Philippines: Veteran radio broadcaster attacked

Radio broadcaster Flo Hervias was physically assaulted by four assailants on October 7, amid a growing number of violent attacks against journalists in the Philippines. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), in condemning the attack and urging the authorities to immediately investigate the incident and hold those responsible to account.

Demonstrators attend a rally against the murder of broadcaster Percy Lapid on October 4, 2022, days before the assault of Flo Hervias. Credit: Jam Sta Rosa / AFP

On the evening of October 7, Hervias was assaulted by four masked men as he exited the DYRI radio station in the Lapaz District of Iloilo City after his program ‘Banwa Binag-binaga’ aired. Hervis was beaten and sustained injuries to his eyes and mouth.

According to the NUJP, the assailants pretended to be garbage collectors as they waited outside the station for Hervias to exit the building.

On the day of the attack, Hervias reported on a controversial rehabilitation project of the city’s public market, which is currently underway. The broadcaster interviewed the contractor in charge of the project to discuss what was being done to help the market’s existing vendors transfer to temporary stalls.

Hervias has since requested temporary protection from the Philippine National Police.

The attack comes days after radio commentator Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, was shot dead in his vehicle in Las Piñas City.The veteran broadcaster, host of ‘Lapid Fire’ on radio station DWBL 1242, was known to criticise the practice of red tagging, or the labelling of activists or organisations as supporters of communism, among other political issues.

Lapid is the second journalist to be killed under the administration of President Ferdinand Jr., with his death causing widespread fear within the journalist community in the Philippines.

The NUJP said: “We call on the Philippine National Police to act on its assurance of protecting journalists and upholding the freedom of the press by swiftly and decisively apprehending the assailants and all others involved and filing the appropriate charges. We call on colleagues to continue to stand together in defending the freedom of the press and standing by our sworn duty to hold power to account.”

The IFJ said:“All journalists must be able to work freely and independently without fearing for their safety or security. The IFJ condemns the assault of Flo Hervias and urges the Philippine policeto conduct an immediate thorough investigation into the incident to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

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

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