The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the commencement of a trial for the murder of radio
journalist Roland Ureta in Kalibo, Aklan, on January 3, 2001.
According to the National Union of
Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, two suspects were
arrested in November 2007 after one of the suspects disclosed his plan to
surrender during an interview on dyKR, Radio Mindanao Network.
Ureta had hosted the Agong
Nightwatch program on the same network and was investigating illegal gambling
and drugs when he was killed, the NUJP reports.
Emily Ureta told the Cebu Regional
Trial Court, which convened on May 9, that her late husband had received
several death threats in relation to his job as a journalist before he was
Amador Raz, one of the suspects who
had formerly denied involvement in Ureta’s murder, was reportedly present at
Local media reported that the
other suspect, Jessie Ticar, died in a provincial hospital in Aklan in early
“This is an important step forward
for the Philippine police, courts and judicial system in demonstrating to all
perpetrators of violence against journalists that they will be brought to
account,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park.
“Voices like Ureta’s are
incredibly important in the fight against corruption in the Philippines and, in his memory, we
honour his commitment to press freedom.”
The IFJ congratulates the NUJP and
the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) for their successful petition
to the Supreme Court for the relocation of the trial from Aklan to Cebu City,
citing the influence of the accused in Aklan as pertaining to a possibly unfair
However, threats to the safety of
journalists continue. On May 10, two correspondents from the Malayanewspaper were threatened with guns while reporting on a festival
in Ifugao province.
According to the NUJP, Elena
Catajan and Redgie Cawis were reportedly verbally abused by the vice mayor and
town officials, who drew guns to scare the journalists.
The journalists were then
reportedly followed by an unidentified man as they left the site.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries