Death Threats Made Against Journalists in the Philippines

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is

disturbed to learn that four journalists in the Philippines have received death

threats after covering controversial issues recently near the capital Manila and

on the southern island of Mindanao.

 

Three journalists based in Tarlac City, north of

Manila,received death

threats via SMS (text message) after writing a series of articles on alleged

scams related to the ongoing construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union

Expressway, according to a report made to IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

(NUJP).

 

People’s Journal and People’s Tonight correspondent George

Hubierna received the first of the threats on January 8, the same day his report

on expressway was published. The text message said: “If you’re George Hubierna,

be careful - you don’t know who you’re up against.” 

 

This threat was followed on January

10 by a message from a former official of Gerona town to Tarlac Headline News columnist Nelson

Bolos which identified him as a member of the group behind the publication of

reports on the expressway. Bolos worked as a researcher on Hubierna’s

reports.

 

Headline News publisher and editor-in-chief Paul

Gonzales was threatened on January 24, when a text message he received said:

“Let’s see how brave you and Bolos are.” The same mobile number had been used on

January 22 to send a second threat to Hubierna.

 

Bolos had also been informed by a

friend that two people “of shady character” were asking questions about Bolos

and Hubierna, showing pictures of the two to verify their identities.

   

The NUJP also reported that a Gingoog

City correspondent of a community newspaper based in Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao

in the country’s south reported receiving death threats from a Community

Environment and Natural Resources officer (CENRO) of the Department of

Environment and Natural Resources in Gingoog City.


Goldstar Daily correspondent Edwin Iyo

said the CENRO contacted him on his mobile phone on February 16, and threatened

to shoot him dead.


Iyo reported that the

officer said he was offended by a text message Iyo sent which detailed

allegations of an extortion operation by a number of departmental personnel who

were manning a checkpoint in Barangay Anakan, Gingoog City.

 

“Threats against

journalists are a serious matter in the Philippines, where violent attempts

to intimidate the work of these brave reporters are all too common,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.

 

“The IFJ calls on the

Philippines’ authorities to take all

necessary steps to ensure that the journalists are protected and secure, the

threats are thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators face the full force of

the law for these crimes.”

 

For further information contact IFJ

Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125

countries

 

Find the IFJ on Twitter:

@ifjasiapacific

 

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