Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno will keynote the Journalism Asia Forum (JAF) on November 23, 2014 organized by the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR). The event observes the fifth anniversary of the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre of November 23, 2009. The registration starts at 9 a.m.

The Chief Justice will speak on the Constitution and impunity. The theme of JAF this year is “Media and Impunity.” It will be held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Quezon City. Invited participants include three experts from Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand who will also discuss impunity as experienced in other countries in Southeast Asia.

The international definition of impunity is “the impossibility, de jure or de facto, of bringing the perpetrators of violations to account ‐ whether in criminal, civil, administrative or disciplinary proceedings ‐ since they are not subject to any inquiry that might lead to their being accused, arrested, tried and, if found guilty, sentenced to appropriate penalties, and to making reparations to their victims.”

In the Philippines, the term is used to refer to the evasion of punishment for wrongdoers, including the killers of journalists and media workers.

The Ampatuan Massacre was the single bloodiest attack against the press in the Philippines and in the world. Fifty-eight people, including 32 journalists and media workers, were killed. The trial of the 197 accused, including eight members of the Ampatuan family, has been going on for four years.

Understanding the issue of impunity should encourage a more varied response to attacks and threats against the press as an institution and on individual journalists, thus the JAF theme.

The program will close in the early evening of November 23 with the “Million Candles Campaign,” in which groups and individuals are invited to light a candle for justice in different sites here and abroad. (http://cmfr-phil.org/endimpunityinph/)

JAF participants together with stakeholders from government, civil society, and the academe, among others, will gather at the EDSA Shrine at 6 p.m. to call for justice for the slain journalists.

JAF is a conference designed to fulfill the need for a sustained exchange of ideas among journalists in the region, and serves as a platform for regional perspectives of the issues and problems affecting the press in Asian countries as a larger frame for the exchange of ideas beyond national boundaries. Because it is important for journalists in Asia to be able to dialogue and exchange views about issues that affect the press in their countries, the Forum is designed as a counterpart of those in the West.

JAF 2014 is held in partnership with the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) based in Bangkok, Thailand, and the Canadian-based International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX).

For more information, please contact:
Lara de Jesus
Telephone Numbers:  894-1314/894-1326
Fax Number:  840-0889
Email Address: [email protected]