Former human rights activist Julieta Alipala is a news reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the leading English-language newspaper in the Philippines. She reports from the southern and western regions of the Mindanao group of islands. She is one of a group of four scholarship holders who came to Germany with the Berlin Scholarship Programme to learn how to better protect herself in the digital space.
Alipal’s journalistic activities began in September 1998 when she wrote an article about the kidnapping of an Italian priest. Since then she has frequently reported on crisis situations including hostage-takings, the war on terror and the activities of militant Islamist organisations in Mindanao. Her work focuses on topics such as abuse, war crimes and the exploitation of women, children and national refugees.
She was director of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NJUP) for two terms and has received several awards for her work, including the 2013 International Committee of the Red Cross Award for Humanitarian Reporting. In 2016 she was a finalist in the Catholic Mass Media Awards in the Philippines.
She initially began to receive threats in connection with her reporting on Abu Sayyaf, a militant Islamist underground organisation in the Muslim south of the Philippines, and the group’s contacts with the military, which she exposed in 2002. She was harassed, verbally attacked and received death threats via text messages. She was also banned from reporting from military bases. Alipala suspects that “trolls” working for certain politicians, who were active in the run-up to the May 2019 elections in the Philippines, were behind the threats. After she reported on the murders of a group of young farmers in Mindanao in September 2018 Alipala came under further pressure through digital channels.
Her residency in Berlin is not the first scholarship programme she has completed. In 2007 she was a fellow on a course about the conflict-resolving role of war and peace journalism at the University of Sydney, Australia. Among other overseas trips she was in Oslo in 2012 as a member of a delegation of Filipino journalists and also attended the Asia Media Conference in South Korea in 2017 and the World Press Freedom Day conference in Ethiopia in 2019. (Current as of: 06.11.2019)