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
an IFJ affiliate, Vitug received two text messages from an unknown mobile phone
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
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.”
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
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
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.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide