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This week's show: Danger in the Philippines

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Cathy Packe | 11:30 UK time, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Here in the Over To You office we're always looking out for interesting media issues to bring to your attention, but they are not often quite as chilling as the topic we cover in this week's programme.

The safety of journalists is something that's taken very seriously here at the BBC, and a great deal of care is taken to ensure that no one is deliberately put at unnecessary risk. But some parts of the world are extremely hazardous for reporters, and for the cameramen, fixers and other colleagues who accompany them.


Relatives, colleagues and supporters march at a cemetery in the Manila suburban area of Paranaque on December 6, 2009 to bury the remains of Daniel Tiamzon, a UNTV journalist. Picture: Getty Images

Nowhere is more dangerous than the Philippines, where, at the end of November, 57 people were massacred in an ambush - and 31 of them were from the media, trying to go about their daily job.

The matter was highlighted this week by the International Federation of Journalists, which sent a delegation to Manila to talk to the authorities there. You can hear the IFJ's spokesman explaining to Rajan, on this week's programme, that drastic action is needed to guarantee the safety of journalists. 

"Killing journalists has been risk-free," he told Rajan.

"We have no knowledge of any case which has been prosecuted, and the people found guilty punished, for killing journalists - and this needs to change."

On a different subject completely, we also turn our attention to sport. I'm not much of a football expert myself (one football-mad member of the Over To You team - Rajan - is enough!) - but I do know that football is going to be important next year, particularly in Africa, with the Cup of Nations taking place in Angola in January - and then of course the World Cup in South Africa starting in June.

But currently World Service listeners are being asked to vote for the African Footballer of the Year - which prompted one listener, Arthur Kintu, to ask how the BBC ensures that no one can vote twice.

Arthur lives in Uganda but when I spoke to him he told me he supports the Nigerian national team - although he didn't disclose who he'll be voting for as player of the year. You can hear how David Stead, Editor of African Productions, ensures that there is no voting fraud in this week's Over To You.

And also on the subject of polls, one of our regular listeners, Ishmael Larkai, who lives Accra in Ghana, suggested the World Service should hold a poll to vote for the Best Presenter, Best Overall Programme and so on - he suggested various categories, and I'm sure others could come up with more.

I don't think we can get into a serious poll - as David Stead explained to us, it's  fiendishly complicated and long drawn-out business - but we're certainly interested in hearing who you think deserves an accolade for their work in the last year.

Cathy Packe is the Producer, Over To You  

Over To You is your chance to have your say about the BBC World Service and its programmes. It airs at 10:40 and 23:40 every Saturday, and at 02:40 on Sunday (GMT).


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Journalist,
    After reading and watching of this very bad events in a South East Asian country, i am very sad and have no proper sleep for few days.
    I am a freelance writer by comments on various subjects,latest events,book review,films and sports columns to many leading world news channels and to some leading social websites.
    For BBC World Services, all my comments were published in !Have Your Say!column.
    Back to this subject, journalists,reporters,photographers are not at all responsible ,and they are not subject to favor or to disfavor to particular race,religion,language and in local areas of interests.
    The above inhuman incidents are very shock and created some sorts of fear psychosis to many new,aspiring media people.
    In Philippines, many areas are either dominated or controlled by world known religious sects.
    Many times, clashes between Christians and Muslims are happening.
    In some parts of this country,this separate religious groups are demanding a separate country from her united set up.
    All sincere people and people of free and fair, freedom lovers,followers and humanists have condemned and hoped these inhuman acts will not be repeated in future.
    As an individual, and supporter for free journalism, I am with BBC news team and with world media networks.


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