Journalist sexually harassed in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) deplore the sexual harassment of a female journalist in Bulacan in Manilla, in the Philippines. The IFJ and the NUJP demand an immediate investigation into the incident by the country’s authorities and action to bring those responsible to justice.On September 16, Janess Ann Ellao, a reporter, was covering the trial of Staff Sargent Edgardo Osorio and retired General Jovito Palparan Jnr. Osorio, over the enforced disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan. Ellao was covering the hearing in the region trial court in Bulacan, when Osorio’s lawyer, Bonifacio Alentajan, asked if she was a reporter and demanded she interview him.During the interview, Alentajan started to touch Ellao on the arm and when she moved away because she was uncomfortable he started yelling at her, demanding she pay attention to him. When Ellao questioned Alentajan, he continued to yell at her and told her she was impolite. Following the incident, Alentajan was overheard telling fellow lawyers that Ellao was a ‘leftist’. Labeling journalists as leftist is dangerous in the Philippines, exposing them to targeting by state security forces and the paramilitaries they control.Altermidya - People's Alternative Media Network in the Philippines said: “We are therefore calling on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to investigate Alentajan for his sexist and unprofessional conduct—and for our colleagues in the media and his peers in the law profession to condemn his reprehensible behavior.”The IFJ said: “We deplore the actions of Bonifacio Alentajan against Janess Ann Ellao who was simply doing her job covering the trial. Journalists should never have to face such behavior, especially women. Sexual harassment is often used a tool to intimidate and scare female journalists. We condemn the actions and call for an immediate investigation.”

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: