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
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
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
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.
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
“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
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