Trial Begins Over Murder of Radio Journalist in the Philippines

 

 

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

killed.

 

Amador Raz, one of the suspects who

had formerly denied involvement in Ureta’s murder, was reportedly present at

the hearing.

 

Local media reported that the

other suspect, Jessie Ticar, died in a provincial hospital in Aklan in early

May.

 

“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

trial.

 

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.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents

over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries