Malicious Messages Target Journalists' Families and Friends in the Philippines

 

 

The International

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.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide