Journalists in Southeast Asia find their safety threatened by “physical random attacks” by the general public, threats to their families or close relatives, and poor working conditions, a survey by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and several journalists’ unions in Southeast Asia said.
They focused on the situation on the ground for media employees in seven member countries of the Southeast Asian Journalist Union – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Timor Leste.
An IFJ statement issued on Saturday said the poll, which was conducted on 1,265 journalists as respondents, revealed that one in two journalists felt insecure about their jobs in 2018.
Thirty-eight per cent of the journalists said press freedom in their countries had worsened or declined in the past year, the IFJ said.
The survey also showed that government and political leadership were “two biggest determinants of impunity” for crimes against members of the press.
The Philippines was named in the survey as being the worst country for journalists in South East Asia. The report said that there were some 40 unsolved murders of journalists in the Philippines last year.
The prevailing poor performance of the criminal and civil justice system to deal with threats against the press was a major contributing factor, the IFJ said.
It said the full results of the survey would be released on November 23, to coincide the 10th anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines.
The November 2009 massacre took the lives of 58 people — 32 of them journalists. The incident has been called the worst single-attack against members of the media. Until now, justice has yet to be served for the fatalities of the massacre.
THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN