Philippines Editor Receives Death Threats

 

The

International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Philippines government to urgently investigate a

series of threatening messages sent to Newsbreak editor-in-chief Marites

Danguilan Vitug in the national capital region of Manila in the past week.

 

According to the National Union of Journalists of the

Philippines (NUJP),

an IFJ affiliate, Vitug received two text messages from an unknown mobile phone

number.

 

One of the messages reportedly

said,“Your kind is the reason why journalists are being killed. Ampatuan had

valid reason to kill those journalists. I wish you were one of

them.”

 

The message refers to the massacre

of 58 people including 32 journalists in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.

Several family members of Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr including his

son Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr were arrested as suspects in late 2009.

 

The threats follow the release of

Vitug’s controversial book, Shadow of Doubt on March 16 which deals with

allegations of corruption against judges of the Philippines Supreme Court.

Vitug is also facing a libel suit

filed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco for an article she

wrote about him last year.

 

The NUJP quoted Vitug as saying she made the threat

public “because this is the best protection.”

 

“In

an environment where attacks on press freedom are frequent and violent and all

too often unpunished, all measures must be taken by authorities to quash any

potential risk to the personal safety of individual media personnel,”

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline

Park said.

 

“Only

by actively pursuing justice against all perpetrators of violence against the

Philippines media will the

authorities be able to send a message that such impunity will no longer be

tolerated.”

 

The

IFJ stands in solidarity with the NUJP and other local media organisations as they

honour the courage of their colleagues in commemorating the four-month

anniversary of the November 23 massacre today.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide