US troops presence will aggravate attacks on press freedom - LFS

Posted at 05/03/14 11:51 AM

LFS demands justice for slain journalists

MANILA -- Members of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and student media groups renewed calls for justice for slain journalists as they marked World Press Freedom Day.

Students, campus journalists and other youth held placards denouncing what they call the President's inaction against journalist harassment and killings.

Some wore black cloth over their heads and held boards displaying cases of press freedom violations under the Aquino government to symbolize their indignation.

"One thing that Aquino desperately hides from the public is that the Philippines remains one of the most dangerous places for journalists and that US intervention is a prime offender," LFS national spokesperson Charlotte Velasco said.

The solidarity action, held at Chino Roces Bridge in Mendiola, comes on the heels of the killing of Cavite-based reporter Rubylita Garcia on April 6.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said Garcia is the 210th media worker killed and 70th victim of work-related media killings since 1986.

She is also the 22nd victim of media killings under the Aquino administration.

Meanwhile, the LFS also scored the alleged harassment of Filipino journalists by US troops during an official coverage on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in a military base in Zamboanga.

"US troops have long been arrogant in threatening journalists who only wish to do their jobs of investigating situations inside US military bases and report what really happens during joint military exercises between US and PH," Velasco said.

The group said the presence of US troops continues to spur press freedom violations across the country.

They believe this will only be aggravated by the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

The group urged the youth and the general public to reject the agreement and stop US military intervention.

"In order to truly uphold press freedom, it is only necessary for the youth and the people become vociferous and united in the call to junk EDCA and stop US military intervention," Velasco said.