MANILA— The European Union's Delegation to the Philippines on Tuesday condemned the killing of Davao-based journalist Orlando Dinoy and lauded the Philippine government’s “prompt action” to bring his slay to justice.
“Free media is at the heart of democracy. We condemn the killing of journalist Orlando Dinoy and commend government's prompt action to bring justice. EU stands by & protects #journalists,” the EU Delegation wrote on Twitter.
The Philippine government has formed a special task force to look into the killing of Dinoy, who was shot in the head by an unidentified assailant Saturday.
Meanwhile, European Commission High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell and Vice-President Věra Jourová issued a joint statement ahead of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on Nov. 2, committing to support the free press and protect journalists.
They celebrated the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dimitri Mouratov but lamented that “the stories and voices of many independent journalists continue to be silenced all over the world,” facing an “increasing number of threats and attacks, including assassinations in the most tragic cases.”
They pointed out data from UNESCO that 44 journalists have been killed so far in 2021 and many more were “attacked, harassed or unlawfully imprisoned.”
“We will stand by and protect journalists, no matter where they are. We will continue supporting a free and diverse media environment, supporting collaborative and cross-border journalism, and tackling violations of media freedom. There is no democracy without media freedom and pluralism. An attack on media is an attack on democracy,” the joint statement read.
'CLIMATE OF IMPUNITY'
In response to the incident, the Commission on Human Rights has dispatched a quick response team to investigate the "brazen killing" of Dinoy.
"Currently, no motive for his killing has been established, but due to the nature of the crime and profession of the victim, the CHR will be looking closely into his line of work and his previous contacts," the agency said in a statement.
The CHR denounced the incident, which occurred a day before the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
"Killings perpetrated against the media fosters a chilling effect and helps breed a climate of impunity," the CHR said.
"A silenced media hampers the free flow of information and deprives the Filipino citizenry of much-needed information critical for discernment in national affairs."
In the past 6 months, the CHR has investigated other media killings, including the ones perpetrated against lawyer Gilda Mahinay-Sipay, her husband Muhaimen Mohammed Sapie and Renante "Rey" Cortes.
These killings remain open and unsolved, the agency noted.
"We are hopeful that with the quick assembly of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, those responsible for this crime will be held to account. CHR for its part will continue to work with local authorities in investigating all potential leads," the CHR said.
"We send our condolences to the victim’s families and loved ones."