Journalists Targeted in Philippines Election Violence

The

International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is greatly concerned by reports of early violence against

media personnel as the Philippines

national elections begin today.

 

Rolando

Gono, radio stringer and writer for the weekly Azilam Review in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao,

went missing on May 9, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

(NUJP), an IFJ affiliate.

 

A

colleague and Hot FM 106.3 radio reporter, Rene Abris,told the NUJP that he received a message from Gono asking for

help after being accosted by a group of unknown people.

His

whereabouts remain unknown.

 

Abris and Gono reportedly went to

Catarman police station yesterday to report an assault on Herbert Hugo

Dumaguing and his son, Hubert, who both work for Cagayan de Oro cable station

TV13. The two were reportedly beaten on their heads and threatened with guns by

Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo and several men after they saw some local

officials allegedly distributing envelopes to Catarman residents.

 

A camera and other possessions belonging

to the journalists were seized by the attackers.

 

The Dumaguings and Abris are now

under the protection of Catarman police, who have reportedly arrested one man. Police

also reportedly met with Governor Romualdo.

 

Meanwhile, Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent

Orlando Dinoy reportedly received a death threat on May 8 from Bansalan mayor

Edwin Reyes, a candidate for the Nacionalista Party in Davao del Sur

province in the southern Philippines. 

 

Dinoy told the NUJP the mayor targeted him for his coverage of the campaign

of a rival candidate, incumbent Bansalan vice-mayor Melchor Arches, who is a Nationalist People’s Coalition candidate. Dinoy said

Reyes also blamed him for allegedly spreading defamatory propaganda used in the

campaigns of his political rivals.

 

Reyes reportedly told Dinoy he would

arrange for the journalist to be killed after the elections.

 

“The IFJ again calls on all

candidates standing for election today to publicly commit to ending the culture

of impunity for attacks against journalists in the Philippines, where 137 journalists

have been killed for their work since 1986. Of these, 100 have been killed

during the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,” IFJ

Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

“With politically motivated violence

in recent days including the disappearance of one journalist, the bashing of

two, and threats against another, the need for a response is urgent.”  

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide