough to put an end to violence against members of the fourth estate.

Just yesterday, another journalist was shot dead in the southern Philippines. According to BusinesWorld, DxFM radio host and program Director Michael Milo was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunman near Butuan. The BusinessWorld story may be read here.

Milo is the second journalist to be killed in the Philippines in two weeks. On Nov. 29, Bukidnon broadcaster Joash Dignos was also shot dead.

The interview with Coloma was conducted on November 20, 2013, for the PCIJ story on media murders in the Philippines. In the interview, Coloma discusses efforts by the Aquino government to address the issue of media murders. Coloma also downplayed the incidence of media murders in the country, insisting that a number of victims were not “bona fide” journalists.

In addition, Coloma asks whether media should still play the role of a watchdog in the context of a post-Marcos democracy, and echoed statements by his principal, President Benigno S. Aquino III, that the media should stop being too “negative” in its writings about government.

video edited by Cong B. Corrales

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