IFJ Denounces Death Threat Against a Journalist in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has voiced its deep concern for the safety of a Malaya columnist, Ellen Tordesillas, who received a death threat two days ago via an email, shortly after she criticised government affairs.

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the trenchant email said: "What kind of death do you prefer? To die of cancer? To die of accident? To die of ambush? To die of heart attack due to your libel suit? Masyado kang matapang ha? Puro banat mo sa Pangulo dahil hindi ka napartehan ng gracia kahit kaunti. Your days are numbered."

"This blatant threat against Tordesillas must not be dismissed," IFJ President Christopher Warren said, highlighting the soaring number of journalist killings in the Philippines.

"The IFJ demands an immediate investigation into the incident, and calls on police authorities to ensure that no harm comes to Tordesillas," he said.

According to the NUJP, Tordesillas is one of 43 journalists facing criminal libel suits filed by Jose Miguel Arroyo, the husband of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The IFJ, the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries, has been persistently campaigning to cease the abuse of criminal defamation laws that silence journalists, and reiterates its calls for the government of the Philippines to immediately remove defamation from the criminal code.

"This spineless death threat is a blatant attempt to intimidate and frighten a journalist into submission and it is not to be taken lightly," the IFJ president said.

"Any harm that befalls a member of the Philippines’ press is a crime against freedom of expression," he said.

According to the NUJP, President Arroyo has asked the Melo Commission to investigate the numerous deaths of journalists.

"We now challenge Arroyo to live up to her promises and act immediately to prevent another senseless death in the Philippines’ media community," Warren said.

For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 countries