Media Release: Philippines
January 15, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the apparent censorship on veteran columnist Bobby Nalzaro of Sun Star Cebu by the newspaper’s owners.
Nalzaro’s 15-year-old Saksi column in Sun Star Cebu and Sun Star Superbalita has been suspended since the start of the year, according to a report of the Cebu Daily News (CDN).
The CDN report quoted Nalzaro as saying that he was advised to stop writing by the elders of the Garcia family who own the newspaper. The report also stated that Jesus “Sonny” Garcia Jr., the chairman of the board and founding publisher of Sun Star, is a first cousin of suspended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
Nalzaro reported that the newspaper owners asked that his column be removed after he had called for the suspended governor to step down until all cases against her had been decided. The governor was suspended for six months by the Office of the President following charges of administrative malpractice, however she has refused to leave her office in the provincial capitol.
According to the NUJP “the apparent censorship of Nalzaro is a stain on the highly respectable record of Sun Star Cebu as a pillar of community journalism not only in Cebu but in the whole country.”
The suspension sends a clear message to other journalists that they may face reprisals, irrespective of the law, if their opinions displease media owners.
“Journalists in the Philippines have the right to exercise their duties free from reprisals and intimidation,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. We demand that the owners at the Sun Star abide by national and international legal obligations which guarantee Filipino citizens freedom of expression and an independent media”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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