Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And in Iloilo

From the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility blog:

Two radio broadcasters shot in Iloilo

Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Two radio journalists were injured when two unidentified men fired their guns at them on 1 December 2006 in Estancia, Iloilo province, a province located about 400 kilometers south of Manila.

Arnie Pullan and Butch Aclaro, broadcasters at the MBC-Radyo Natin, were on their way home after their program when two men riding a motorcycle shot at them. Contrary to earlier reports, Pullan and Aclaro, who were also on a motorcycle, suffered no critical wounds.

According to Senior Inspector Alex Velez of the Philippine National Police, Pullan managed to duck in time. The bullet merely grazed Pullan in the left eyebrow while Aclaro suffered powder burns on his neck. Velez said the motive behind the attack is still unknown.

The two broadcasters received first aid from a nearby hospital and were immediately released afterwards.

Aclaro and Pullan, who are also employees of the local municipal government, host “The Mayor’s Hour,” a radio block-time program of Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero. The show, which started airing in October this year ceased airing on 2 December, a day after the shooting incident.

It was not the first time that Pullan became the target of an attack. In 7 June 2005, two men shot at him using a homemade shotgun. Charges of frustrated murder were filed against the suspects and the case is still pending in court. Velez said that attack stemmed from Pullan’s work as market inspector.

Eddie Lacsi, chair of the Kapisan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) in Iloilo, said the MBC-Radyo Natin is not accredited with the KBP. The KBP, which is a self-regulatory body for the broadcast industry, enforces standards in programming, advertising and trade practice through its Radio and Television Codes.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has this account of the incident:

Broadcaster critically wounded in shooting -- CPJ

New York, December 4, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists said today it was investigating whether the shooting of journalist Arnie Pullan on the central Philippine island of Iloilo was related to his work as a radio host. An unidentified gunman shot and seriously wounded Pullan on December 1 as he left the station of MBC-Radio Natin in the town of Estancia.

Pullan hosts a radio show called “The Mayor’s Hour” with Rene Cordero, the mayor of Estancia. He was shot twice in the head while riding a motorcycle with councilor Butch Aclaro, according to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), and local and international news reports. Aclaro’s injuries are not known.

Police did not say whether the shooting was journalism-related.

Cordero claimed the attack was politically motivated “because Pullan and Aclaro are my men and supporters,” according to the daily Sun Star Iloilo.

Retired police general Restituto Mosqueda, who is challenging Cordero for the mayoralty, called suggestions that he was behind the attack “libelous, unfounded, brazen lies and baseless,” according to the Iloilo City-based daily The News Today. Mosqueda condemned the shooting and alleged that Cordero himself may have orchestrated it.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, according to CPJ research. At least three journalists were killed this year in relation with their work.

“We deplore the shooting of Arnie Pullan, and call on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Attacks on writers and broadcasters in the Philippines, where journalists are often allied with political candidates, are far too common, and pose a real threat to press freedom.”

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