Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gunmen kill radio broadcaster-activist

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, (AMARC), a global body of radio broadcasters who work in the communities, condemns the November 27 killing of Antony Licyayo.

Peasant leader involved in outspoken community radio station shot dead

November 28, 2006. Kathmandu -- The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) Asia Pacific deplores in the strongest terms the brutal assassination of peasant leader Antony Licyayo, 38, chairperson of Kaguimungan-Cagayan Valley in the Philippines. Antony was shot at 8:30 AM, November 27, 2006 by an unidentified gunman. The bullet entered his head and exited through his mouth. He was carrying his one-and-a-half-year-old son and was on his way to their field in Sitio Torkia, Barangay Cabiraoan, at the time of the incident. The child was unharmed.

Antony and the Kaguimungan (a local peasant alliance) are among the producers of Radyo Cagayano, a community radio in Baggao, Cagayan Valley. Radyo Cagayano has been a strong and a very vocal advocate on peasant issues in this town. Last July, eight armed men in ski masks entered the station and burnt it down after hogtying the staff. On November 11, then-Kaguimungan peasant leader Joey Javier was murdered in Baggao municipality.

The death toll of journalists and other members of the media under the Arroyo regime is now at 43. This excludes numerous libel suits, acts of intimidation, threats and harassment directed toward other media in the country. AMARC holds the Arroyo government culpable for these grave and mounting violations of human rights perpetrated against the media and other progressive individuals and organizations. Despite international clamor for the Arroyo regime to seriously endeavor to stop the killings and the grave abuse of human rights in the Philippines, the violations still escalate.

AMARC Asia Pacific expresses its sorrow and deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Antony Licyayo. His death is a blow to the already very frail freedom of expression situation in the Philippines.

AMARC stands firm in its commitment to freedom of expression and to free the airwaves for the marginalized and oppressed people. Let us broadcast over our radios this brutal killing and be an instrument for the immediate dispensing of justice for Anthony and all other victims of human rights abuses in the Philippines.

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement in over 110 countries, and advocating for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighborhood levels. AMARC has an International Secretariat in Montreal. It has regional sections in Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific and offices in Johannesburg, Buenos Aires and Kathmandu.

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