Armed men set tabloid newspaper plant on fire

Armed men set tabloid newspaper plant on fire
Four men stormed Abante News Group’s printing plant in Parañaque City between 1 and 2 a.m. of September 9, poured gasoline and set printing machines and supplies on fire.
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MANILA, Philippines — Unidentified assailants attempted to burn a tabloid newspaper plant in Parañaque City early Monday in an attack said to be the first of its kind on a news outlet in recent history.

In a statement, Abante editor-in-chief Fernando Jadulco said four men—wearing hoods and carrying guns—stormed Abante News Group’s printing plant between 1 and 2 a.m., poured gasoline, and set printing machines and supplies on fire.

The group publishes tabloids Abante and Abante Tonite.

The incident happened in less than five minutes and injured at least two staff, Jadulco noted.

“The management and staff of Abante-Tonite condemn this dastardly attack, the first violent act against our group and its facilities since 1987,” Jadulco said.

He added: “We will not be cowed by this attempt to strike fear into our reporters, editors and staff. Our commitment to hard-hitting journalism remains unshaken.”

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said the incident is “believed to be the first attack of its kind on a news outfit in recent history.”

The Abante editor-in-chief said the immediate response of the Parañaque Fire Station prevented any serious damage to the facility. Police were also deployed to investigate the incident.

The Philippines placed 134th out of 180 countries this year on the World Press Freedom Index of media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. In 2018, the country ranked 133rd.

According to a report released by various Philippine-based media groups last May, there have been 128 cases of attacks and threats against Philippine press from June 30, 2016 to April 30, 2019. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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