Filipino broadcaster survives assassination attempt

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the assassination attempt on a broadcaster in Dagupan City, Pangasinan in the Philippines today and has called on President Benigno Aquino to take drastic measures to address the country’s horrendous record of journalist assassinations before more journalists are killed. Orlando Navarro, 54, was shot in the back by an unidentified gunman in the early hours of Tuesday, August 26, just 15 metres from his home in Barangay Pantal, Dagupan City, the provincial capital of Lingayen on the island of Luzon. Navarro is the host of two shows, Isyu at Reaksyon and Orly sa IZ. He is also the officer-in-charge for dwIZ station in Pangasinan. In an interview with the National Union of Journalists Philippines (NUJP), Navarro said his “recent exposes on illegal drugs in his village may have spurred attempts to silence him.” IFJ Asia Pacific Acting Director Jane Worthington said: “This year four media workers have already been brutally assassinated in the Philippines - Navarro could have been the fifth. How many more journalists have to lose their lives for the government and law enforcement agencies to act?” The IFJ reminded the Aquino government of its state duty to protect and defend the rights of journalists. Earlier this year, broadcaster Rubylita Garcia was shot and killed in front of her grandchild, also in Luzon. Another broadcaster Nilo Baculo Sr had previously petitioned the courts for protection after he uncovered a plot for his death. While protection was initially granted, it was subsequently overturned. Baculo was killed on June 9 this year in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro. Richard Nidjad, another broadcaster was gunned down on May 4 near his home in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. National Union of Journalists, Pangasinan Chapter Chairperson, Yolanda Sotelo said "The NUJP calls on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on the crime until the perpetrator is brought to justice."  "The NUJP also asks the law enforcers to ensure the safety of media practitioners who are only doing their job of exposing the threats and dangers to the society, and of the entire residency whose only aspiration is to live in a peaceful environment." she said. “On November 23, it will be five years since the Ampatuan Massacre, which saw 34 journalists killed,” she said. “The families of those victims are still awaiting justice - which on its own says enough of the Philippines dire impunity record.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

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