Media assaulted covering protest in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in strongly criticizing the attack against a number of media personnel covering protests in Manila in the Philippines. The IFJ and NUJP call on government to ensure the media are respected and take action against those responsible.

On Thursday, August 27, the influential Christian group, Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) staged large protests around the EDSA Shrine in Manila. By Monday, August 31, the crowd of protests had reached 20,000 people. INC members were protesting what they see as the government’s interference in church affairs. During the protests, there were a number of reports of media been assaulted and attacked. Melchor Pinlac, a cameraman with ABS-CBN was grabbed by the neck and punched in the face and body as the crowd chanted ‘biased, biased’. Olan Bola, a reporter with GMA network’s station dzBB was also assaulted as he tried to stop the attack on Pinlac.

The protests ended on Monday following an agreement between the INC leadership and the government. The police congratulated the INC for a peaceful protest.

NUJP secretary general, Rupert Mangilit said: “We demand that the police act speedily and directly should Mr. Pinlac and any other colleagues who may have been harassed or hurt during the protest choose to file a complaint. We also call on the leadership of the INC, if they believe in fairness and justice, to issue a public apology to Mr. Pinlac and Mr. Bola, as well as their networks, and ensure their members’ cooperation should our colleagues choose to take legal action against those who assaulted them.”

The IFJ said: “The IFJ is again seriously concerned about the safety situation facing media workers in the Philippines. This incident further illustrates the need for a guarantee from the government to ensure the safety of journalists and media workers. These attacks come just weeks after three journalists were killed in less than two weeks in the Philippines. As we lead up to the national elections next year, action needs to be taken to guarantee the safety of the country’s media.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries

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