Thursday, July 06, 2006

IFJ condemns attack on community radio station

Community radio station set alight and staff members attacked in Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned an attack on community radio station Radyo Cagayano by eight masked and armed persons in Baggao, north of Manila.

IFJ President Christopher Warren said, "This is a major setback for press freedom, and the targeting of a community radio station is particularly ruthless and disturbing. Stations such as this should be able to operate without fear of persecution, as they are an essential source of information for regional communities."

IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), reported arsonists blindfolded and held six staff members at gunpoint, before setting the radio transmitter and booth facilities on fire.

The incident comes after a series of threats against the station, which has suffered from many delays due to harassment since beginning operations in May this year.

Local organisations believe the army is responsible for this latest attack.

"So long as incidents such as this are allowed to occur, the media won't be able to perform its duty in reporting fairly and accurately to communities. The IFJ supports the NUJP in calling for increased protection for journalists in the region, and in calling for the attackers to be apprehended and held fully accountable for their actions," Warren said.

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