UNITED States Ambassador Philip Goldberg on Thursday added his voice to international calls for more concern for extrajudicial and media killing in the Philippines following similar calls from the United Nations last month.

Goldberg

Goldberg met Wednesday with representatives from the Confederation of Asean Journalists, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, National Press Club, Kapisanan ng Brodkaster sa Pilipinas and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

An embassy statement quoted Goldberg as saying freedom of the press is “a fundamental human right” and the US government supports an “open media environment were journalists are free to work safely without the fear of being threatened or killed.”

“The targeted killing of journalists has continued in the Philippines and impunity for these crimes has remained a serious issue,” the embassy said.

It was the second time Goldberg issued a statement on the matter after he expressed alarm about the growing number of media killings in the country in May, when the US embassy issued its lengthiest remarks on the killings of journalists.

“I have been troubled by continued acts of violence committed against journalists,” Goldberg said in May. “Our people share a belief that a free press helps to ensure a vibrant democracy.”

In its latest statement, the embassy said the US government will support an “open media environment were journalists are free to work safely without the fear of being threatened or killed.”

“The targeted killing of journalists has continued in the Philippines and impunity for these crimes has remained a serious issue,” the embassy said.

The embassy issued the statement a month after United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston also expressed concern at the continuing incidents of extrajudicial killings and escalating human rights violations.

Alston expressed a keen interest in looking into the new allegations after he learned that the Aquino administration had done nothing to implement the recommendations that he made seven years ago.

In 2007, Alston, who was then the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, came to the Philippines to investigate the cases of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo administration.

In that report, Alston pointed to the responsibility of the government, military and police in the targeted killings and disappearances of hundreds of political activists and those tagged as rebel supporters as part of the counter-insurgency campaign of the state.

He recommended a checklist of concrete steps that the Philippine government should do to address and abate the rights violations, but the recommendations remain unheeded.

Alston said UN rapporteurs Chaloka Beyani and Gabriela Knaul, Palabay have also expressed interest in coming to the country to conduct an investigation.

Beyani, UN special rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, is slated to conduct his official visit this year, but Knaul has yet to secure an invitation from the Philippine government following her request to visit the Philippines.

Knaul is set to look into the independence of judges and lawyers and the attacks against them.

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