Journalism, naturally inclined to truthful and critical reportage, is one of the riskiest and most hazardous jobs existing. Reporting for the truth does not always entail admiration from the people and the consequences it assumes are more often than not, are crucial and deadly. Not everyone gives off a positive outlook towards truthful reportage. Some people, for their own personal reasons, do not want the truth to reek. Journalists eat and forcefully swallow threats for breakfast and for all the other meals for having published exposes about malicious crimes and sensitive issues. Hard-hitting journalists who often make reproving political commentaries, expose wrongdoings and criticize officials are the ones who get murdered. According to the International News Safety Institute (INSI), journalists die through shootings, explosions, stabbings and beatings, under torture or by strangulation. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) even declared that one journalist is killed every week on average around the world. Sadly, the lives of journalists, having the appetite for veritable stories, are put in grave danger.
The Philippines, currently ranked second after Iraq and before Syria, is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists to pursue their careers. The Philippines is not even a war zone like Iraq and Syria, yet, many journalists die because of politically motivated reasons. Journalists who become active on political commentaries are being targeted and dispatched. In 2009, the most heartbreaking incident involving the death of media practitioners happened in Maguindanao. Known as the “Maguindanao Massacre “ around the world, the Philippines was officially declared as a dangerous territory for the members of the forth state. Dirty politics in the Philippines has cost the country so much, ranging from money to innocent, precious lives. These extrajudicial killings have put journalists in a position where fear cannot be escaped. Emotional distress and constant haunting are experienced by journalists and aspiring journalists. A life lived in fear is a life not lived. This is enough reason to allow journalists to do something to protect themselves from impending harms.
According to a CNN news report, the Philippines is putting efforts to end this “pervasive culture”. A legal “super body” is being set up to aim at expediting the investigation and prosecution of the widely reported extrajudicial killings, which are not limited to journalists. However, not all the time that all killings are given justice. Most of the time, justice is not served.
In 2005, Philippine journalists with gun licenses were to carry guns outside their homes once they prove their lives are threatened.
The clamor that journalists be allowed to carry firearms is rising and being intensified. It is only sad to think how people who do their jobs in service of others are put in a lot of fear and frustration. A pen should be the greatest weapon a journalist needs, but somehow this is about to change.