Same goal, different killers


At least two international organizations have separately described 2004 as uniquely bad for the press worldwide. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which represents more than half a million journalists in 110 countries, described the year as “the worst year on record” for the press, while the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF-Reporters Without Borders) called 2004 “the deadliest year for a decade” for journalists. The RSF assessment was released last January 5, while that of IFJ was made as early as mid-December, 2004.

IFJ based its assessment on its list of 120 journalists killed worldwide. Although RSF’s list of journalists killed was shorter at 53, it nevertheless agreed with IFJ that 2004 had been particularly problematic. Continue reading

Pardoning Romeo


About convicted criminals there are two attitudes–or schools of thought, if you will. One is focused on retribution, the other on rehabilitation.

The retribution crowd we’re all familiar with. They cheer whenever anyone’s sentenced to death; they campaigned for the death penalty, and they’d like the list of “heinous crimes” lengthened so more people can be executed. They want those on death row to walk the last mile to the lethal injection chamber ASAP. In public forums they will ask those opposed to the death penalty how they would feel if it were a member of their family who had been killed, kidnapped or raped. They think once a criminal always a criminal. Continue reading

Starting right


Fun is one of the few things–the uncharitable say it’s the only thing–most Filipinos apparently take seriously. Celebrating the Christmas season is thus serious business, an event to which virtually all the energy of the entire populace is focused for months, and from which no one will be deterred.

The focusing begins as early as September, when the radio stations start playing Christmas songs, and accelerates right after November 1, when some homes start putting up Christmas lights to make even longer what’s already one of the longest celebrations of Christmas on the planet. Continue reading