Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is appalled that relatives and friends of four
journalists in the Philippines
received menacing text messages claiming falsely that three of the journalists had
been killed and the other seriously injured in an accident in Capiz.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, the message sent on August
31 said NUJP Capiz chapter president
John Heredia, Capiz Times editor
Gerry Pagharion and Capiz Chronicle publisher
Edward Basilonia were declared dead at Capiz Emmanuel
Hospital while Inquirer correspondent Felipe Celino was
in a critical condition.
The four journalists issued a
statement on September 1 denouncing the text message as false and a menacing act
that was “uncalled for and malicious”.
All four have been reporting on the
murder of another Capiz journalist, Martin Roxas, who was shot dead in Roxas City
on August 7.
The text message, from an unknown
sender, was also sent to Roxas
City dyOW station manager
Cyril Simpas and the Governor of Capiz.
“While the IFJ is relieved to
learn that the four journalists are safe and well, the threatening implication
of such a message, sent after the murder of Martin Roxas, is deplorable,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“Journalists in the Philippines
face substantial daily risks to their personal safety to uphold the right to a
free media and free expression. The anxiety caused to the families of these four
journalists is incomprehensibly disrespectful.”
The IFJ joins the NUJP in calling on local authorities to employ all
resources to identify the person or persons responsible for sending the messages
and to ensure they are adequately penalised.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide