Philippines’ radio station harassed by local officials

Radyo Natin Gumaca in the Philippines has struggled to secure its permits following continued harassment by Gumaca Quezon mayor. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemn the harassment against Radyo Natin and call on the National Telecommunications Commission to not be influenced by politics in the decision to grant permits.

Radyo Natin operations manager Mitch Hernando complained that the station had not yet been granted it’s ‘mayor’s permit’ despite the organisation completing and submitting all necessary papers. This year, Hernando said that Gumaca Quezon mayor, Erwin Caralian and his brother vice mayor, El Chor Caralian tried to conspire with the National Telecommunications Commission to harass the station. Hernando said that the station’s mother network, MBC, said on March 12 that the mayor was at the NTC alleging that Radyo Natin was operating illegally, and called for the station to be closed.

Two days later the station was ‘inspected’ by representatives from the NTC, Business Permit and Licensing Office and the Treasury Department. After the inspection, Hernando was assured  by the NTC that Radyo Natin would not be shut down.

The harassment and intimidation of media houses in the Philippines is an ongoing issue. Media groups have recorded at least 99 incidents of attacks and threats against the press during the first two years of President Duterte’s administration.

The NUJP urges members of the media to resist these attacks on press freedom. “This we will say again and again, the independent Philippines press, the Filipino journalists and the freedom-loving Filipinos will make sure that such attacks will not succeed in silencing us,” said NUJP.

The IFJ said: “We call the government of the Philippines to immediately cease the intimidation and harassment of the media. Action must be taken to end the threats against newsrooms. We also stand with NUJP as well as our brave Filipino colleagues in all the efforts to fight for freedom of the press.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram