Saturday, January 27, 2007

Site for Ely Buendia's benefit gig

For more details about the benefit concert for Ely Buendia, go to this site.

Am I wrong about Gov. Josie?

I always read and hear good things about our governor Josie dela Cruz. Here's someone who is an example of a sensible and wise leader, I thought. With this news, I'm not sure about this anymore.

Provincial governor warns journalists

Source: Freedom Watch

Governor Josie Mendoza dela Cruz of Bulacan, a province north of Manila, warned journalists on 22 January 2007 that she will file libel charges against them if they report “unsubstantiated news to malign her reputation.”

“Anticipating various tactics of political mudslinging pending the coming May elections dela Cruz declared that she would file charges against members of the press who… write or report unsubstantiated news to malign her reputation,” a report from the provincial public affairs office of Bulacan said.

Dela Cruz made the announcement before provincial government employees in the provincial capital’s gym.

“It’s like prior restraint. We already know those things. Do we still have to be told? It’s threatening the media,” Jose Pavia, executive director of the Philippine Press Institute and editor of the Bulacan-based newspaper Mabuhay said.

Read more here.

Mark this date for Ely

I'll forgive Spongecola for participating in this one. So for Eraserheads fans out there (like me and Francis whose nicely written article about Ely Buendia was posted here recently), here's a chance to help Ely.

Benefit gig for Ely Buendia
Source: GMANews.TV

More than 20 artists and bands will do a fund-raising concert for singer-composer Ely Buendia, who had undergone two angioplasty operations after having a heart attack.

The concert is scheduled for Sunday, January 28, at the Eastwood Central Plaza, Eastwood City in Libis, Quezon City.

More musicians had volunteered to perform for free, but the organizers had to turn them down because of the limited time allotted them for the use of the venue, which they also get for free.

So from the original plan of starting the concert at 4 p.m., organizers decided to start earlier at 2 p.m. to accommodate all the bands.

Among the performers are Sponge Cola, Parokya ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Rivermaya, Itchyworms, Chicosci, UpDharmaDown, True Faith, Greyhoundz, Cynthia Alexander, Dicta License, Join the Club, Moonstar 88, Ciudad, Paramita, Makatha, Salindiwa, Swissy, Julianne, and Teeth.

Read more here. (Poster photo from GMANews.TV)

With a combination of popular acts like Parokya ni Edgar, Kamikazee, and Rivermaya and talented performers like Cynthia Alexander and highly praised groups like Makatha, I hope this one's going to be a great hit. For Ely!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rotten tomatoes in the press during elections

Three Wednesdays ago, an old radio colleague called me in the office. The conversation went like this:

Radioman: Hi, Bryant. Musta na? (How are you?)

Bryanton Post:
Hi, ________. Musta na? Okay lang naman. Napatawag ka? (How are you? I'm fine. What's up?)

Radioman: Tanong ko lang... kasi ganito. May kaibigan akong tatakbo ng mayor sa lugar nila. Naghahanap ng susulat para sa kanya. Ah... (at this point, I am sensing his purpose for calling me -- Bryanton Post) tanong ko lang kung gusto mo. Sideline lang naman eh. (Oh... I just want to ask.... it's like this. I have a friend who's running for mayor in their place. He's looking for someone to write for him. Ah... just want to ask if you want. It's just a sideline, anyway)

Bryanton Post: Ah... hindi ko... linya 'yan eh. At saka bawal sa amin. (Oh... I don't... do that. And we're prohibited to to that)

Radioman: Ah, ganoon ba? Bawal pala sa inyo? Okay, o sige, salamat na lang. Kain tayo minsan ha? (Oh, is that so? It's prohibited in your office? Okay, anyway, thanks. Let's dine out sometime okay?)

Bryanton Post: Ah... sure. Sige, salamat. (Sure, thanks)

I actually wanted to say to him -- You're asking.... me? You're asking someone whom you know works for a media organization advocating media freedom and RESPONSIBILITY? An organization you know that promotes ETHICAL practice in the press? Sure, let's dine out sometime. Probably in the next decade.

Hmm, I wonder. With elections just four months away, how many journalists are again on the payroll of candidates? How many journalists are again moonlighting for the people desperate to win posts in the upcoming elections? Will we ever know these rotten tomatoes of the profession come election time, when media corruption seems to be at its highest level?

Ureta case to be solved soon?

From Freedom Watch:

Case against suspected killers of journalist reopened

A resolution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on 16 January 2007 ordered the reopening of the murder case against the suspected killers of radio broadcaster Rolando Ureta, who was killed on 3 January 2001 in Aklan, a province south of Manila.

The defendants’ alibis were insufficient, said the DOJ in reversing the 6 December 2004 dismissal of the murder case against them. It directed the Aklan provincial prosecutor to file the appropriate charges against Amador Paz and Jessie Ticar.

Read more here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Watch a film and help Sir Nick

Got this text from Bayan Muna's Tonyo last night:

"Prof. Nick Atienza is still at PGH. Help us raise funds for him by watching film classic Moral, January 25 (10 am/1 pm/3 pm) at the UP Film Center. Tribute program (for Sir Nick) at 5 pm. Please pass."

Directed by Marilou Diaz Abaya and screenplay by Ricky Lee (I still have his Trip to Quiapo book -- fantastic read), Moral was just one of the most notable films produced in the country between the 1970s to early 1980s, touted as the Second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines, which keeps an archive of the best Filipino classics, describes Moral as thus: "The film traces the lives of four women from 1972 to 1982. What happens to these four women as they try to make connections with one another and eventually with their real selves constitutes the core of the film." The film stars Gina Alajar, Sandy Andolong, Anna Marin, Rio Locsin.

Kodak time

Working at the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) may prove to be nerve-wracking (I'm in our house in the middle of writing a story for PJR Reports -- at 3:42 am Monday morning -- while I am blogging this) but I sure enjoy the wacky moments with my colleagues (Venus, Don, Jose, and Junette) there.

(Jose, Venus, me with the I-just-worked-overnight-at-the-office-so-I-don't-give-a-damn-about-my-hair look, Junette, and Don, whom Venus said has to digitally manipulate a part of his body in the photos -- I wonder what it is)

These were taken just last week. These just show that despite our constant monitoring of news, media issues, journalist threats and attacks, we can stop -- and pose for a photo or two.

In times like these, I can't help miss our former colleague and fellow camwhore Nathan, who had left CMFR last December to pursue his own dreams. Good night and good luck, Tantoy.

(With Jose and Nathan mastering our poses for the upcoming May elections)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Bakekang, the US version

Newsbreak contributor, Ralph Bartholomew, writes about the success of Ugly Betty (or more known as Betty La Fea here in the local shores) in the United States. His article, which appeared in the magazine's recent January issue, also noted the success of telenovelas (chinovelas, koreanovelas, teleserye, fantaserye, among others) here in the Philippines.

"Here in the Philippines, as well as in South and Central American nations, Taiwan and Korea, where telenovelas have thrived for years, the idea of a pioneering teleserye may sound like an oxymoron," Bartholomew wrote. "Ever since 1996, when the Mexican import Marimar, which debuted on RPN-9, dominated ratings and made the actress Thalia a household name, foreign and local telenovelas have been staple of Philippine prime-time television."

Read the story here.

In case you do not know, Bakekang is the name of a hit soap opera in local network GMA-7 about an aesthetically-challenged woman who succeeds despite the difficulties and discrimination she encounters in life.

Personally, I am not much of a fan of these soap operas. Give me Bakokang instead.

Get well soon, beloved hero

To those who are anxiously waiting for news about the status of Sir Nick's condition, Sir Luis told me a few days ago that he is still at the the Philippine General Hospital, although no longer confined at the hospital's Central Intensive Care Unit. Sir Nick, may you get well soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Arroyo: Venting her ire on the press?

From Freedom Watch:

Did Arroyo order the closure of two ABC-5 shows and Newsbreak?

Did the government order the closure of two critical public affairs shows on ABC-5 and the hard-hitting Newsbreak magazine?

TV Patrol World, the primetime newscast of ABS-CBN, reported yesterday that the two current affairs shows on ABC 5, Frontlines and Metro, were "taken off the air after the television network's owner was implicated in the attempted coup d'etat last year."

"The ABC 5 staff was surprised to learn that network boss Antonio 'Tonyboy' Cojuangco had ordered the cancellation of 'Dokyu' and 'Frontlines,' programs known for their sometimes hard-hitting comments against the administration," reported. The report said that justice secretary Raul Gonzalez denied that the government had influenced Cojuangco's decision.

Read more here. The post also carried links of the story on the issue, the editor's note of Marites Vitug (Newsbreak editor in chief) explaining their reason for stopping the print edition of the magazine, and the ABC-5 official statement as posted in the blog of network senior reporter Jove Francisco.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Constantino sues Agustin; Inquirer claims Agustin's column title and logo copyrighted

Political activist Renato Constantino Jr. sues former Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Victor Agustin for "grave slander by deed and maltreatment by deed" after that controversial water-dousing incident in a media conference last December 9.

Click here for more details, including the Inquirer's claim that Agustin, who now writes for Manila Standard Today, shouldn't be using his old column name "Cocktales" and the column's "cocktail glasses" illustration in his new paper. We copyrighted those, says the Inquirer's publisher, Isagani Yambot.

Are we seeing the end of the free Thai media?

Is this a signal that we are going to see the end of the free Thai media with the current military junta in place?

Pointing readers to a post made by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance on the issue, here's Freedom Watch, the institutional blog of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility:

Thai junta blocks Thaksin interview

Thailand’s military leaders on 15 January moved to block CNN broadcasts of the cable network’s exclusive interview with deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, less than a week after warning the Thai press about giving the ousted leader such access to the media. Thai papers are reporting that the Council for National Security (CNS), as Thailand’s ruling military council is known, had asked for the “cooperation” of UBCTV, Thailand’s leading cable service provider, to pull the interview everytime it gets play from CNN. As of 16 January, the 3-minute segment was still being replaced by still images with no news audio.

Click here for more. Visit also the blog of the Bangkok-based SEAPA for more details. Freedom Watch also carries the transcript of the controversial interview.

Also got this Youtube video of the interview from Freedom Watch:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Constantino to file suit vs. Agustin

From a reliable source, I was informed that Renato Constantino Jr. will be filing a case against Victor Agustin today, at the Makati Hall of Justice, 2:00 PM.

As to the nature of the case or the damages RC will ask, I still do not know. I hope ANC will be covering this today.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Don't you dare die on us, Ely!

Writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a proud Thomasian appeals to Ely Buendia: Don't you dare die on us, Ely!

Don't you dare die on us, Ely Buendia

Whatever you do, Mr. Ely Buendia, don’t die on us.

You are a music icon who is as rare as they come. You are a vacant cab with an accommodating driver during the holidays. You are a cop who’s actually out to protect the citizenry. You are an honest politician. You are a film fest movie deserving of an award. You are a critically-acclaimed Cueshe hit.

I am a loyal Thomasian; you are the only reason I regret not having studied at the University of the Philippines.

If you go, what does that leave us with? A handful of artistic bands under the radar and Orange and Lemons. We scrounge the city for bars where one plays, and puke when the other’s songs go on air.

Read more here.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Wanted: New talents for TV news and public affairs

Nestor Torre of the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote in his Jan. 10 column:

New TV public affairs and news talents needed

IF we had our druthers, our TV networks’ wish list for 2007 should include a renewed search for new TV news and public affairs on-camera personnel.

Truth to tell, quite a number of their current talents are long in the tooth. Worse, some of them are taking their work for granted and appear to just be coasting along, more concerned about how they look than what they’re thinking and saying.

Worst of all, some news and public affairs talents have had their objectivity compromised by playing footsies with politicians and other power brokers, so viewers in the know no longer give the shows they host much credence.

Read more here.

Mr. Torre also reported about a recent study made by AGB Nielsen Media Research Philippines
which showed that families in the Luzon region watch TV for 7.5 hours per day, Mindanao homes watch for 7.3 hours daily and Visayas households view TV for around 6.7 hours per day.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Defending press freedom and democracy

In reaction to the counterclaim filed by presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo last January 9 against the class suit lodged by journalists against him last month, the journalists involved in the lawsuit came out with a statement today.

Journalists insist press freedom is the issue; shrug off FG's motion to dismiss class suit
Source: Freedom Watch

“Our suit is meant to defend press freedom and democracy. Mr. Arroyo’s motion to dismiss is focused on technicalities and based on a wrong interpretation of the rules."

THE JOURNALISTS suing First Gentleman Mike Arroyo for abuse of right and for violating their right to the free exercise of their profession shrugged off Mr. Arroyo's Motion to Dismiss their complaint, and maintained that their suit is meant to defend press freedom and democracy against Mr. Arroyo’s efforts to undermine both.

Read more here.

Spongecola should be charged with murder

Maybe because it is the beginning of the year, but I am so busy these days (primarily because of January 2007 issue of the PJR Reports and updating the site of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility or CMFR) that I was unable to post something new here for the last few days. (Oops, that reminds me: Sorry for the delay in the uploading of the December 2006 issue of the magazine. For those who haven't received or bought a copy of the December issue of the PJR Reports, wait for the online edition -- the issue was a great one, I'll guarantee you that.)

My head is full of serious issues these days -- heck, even during the Christmas break we were so busy with the action suit filed by journalists and media organizations against presidential spouse Mike Arroyo. As you might have known, CMFR is a petitioner to the suit. From the looks of it, 2007 is going to be a busier year for the press. Which means including us. Sigh.

But before I go back to my regular posts on media issues and while I am doing my stories and monitors for the January issue, let me share you something hideous, a travesty If I may claim, to the OPM music industry.

Personally, I do not like this current trend of bands churning out covers of yesteryear's hit songs one after the other (and please, let us rest the case of the pogi-rock bands -- I'm just praying that this fad will fade away for the rest of my lifetime). If there are three babies born every minute in this country, it's like bands are coming out with a new revival every five minutes. I'm exaggerating of course, but band revivals are everywhere -- in the music channels, TV programs, radio stations, in almost every corner of the streets, heck even in this blog. Thanks (or is it no thanks?) to the wildly successful album Kami nAPO Muna - Tribute to APO Hiking Society, now every band in town -- either a new or a top band today -- wants to join the bandwagon.

Of course, this current trend -- of giving new versions to old reliable hit songs -- goes a long way back (The more current ones include mainstream pop/acoustic artists like Regine Valesquez, Paolo Santos, Nina, etcetera etcetera). So, it seems like this fad among bands is going to stay a little longer.

That's fine with me. But if you're in a band who is doing or plans to do revivals, please, please, please: Do not MURDER the song. Do a revival, but please make sure that when you do, you're giving justice to the song. Do not just give your fans crappy covers, hoping that they will not mind the injustice you did to the songs, and that your album will reach double-platinum status just by banking on your band and cover songs' popularity.

Okay, let me make this straight first: I like Spongecola, especially when they came out with the hit songs Lunes, Jeepney, and Gemini. Quite good melodies, I say. The lyrics, great. Compared them with what, the allegedly braggart and the country's previous top band (are they now officially a has-been band?) Hale or that cheating Orange and Lemons crew? Or worse, the overrated and ultimate pa-cute band Cueshe? God, I'll pick Spongecola anytime.

But this is simply hideous. This is an act of murder. APO Hiking Society should sue the band for giving injustice to the song.

Just what happened to you, Spongecola?

Sugarfree also did an APO Hiking Society cover, but it was simply amazing. APO Hiking Society can no longer claim this is their song. It's now Sugarfree's.

And since we're talking about Filipino bands, here's wishing for the full recovery of former Eraserheads frontman Ely Buendia. Sigh. If Eheads were still here, they'd be rocking the town with their music, showing their wannabe successors what music is all about.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sir Nick needs our help

Got this letter from Julie just now. One of our consulting editors at the PJR Reports, Luis Teodoro, told me about the sad case of UP Prof. Monico Atienza last January 3.

I may have been Prof. Atienza's student for just one semester (PI 100 or Philippine Institutions), but I remembered how great a teacher he is. He may appear too intense and passionate for some, but one thing is sure: He loves the Philippines deeply. With people like Sir Nick, hope flickers for this country.

Let us help Sir Nick, along with our hope to see a better Philippines.

Dear Friends,

We are writing you on behalf of Prof. Monico M. Atienza, who has been comatose since December 23, 2006. An undetected mass in his throat gradually blocked air passage, which
finally led to successive heart seizures.

Monico is the president of the First Quarter Storm (FQS) Movement, an organization of activists in the 1960s and 1970s. In various ways, he has continuously helped and inspired activists of people’s organizations and institutions, especially the youth and students.

As a political prisoner during martial law, Monico was heavily tortured and held in solitary confinement. Government intelligence claimed that he was a ranking member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines and head of its National Organization Department when he was arrested in 1974. Released in 1977, he went back to the university.

As secretary-general of the militant Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth) in the late 1960s, he was among the indefatigable architects of the youth and student activism that eventually
expanded to help establish today’s formidable progressive mass movement in the Philippines.

In 1987, he survived an assassination attempt by a death squad of the Philippine military which claimed the lives of two colleagues. Monico’s health, already deteriorated by the torture in 1974, all the more worsened with the injuries he sustained in the incident. A shrapnel remains embedded in his head and a leg wound would not heal to this day.

Now confined at the Central Intensive Care Unit of the Philippine General Hospital, Monico is kept alive by a life support system. His condition remains critically stable.

Monico has no source of income other than his teaching at the university. The meager health benefits available to him are not enough to sustain the cost of hospitalization and probable

Let us all help a great comrade, mentor and friend.

Donations may be personally given to Bernardita “Didith” V. de Guzman of the
First Quarter Storm Movement or deposited to:

Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands

Address: Diliman Branch, Quezon
City, Philippines

Account Name: Alberto S. Aguilar

Savings Account Number: 4259-0220-91

Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

For Task Force Monico M. Atienza,


Bonifacio P. Ilagan

Chair, First Quarter Storm Movement

From what I heard around, UP won't let him take a leave in his teaching post because he had used up all his leave requests. But granted that it is, but, ano ba naman UP. Do you want to lose one of your best teachers just because of this? The UP I know is not just intelligent, but also rational-minded and compassionate.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Read and Learn

Just read Caloy Conde's post pointing at David Carr's story on how US papers have lost their value by as much as 20 percent in the last two years. I couldn't agree more with Caloy's observation that Filipino newspaper owners and editors can learn much from the experience of their First World counterparts.

David Carr's story and Caloy's post reminded me of my earlier plan to subscribe to some RSS feeds of US-based media writers. Thankfully, has a list of US-based media writers and columnists, as well as media ombudsmen and reader representatives. Here in Manila, among the Manila-based newspapers, it is only the Philippine Daily Inquirer that has an ombudsman (veteran journalist Lorna Tirol, who was also a former editor of the PJR Reports). Bravo, Inquirer.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know, community papers in the country neither have ombudsmen or nor reader representatives.

Here's the list of media writers and ombudsmen in the United States as provided by And yes, I already subscribed to some of them. Read them, and learn.

David Carr
New York Times

Dante Chinni
The Christian Science Monitor

Eric Deggans
St. Petersburg Times

David Folkenflik

Jon Friedman

Mark Glaser

Peter Johnson
USA Today

Steve Johnson
Chicago Tribune

Dan Kennedy
Media Nation

Howard Kurtz
Washington Post

Mike Miner
Chicago Reader

Jesse Noyes
Boston Herald

William Powers
National Journal

James Rainey
Los Angeles Times

Adam Reilly
Boston Phoenix

Rem Rieder
American Journalism Review

Jay Rosen

Phil Rosenthal
Chicago Tribune

Tim Rutten
Los Angeles Times

Tom Scocca
New York Observer

Katharine Q.Seelye
New York Times

Jack Shafer

Joe Strupp
Editor & Publisher

Ed Bark
Dallas Morning News

Aaron Barnhart
Kansas City Star

David Bauder
Associated Press

Robert Bianco
USA Today

Hal Boedeker
Orlando Sentinel

Matea Gold
LA Times

Tim Goodman
San Francisco Chronicle

Bob Laurence
San Diego Union Tribune

Lisa de Moraes
Washington Post

J. Max Robins
Broadcasting & Cable

Gail Shister
Philadelphia Inquirer

Gay Verne

Joanna Weiss
Boston Globe

David Zurawik
Baltimore Sun

Byron Calame
New York Times

Wayne Ezell
The Florida Times-Union

Michael Getler

David House
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Deborah Howell
Washington Post

Karen Hunter
Hartford Courant

Debbie Kornmiller
Arizona Daily Star

Marvin Lake
The Virginian-Pilot

Gina Lubrano
San Diego Union-Tribune

Pam Platt
The Louisville Courier-Journal

Ted Vaden
Raleigh News & Observer

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Introducing: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Truthiness? Lincolnish? And to think I still have to know the meaning of the word pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Heck, I can't even pronounce it.

According to, here are the Words of the Year 2006, from three categories:

- The top voted-on words for 2006 (196,848 total votes)
- The top 10 looked-up words on for 2006
- The top 10 looked-up new words on for 2006 (words only found in Webster's New Millennium™ Dictionary of English)

Top Voted-on WordsTop 10
Looked-up Words
Top 10 Looked-up
New Words
truthiness *lovesequitur
lincolnish *affectfigurative language
Wikiality *effectmetrosexual
it-getter *goodin lieu
grinchitude *beautifulconversate
factinista *metaphorverbal irony
superstantial *integrityimpactful
loveexperiencebarista, barrista
sexironyprimary source







* too new to be in "the dictionary"

Will 2007 be a better year for the press?

According to the Reporters Sans Frontieres, 2006 was the worst year for the press in more than a decade. Not surprisingly, the Philippines was again cited as among the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. Will this year be just like 2006 for the press?

Press Freedom in 2006

81 journalists killed - the deadliest year since 1994
56 kidnapped, mostly in Iraq and the Gaza Strip

In 2006
- 81 journalists and 32 media assistants were killed
- at least 871 were arrested
- 1,472 physically attacked or threatened
- 56 kidnapped
- and 912 media outlets censored

In 2005:

- 63 journalists and 5 media assistants were killed
- at least 807 were arrested
- 1,308 physically attacked or threatened
- and 1,006 media outlets censored

The deadliest year since 1994

At least 81 journalists were killed in 2006 in 21 countries while doing their job or for expressing their opinion, the highest annual toll since 1994, when 103 died (half of them in the Rwanda genocide, about 20 in the Algerian civil war and a dozen in former Yugoslavia). 32 media assistants (fixers, drivers, translators, technicians, security staff) were also killed 2006 (only five in 2005).

Iraq was the world's most dangerous country for the media for the fourth year running, with 64 journalists and media assistants killed. Since fighting began in 2003, 139 journalists have been killed there, more than twice the number in the 20-year Vietnam War (63 killed between 1955 and 1975). About 90% of the victims were Iraqis. Investigations were very rare and none were completed.

Unlike other organisations, Reporters Without Borders includes journalists in its death count only when it is certain that their deaths are linked to their work as journalists. Dozens of other cases have not been included because investigators have not yet determined the motives or because it is clear that they were not related to the issue of press freedom.

The second most dangerous country was Mexico, which also moved ahead of Colombia as Latin America's deadliest place for the media. Nine journalists were killed there in 2006 because they were investigating drug trafficking or reporting on violent social unrest. US cameraman Brad Will was shot dead in late October in turbulent Oaxaca state, where strikes often degenerated into armed clashes, and other journalists were injured there.

The body of journalist Enrique Pera Quintanilla, editor of the monthly Dos Caras, una verdad, was found by a roadside in the northern state of Chihuahua in August. The paper specialised in reporting on unsolved murders and drug trafficking.

The situation in The Philippines was grim too, with six journalists killed (compared with seven in 2005). Fernando Batul, a commentator with the radio station dyPR, was shot dead in late May as he was going to work on Palawan Island, southwest of Manila. The authorities said he was killed because he had criticised a brutal policeman, who was subsequently arrested and will shortly be tried. The March 2005 killers of anti-corruption columnist Marlene Esperat were jailed for life. But those punished were only triggermen and those who ordered the killings are still walking free. However, in a country where impunity is the rule, the trial and sentences were a good precedent.

Three journalists were killed in Russia, making 21 since President Vladimir Putin came to power in March 2000. The murder in October of reporter Anna Politkovskaya, of the weekly Novaya Gazeta and a Chechnya expert, was a reminder that even the best-known journalists with major international support do not escape such deadly violence. Pressed by democratic countries to find and punish the culprits, the government has assigned a team of 150 detectives to the case.

Press freedom shrank further in neighbouring Turkmenistan, with the crackdown on independent media reaching a peak in September when the family of Radio Free Europe correspondent Ogulsapar Muradova announced she had died in prison, three months after being jailed. Despite repeated demands by the European Union, the authorities did not investigate her death.

In Lebanon, a photographer and a TV technician were killed by Israeli bombing during the war with Israel. A dozen journalists were injured or wounded during the fighting in the summer.

Violent election clashes
Over 1,400 physical attacks or threats were recorded by Reporters Without Borders in 2006, which was another record. Many of them were during election campaigns in various countries.

Attacks on journalists in Bangladesh, already routine, became daily at the end of the year, a few weeks before key parliamentary elections, and were carried out by security forces and political party supporters.

A dozen countries in the Americas held important national elections during the year. Reporters Without Borders had registered more than a dozen physical attacks on journalists and another dozen threats to them in Peru by early March, a month before presidential elections,. In Brazil, a daily paper's offices were ransacked on election day by supporters of a local politician in the southern town of Marilia.

Supporters of the two main presidential candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo - outgoing President Joseph Kabila and his rival Jean-Pierre Bemba - regularly attacked journalists they accused of sympathising with the "enemy camp." A visiting foreign reporter was deported in both Uganda and Ethiopia at election time.

Belarus cracked down on journalists and regime opponents a few days after President Alexander Lukashenko's reelection in March, and a dozen local and foreign reporters were physically attacked, including Olga Ulevich, Russian correspondent of the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, whose nose was broken when plainclothes police beat her up.

Censorship and arrests still very common
Cases of censorship were slightly down - 912 against 1,006 in 2005, when Nepal had the worst record. The ceasefire there in mid-2006 gave the media a break, with the release of imprisoned journalists and many local radio stations able to freely broadcast again.

Thailand recorded the most cases of censorship. After a military coup in September, more than 300 community radio stations were shut down along with several Internet websites. Things returned to normal after a few weeks.

It was impossible to get exact information on censorship in China, Burma and North Korea, countries where blanket measures were taken against the media, affecting dozens and even hundreds of outlets at the same time.

The Internet was tightly controlled in some countries. Reporters Without Borders issued a list in November of 13 "enemies of the Internet" (Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam).

Bloggers and cyber-dissidents in these countries were regularly thrown into prison for expressing their opinions online. Websites were closed down, made inaccessible or filtered and discussion forums had especially critical messages deleted.

About 30 bloggers were arrested during the year and held for several weeks, notably in China, Iran and Syria. Egypt appeared for the first time on the "enemies of the Internet" list for its growing crackdown on bloggers who criticised Islam or President Hosni Mubarak.

At least 871 media workers were detained around the world in 2006, some for just a few hours and others sentenced to many years in prison.

The jailing in China of Zhao Yan (for three years) and Ching Cheong (for five), both of them working for foreign media, drew strong international protests. The appeals against their sentences were not even heard by a court, depriving them of a chance to defend themselves.

The death of Turkmenistan's "President-for-Life" Separmurad Nyazov in December could end the repression of journalists and human rights activists. Two of them, Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiev, were given prison sentences of six and seven years in June for helping a foreign journalist doing a report on the country.

Burma's famous journalist and pro-democracy activist, Win Tin, began his 18th year in prison. He was awarded the 2006 Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France prize for his fight for freedom of expression.

An extra worry: journalists being kidnapped
For the first time, Reporters Without Borders recorded in detail the number of journalists kidnapped around the world.

At least 56 were kidnapped in 2006 in a dozen countries. The two riskiest places were Iraq, where 17 were seized, and the Gaza Strip, where six were kidnapped. All those seized in the Palestinian Territories were freed, but six in Iraq were executed by their captors.

Reporters Without Borders met Iraqi President Jalal Talabani at the end of the year and urged him to put a stop to such incidents. A mission also went to Gaza to ask Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and leaders of the main Palestinian factions to see that their supporters and the general population did not interfere with media workers.
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