Attacks, threats vs journalists
LATEST UPDATE: October 7, 2019 - 1:02pm
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October 7, 2019

Sotero Jacolbe, Jr., one of the accused in the July 10 murder of Kidapawan City radio commentator Eduardo "Ed" Dizon, has surrendered to authorities a week after Judge Henelinda Molina-Diaz of Regional Trial Court Branch 61 issued a warrant for his arrest.

Jacolbe is one of three suspects in the case, two of whom the court has ordered arrested. 

The other suspect wanted by the court, Junell Gerozaga, is at large.

Dizon was critical of the controversial KAPA investment scheme that President Rodrigo Duterte shut for alleged violation of regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Anti-Money Laundering Council.  

READ: Too good to be true: Why the government is shutting KAPA down

The warrant for their arrest was released about three weeks after acting city prosecutor Mariam April Mastura-Linsangan charged Jacolbe, Gerozaga and Bong Encarnacion, whose real name is Dante Tabusates, with murder in connection with the fatal ambush of Dizon. — The STAR/John Unson

September 27, 2019

Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, Armed Forces chief of staff, should focus on defending Philippine sovereignty instead of telling journalists how to do their jobs, Altermidya-People's Alternative Media Network says in response to the general's statement that media should not show alleged bias towards communist rebels.

Clement, has been quoted as saying journalists should "just be factual and do not give biases" when asked about some journalists being tagged as rebel leaders or supporters. 

"Kasi minsan ang nangyayari kasi naha-highlight yung alleged violations na ginagawa ng security forces vis-a-vis doon sa ginagawa ng other threat groups," Clement is quoted as saying.

(Because sometimes the alleged violations by security forces are highlighted in relation to those done by other threat groups)

"It is not in Clement’s job description to tell us to rid our reports of biases because, in the first place, we believe that good journalism is biased for truth and relevance," Luis Teodoro, a journalism professor and national chairperson of Altermidya, says.

"Speaking of truth, it is not even true that Filipino journalists in general purposefully highlight rights violations by the AFP. It just happens that violations are indeed perpetrated by them, even among themselves, as in the case of the hapless PMA cadets mercilessly subjected to hazing," Teodoro adds.

"Lastly, Clement may do well to disabuse soldiers of the thought that red-baiting is an effective way of endearing the military to media workers. It is exactly the opposite."

September 10, 2019

Vice President Leni Robredo's spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez, says they condemn the recent attack on the printing press of tabloid newspapers Abante and Abante Tonite.

"This brazen assault on our free press cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged. A free press is essential in a free nation, and this attempt to intimidate and silence Abante, the leading Filipino language publication in our country, must be resisted by all freedom-loving Filipinos," Guiterrez says.

"We call on the authorities to act swiftly on this matter and bring the perpetrators to justice. In the meantime, we send this message to all those who seek to curtail our freedoms through threats and violence: We will not be cowed. We will stand together and defend our freedom," he adds. 

August 7, 2019

The shooting of human rights worker Brandon Lee in front of his house in Lagawe, Ifugao is not related to his work as a correspondent for weekly newspaper Northern Dispatch, Ifugao police tell the Presidential Task Force for Media Security.

Maj. Ernesto Bekesanin, Lagawe police chief, says in a telephone interview that they have limited information on Lee, except that they came to know of his involvement in the non-government Ifugao Peasant Movement.

Police had no information on his being a contributor to Northern Dispatch.

"He is still a journalist who was shot," Kim Quitasol, chairperson of the Baguio-Benguet chapter of the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines and Lee's colleague at Northern Dispatch says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 2, 2019

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirms Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea filed a libel complaint against columnist Ramon Tulfo, who is also special envoy for public diplomacy to China.

The complaint was filed at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Manila "about three weeks ago."

Press freedom groups have been campaigning to decriminalize libel.

August 1, 2019

Kidapawan City police have filed charges against three suspects, two of them broadcasters, for the July 10 murder of radio commentator Eduardo Dizon.

Dizon was killed in an ambush by men on motorcycles while on his way home after his radio program in a Brigada FM station in the city.

Local reporters, among them friends of the two radiomen, were implicated in the murder.

 The spokesman of the North Cotabato provincial police, Lt. Col. Bernard Tayong, confirms charges have been filed but declines to name the suspects. — The STAR/John Unson

July 12, 2019

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered the creation of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the killing of radio commentator Eduardo "Ed" Dizon, he says in a message to reporters.

Dizon was shot in his car in Makilala, North Cotabato on Wednesday night after hosting his program on a Kidapawan City radio station.

He says the teams are led by prosecutors who assist in building cases and who coordinate with local law enforcement, including the National Bureau of Investigation.

"We have formed similar SITs in [extrajudicial killing] cases against human rights advocates, labor advocates, etc. and these investigations are rolling," he also says.

"For media killings, the Presidential Task Force [on Media Security] has an executive director, Joel Egco, who supervises all investigations directly.

July 8, 2019

The Cagayan de Oro chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns Monday the posting of paraphernalia tagging it, the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers and others as being "front" groups for communist rebels.

NUJP-Cagayan de Oro says the posters, which were put up on the fence of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente church in Barangay Agusan on Sunday, were "clearly meant to intimidate and silence a critical press."

"Perhaps the people behind this dastardly act need reminding that a free press is guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution. Perhaps the people behind this despicable act need reminding that journalists are not enemies of the state. Perhaps the people behind these lies forget that journalists are just truth-tellers whose job serves the public interest," the group also says.

"The NUJP is not a ‘front’ for any organization. But it shall and will also not stand idly by while the truth is under persistent attack; it shall and will not cower while the freedom of the press and the people’s right to truthful, accurate, and relevant information is under assault," the statement signed by chapter chairperson Pamela Jay Orias and JB Deveza of the NUJP Western Mindanao Safety Office, also says.

July 4, 2019

A gunman driving a red pickup truck opened fire at DXES, a Bombo Radyo station in General Santos City, on the night of Wednesday, July 3, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reports in an alert.

While windows were shattered by the firing, no one was hurt in the attack.

Bombo Radyo GenSan station manager Jonathan Macailing said the incident might be connected with the station's constant reporting on the Kapa Community Ministry International, a religious organization accused of proliferating a financial scam among its members.

May 27, 2019

The Cagayan de Oro chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reports a streamer tagging NUJP and other organizations as terrorists was hung by a monument to press freedom at the provincial capitol grounds in Cagayan de Oro City.

NUJP-Cagayan de Oro says members of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club found the streamer when they went to the monument to mark the 37th Press Freedom Week.

Also labeled as terrorists in the streamer were: 

  • The Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM)
  • National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL)
  • Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)
  • League of Filipino Students (LFS)
  • College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP)
  • Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP)
  • and the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE)

"We condemn the red-tagging of the NUJP," Uriel Quilinguing, a former president of the COPC as well as a former chairman of NUJP-Cagayan de Oro, says in an alert by NUJP.

"A critical press serves the public interest and should therefore not be subjected to attacks," Pamela Jay Oria, chair of the NUJP-Cagayan de Oro chapter, says.

No group has claimed responsibility for the streamer but NUJP was accused in February by a group called “Kilusan at Alyansa ng mga Dating Rebelde (KADRE)” of being a front organization of the New People's Army.

Members of the Cagayan de Oro press have also previously been "red-tagged" or labelled as communist rebels.

March 18, 2019

A radio station manager in Gumaca, Quezon has alleged that she is being harassed by Erwin Caralian, the town's mayor.

According to an alert from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Radyo Natin Gumaca station manager Mitch Hernando took to social media over the weekend to denounce the alleged harassment.

NUJP says Hernando "was terrified and felt like a criminal, and her parents were stressed, when a big group composed of firetruck, representatives from the Business Permit and Licensing Office, Treasury, National Telecommunications Commission, barangay, along with men in plainclothes rushed up to the station office in the third floor of her residence."

She was reportedly told by the NTC representative that it was a normal inspection and that the station's papers were in order.

Hernando says she and the mayor have "long-standing personal differences" and that the suprise inspection may have been triggered by her stories that aired over GMA 7, Radyo Natin Gumaca, and other news outlets.

She says that her radio show "Dear Heart" is focused on "affairs of the heart" and on breaking or top-of-the-hour news. Because of the nature of the show, she says there is no way for her to editorialize or to comment on political issues.

February 19, 2019

Lawyer Harry Roque, former spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte, has renewed the call to decriminalize libel.

"In light of recent discussions on press freedom, it seems like we have an opportune moment to have yet another conversation about decriminalizing libel," Roque, a human rights lawyer before joining government, says.

"I call upon the Philippine government to defend freedom of expression and repeal our criminal libel laws. Draconian libel laws that punish all controversial speech, that do not allow for truth as a defense, should be utterly intolerable to us all at this point," he says.

"It is with great hope that I urge this administration to file a bill that will repeal our criminal libel laws to protect not only the profession of journalism, but also the free speech of every Filipino citizen. People should only worry about being answered when they make public statements, not worry about whether they'll be getting jail time."

February 9, 2019

President Donald Trump appears prepared to ignore the US Congress's deadline to determine who ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi amid new revelations that Saudi Arabia's crown prince spoke of going after the journalist "with a bullet."

With pressure mounting in Washington and Riyadh, the US president theoretically had until the end of the day to designate those responsible for the murder of the Washington Post columnist, who was strangled and dismembered by Saudi agents in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2. — AFP

February 1, 2019

Alternative news site Bulatlat has been subject to violent cyberattacks since January 19, Qurium media foundation, which is hosting the website on its secure hosting infrastructure.

Qurium says Virtualroad is "a non-profit hosting provider specialized in defending independent media and human rights against digital attacks."

It says "[Bulatlat] has been down for several days due to the attacks. In one of them, the attackers used nearly 2,000 computers to saturate the website and make it unreachable. In another attack, they sent 3 million packets per second of bogus traffic."

Qurium notes that the site "was also attacked in December 2018, and that was not the first aggression against the media outlet."

January 11, 2019

US lawmakers from both parties, friends of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and press freedom groups mark 100 days since the Saudi dissident's assassination.

Featuring a portrait of Khashoggi against a back drop of American flags, the ceremony began with a moment of silence. — AFP

December 19, 2018

Journalists faced growing dangers of being targeted for killing for their work in 2018 even as the risks from war and conflict declined, a media watchdog says.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says 34 of the 53 journalists killed on duty this year around the world were "singled out for murder." — AFP

December 13, 2018

The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 251 journalists have been jailed around the world in 2018.

This number, CPJ says, "[suggests] the authoritarian approach to critical news coverage is more than a temporary spike. China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia imprisoned more journalists than last year, and Turkey remained the world’s worst jailer."

"The majority of those imprisoned globally—70 percent—are facing anti-state charges such as belonging to or aiding groups deemed by authorities as terrorist organizations," CPJ also says.

"The number imprisoned on charges of false news rose to 28 globally, compared with nine just two years ago. Egypt jailed the most journalists on false news charges with 19, followed by Cameroon with four, Rwanda with three, and one each in China and Morocco. The increase comes amid heightened global rhetoric about 'fake news,' of which US President Donald Trump is the leading voice."

December 8, 2018

A Myanmar court will hear the appeal later this month of two Reuters journalists jailed for their reporting on the Rohingya crisis, a lawyer said Saturday.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were found guilty under a state secrets act in September after exposing the extrajudicial killing of 10 Rohingya men during a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar's western Rakhine state last year.

The pair -- who have been held behind bars for nearly a year since their arrest last December -- were sentenced to seven years in jail, a verdict that drew widespread condemnation, including from US Vice President Mike Pence. — AFP

December 5, 2018

Turkey is seeking the arrest of two former aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who were dismissed amid the fallout from the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency says a court approved arrest warrants for former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and former deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, who are believed to have overseen the team that killed and dismembered Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October. Saudi authorities say the agents who killed Khashoggi exceeded their authority. — AP

November 23, 2018

Turkey says President Donald Trump intended to turn a "blind eye" to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder after he said Washington's ties with Riyadh would not be affected by the incident.

November 22, 2018

US President Donald Trump has doubled down on his partnership with Saudi Arabia, calling it an indispensable ally after a journalist's grisly murder, but critics say his position ignores Washington's enormous leverage over Riyadh. 

Trump gave Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a pass on Jamal Khashoggi's murder, glossing over the Central Intelligence Agency's reported conclusion that the kingdom's de facto ruler had authorised the killing. — AFP

November 21, 2018

President Donald Trump says a CIA report into the killing by Saudi agents of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi found "nothing definitive."

"The CIA looked at it," he tells journalists at the White House. "They have nothing definitive." — AFP

November 17, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence has vowed the US would hold the murderers of Jamal Khashoggi to account, following media reports that the CIA had concluded the Saudi Crown Prince was behind the journalist's killing.

"The United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder," Pence says on the sidelines of an APEC summit in Papua New Guinea. — AFP

November 10, 2018

The killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi poured his remains down the drain after dissolving him in acid, a Turkish newspaper reports.

Samples taken from the drains at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul showed traces of acid, pro-government daily Sabah said, without quoting sources.

This led investigators to believe the dead body of the insider-turned-critic of the Riyadh regime was disposed of through the drains as liquid, the paper says. — AFP

November 9, 2018

The fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has expressed "shock and sadness" over reports suggesting that his body may have been dissolved with chemicals. — AP

October 26, 2018

Turkish president says Saudi chief prosecutor will arrive in Turkey on Sunday for investigation of Khashoggi killing. — AP

October 24, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump says he will be briefed Wednesday afternoon by U.S. officials looking into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabian agents.

After tomorrow, Trump says, "We'll know pretty much everything there is to know."

He calls the killing of Khashoggi "a total fiasco" and says Saudi Arabia never should have thought about killing the dissident Washington Post contributor.

Trump says, "Once they thought about it, everything else they did was bad too."

Trump is repeating the denials by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he knew of the plot before it was carried out. — AP

October 20, 2018

Amnesty International says the "impartiality" of a Saudi investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi would remain in question after authorities in the kingdom said the journalist died after a fight in the consulate in Istanbul.

Amnesty's Rawya Rageh says early Saturday the rights group and other organizations have been very clear that what is needed is "an impartial and independent investigation by the U.N. to find out what happened and ensure justice" for Khashoggi.

She said rights groups have been concerned of a "whitewash" in the investigation.

Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Saudi authorities say a fight broke out in the consulate after which Khashoggi died. — AP

October 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump says that he found credible Saudi Arabia's assertion that dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi died as a result of a fight.

"I do, I do," Trump says when asked if the Saudis' explanation was credible, while adding: "It's early, we haven't finished our review or investigation." — AFP

October 19, 2018
President Donald Trump says he now believes journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead and warned of "very severe" consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible. - AFP
October 18, 2018
President Donald Trump says the U.S. is asking Turkey for audio and video relating to missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi "if it exists." The president on called Saudi Arabia an important ally, noting it is an important customer for U.S. military exports. Turkish officials have said Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudis' Istanbul consulate, which Saudi officials have denied. U.S. officials say they are taking Khashoggi's disappearance seriously, but Trump says he has not sent the FBI, stressing that he was not "American citizen." In an intervie, Trump warned against a rush to judgment, comparing condemnation of Saudi Arabia to the allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. — AP
October 18, 2018
The Washington Post has published a new column by Jamal Khashoggi in which he warns that governments in the Middle East "have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate." The Post published the column Wednesday, more than two weeks after Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say he was killed by Saudi agents. The Saudi government has denied it. Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah says she received the column from Khashoggi's assistant a day after he was reported missing. Khashoggi writes that actions like imprisoning journalists and seizing control of newspapers "no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community." He says, "Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation followed by silence." President Donald Trump has suggested that the global community has jumped to conclusions that Saudi Arabia is behind Khashoggi's disappearance. — AP
October 18, 2018
The Washington Post plans to publish a new column by missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in which he discusses the importance of a free press in the Middle East. The WashPost PR Blog says Khashoggi filed the column just before he disappeared. It will be published online Wednesday night in the U.S. Khashoggi was a Post Global Opinions contributor who had written opinion pieces critical of the Saudi crown prince. He was last seen Oct. 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork he needed to get married. Turkish officials have claimed Saudi agents killed and dismembered him. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations, but provided no evidence he left the consulate. The Post also plans to publish a page dedicated to Khashoggi in its opinions section Thursday.
September 22, 2018

 A newspaper in southern Mexico says one of its reporters was shot to death as he left his home to work on a story.

El Heraldo de Chiapas says journalist Mario Gomez was attacked by two men Friday in Yajalon, a town in a jungle area of Chiapas state near the border with Guatemala.

Gomez is at least the 10th news worker to be killed in Mexico this year. — AP   

September 20, 2018

Unidentified gunmen on motorcycles shot at the house of a Talisay City-based radio broadcaster on Wednesday night, the Bacolod chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reports.

In a statement, NUJP Bacolod says men on two motorcycles strafed the house of Muews Radio's Rey Siason in Carmela Valley Homes in Talisay City.

Siason was not in his home at the time as he had stopped along the way home to eat. His daughter, a minor, told him of the incident over the phone, NUJP-Bacolod says.

"We call on the authorities to swiftly investigate the incident and bring those responsible to justice," Marchel Espina, NUJP-Bacolod chair, says in the statement.

In February, Ranilo Azue, also with Muews Radio, was mauled outside the radio station by men believed to be associated with the government.

August 30, 2018

A Mexican television reporter was shot in the resort city of Cancun, the eighth journalist killed this year in a country notoriously dangerous for the media.

Javier Enrique Rodriguez Valladares worked as a cameraman and reporter for Canal 10.

The station says his family had confirmed his death.

News reports in Cancun say he was shot while walking with another man in the central part of the city. Local officials have not released any information about the case. — AFP

July 20, 2018

Broadcaster Joey Llana, 38, was shot dead by an unknown attacker in Daraga, Albay early Friday morning.

Llana, a blocktimer at Legaspi City's DWZR and known for his hard-hitting commentaries, was shot while he was on the way to work, the Bicol Standard reports.

June 30, 2018

Hundreds of people have gathered in the shadow of the Maryland State House for a candlelight march in memory of five slain newspaper employees.

The mood was somber as Capital Gazette reporter Phil Davis read aloud the names of his five slain co-workers before those gathers began marching through downtown Annapolis.

Some in the crowd carried signs and banners that said "#AnnapolisStrong."

Melissa Wilson and her husband, Benjamin Wilson, brought their children to the vigil. Melissa Wilson's employer has offices in the same building as the newspaper and has co-workers who were there when the gunman opened fire. She said many Annapolis residents have a "one degree of separation" connection with at least one of the five paper employees who were fatally shot. — AP

"It's not something you can ignore when it's in your backyard," she said.

Hundreds attend vigil for slain paper staffers

Dennis Denora, a Sun.Star reporter and publisher of the Trends and Times community paper, has been shot dead by unidentified killers, according to the Davao chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Denora was killed near the wet market of Panabo City in Davao Del Norte on Thursday afternoon, NUJP Davao says.

The Davao del Norte Press & Radio-TV Club says in a statement that is is angered and saddened by news of the killing.

"His death awakens the anger and pains of journalists who do their job and yet are being judged by the pistol," the group also says.

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