'Tokhang' podcast on Duterte drug war recognized in 25th Human Rights Press Awards

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Posted at May 06 2021 06:09 PM | Updated as of May 06 2021 06:10 PM

'Tokhang' podcast on Duterte drug war recognized in 25th Human Rights Press Awards 1

MANILA - A six-part audio documentary series on President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature campaign to end the drug scourge in the Philippines is among the winners in the 25th Human Rights Press Awards, a non-profit based in Hong Kong.

Tokhang sa Tokhang: Inside the Communities Hit by Duterte’s War on Drugs”, produced by PumaPodcast, won a Merit Award in the audio category. 

It tackles Duterte’s war on drugs, the extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and the effects the bloody campaign has had on families, children, communities, media, artists and even police and agents on the ground.

“Even as the pandemic hit, the drug war and extra-judicial killings have continued. We believe part of the value of 'Tokhang sa Tokhang' has been to keep the conversations around it going. It's a story that is still unfolding, and we will continue to do our part in covering it and engaging with all the sectors involved to shine light on the impact this has had and on how these human rights abuses must be stopped. In addition to the story itself, we think this reflects the power of audio, and how it can empower journalists like us to speak truth in these challenging times,” PumaPodcast, founded by journalist Roby Alampay, said on its Facebook page on Thursday.

“Tokhang sa Tokhang” is also the first podcast out of Asia to be curated for inclusion in the US Library of Congress Podcast Preservation Project.

The Human Rights Press Awards, organized by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Journalists Association and Amnesty International Hong Kong, recognizes "top rights-related reporting from around Asia."

Malacañang in March asked the International Criminal Court to drop its inquiry into alleged crimes against humanity under Duterte's drug war after the Supreme Court junked appeals against his move to withdraw the Philippines from the tribunal. 

A United Nations report in June last year said tens of thousands of people in the Philippines may have been killed in the war on drugs with "near impunity" for police and incitement to violence by top officials since mid-2016.

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Meanwhile, "Why The Philippines Has So Many Teen Moms" by Aurora Almendral and Hannah Reyes Morales won a merit award for Explanatory Feature Writing. The article was published by NPR, an independent, nonprofit media organization.