TV coverage of massacre trial banned in Philippines

Updated 13 November 2012
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TV coverage of massacre trial banned in Philippines

MANILA: The Philippines’ Supreme Court banned yesterday television coverage of trials related to the country’s worst political massacre in which 58 people died, sparking outrage from the government and media groups.
Reversing its own landmark decision made last year — that for the first time allowed a live broadcast of any trial — the court said showing the proceedings on television would unfairly harm the defendants’ cases.
“A camera that broadcasts the proceedings live on television has no place in a criminal trial because of its prejudicial effects on the rights of accused individuals,” said the court ruling.
Leaders of a then-politically powerful family in the violence-wracked southern Philippines, the Ampatuans, are accused of orchestrating the massacre of 58 people in 2009 in an attempt to stop a local rival’s election challenge.
The Ampatuans allegedly led a group of about 100 gunmen in stopping a convoy of cars carrying relatives of the rival political candidate, their lawyers and journalists, and then shooting them dead in a remote area.
The family patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Snr, as well as his son and namesake, who allegedly personally led the massacre, are among 75 people currently on trial over the murders.
The Supreme Court’s decision upheld a petition filed by Ampatuan Jnr, who argued that live coverage made him look guilty. President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman immediately expressed concern over the court’s ruling.


“This is the litmus test of the judiciary and it is important for us, both the public and media, to be able to know what’s going on in the massacre trial,” spokesman Edwin Lacierda told reporters.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which has a strong interest in the case because 32 of the victims were media workers, said it would appeal.
Nevertheless, television networks had not broadcast the proceedings prior to Monday’s ruling because conditions imposed last year made it impractical.
One of the conditions was that a broadcaster had to show all the court hearings, not parts of them.
Prosecutors and rights groups have warned the trials, which began in 2010, will drag on for years or even decades because of delaying tactics by the defense and as the country’s justice system is overburdened.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 32 min 19 sec ago
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”