Friday, March 23, 2007

How do candidates plan to solve the journalist killings and other press attacks?

I was just checking the people who found and visited my blog after searching items in search engines like Google. One came to my blog after typing the keyword items "Philippines the most dangerous place for journalists next to Iraq." Press attacks in the country that once boasted as having the freest media in Asia continue -- and seem to worsen -- this year, when we are holding national elections. I think the press covering this year's elections should also ask the candidates questions like: Who should be held responsible for the unabated extrajudicial killings and media attacks? How do you plan to solve the killings and other press freedom violations?

For more news about journalist killings and other attacks against and threats to press freedom in the Philippines, check out Freedom Watch, the institutional blog of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). Soon, CMFR will put all its reports on these threats and attacks under one "Alerts" section in the CMFR website.

Among the recent posts in Freedom Watch

Solon prevented from speaking to the media

Members of the press were prevented from interviewing detained Bayan Muna (Nation First) Representative Satur Ocampo by his police custodians, who claimed that media interviews would be risky for Ocampo, reported on 21 March 2007. Ocampo and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) have protested the ban.

The 67-year old solon was arrested on 16 March 2007 and is presently detained at the Manila Police District (MPD) Headquarters. Ocampo, who was a business reporter for seven years in the 1960s for a national daily, was ordered arrested by a court in Hilongos, Leyte for his alleged involvement in the purge of communist rebels in 1984-85 in that province. Leyte is in the Eastern Visayas group of islands south of Manila.

Ocampo has steadfastly declared his innocence and accused the Arroyo government of concocting the charges to prevent him from campaigning for the May 10 mid-term elections.

“I am protesting this ban by my custodians against media interviews. I should not be prevented from speaking,” Ocampo was quoted in the Inquirer report.

The NUJP described the ban as “high-handed and arbitrary.”

NUJP said “reporters do not pose any security threat for Ocampo and there is no link between the lawmaker's exercise to free speech with dangers to his person.”

Read here for more.

Newspaper editors and publisher post bail for libel

The publisher, along with seven editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of the Philippines’ major dailies, was detained for an hour at a Manila Police Station on 20 March 2007 after posting a libel bond of P50,000 (approx. $1,000). A Manila court issued had issued warrants for their arrest over a P22 million ($440,000) libel charge by Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, husband of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Libel is a criminal offense in the Philippines.

Publisher Isagani Yambot, editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, managing editor Jose Ma. Nolasco, associate editor Abelardo Ulanday, associate editor for readership Rosario Garcellano, news editor Artemio Engracia Jr., opinion editor Jorge Aruta, national editor Pergentino Bandayrel Jr., senior desk editor Juan Sarmiento Jr., and columnist Ramon Tulfo were ordered arrested by Judge Virgilio Alameda of Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 10 after he found “probable cause” in the libel complaint of Arroyo.

The Inquirer reported that Magsanoc was not able to post bail because she was sick. Tulfo, meanwhile told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) that he will post bail for the Inquirer case along with the staff of Bandera, a tabloid in Filipino where Tulfo’s column appears in translation. Arroyo has also sued the publisher, editor-in-chief, associate editor, and circulation manager of Bandera along with Tulfo.

Read here for more.

1 comment:

luthien said...

i abhor that man. if i come face-to-face with him, ingungudngod ko mukha nya sa lupa. as if libel sprees can make inquirer less feisty or critical.

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