NUJP Davao Denounces Attacks on Journalists

Apr. 25, 2007

DAVAO CITY — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao chapter joins all journalists nationwide in expressing our outrage over the killing of Radyo ng Bayan reporter Carmelo Palacios and the attack on Delfin Mallari, radioman and Luzon correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) as the Philippine media try to survive the darkest era of the Philippine democracy.

Mallari, who was with DZMM correspondent Johnny Glorioso in Lucena city, was attacked by unidentified gunmen only a day after police found the body of Palacios, 41, in Nueva Ecija where Palacios worked as reporter of government-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Palacios murder and Mallari and Gloriosos attack only add up to the growing list of journalist killings and harassment nationwide, most of which until now remain unsolved.

They also come with the recent arrest of June Alegre of dzRH in Legaspi, Albay, the filing of libel case against Cebu veteran broadcaster and columnist Leo Lastimosa and in Davao , the jailing of Bombo broadcaster Lex Adonis for libel in what we can only describe as one of the darkest era in Philippine media, where journalists are either being gunned down or threatened with libel cases just for doing their work.

Palacios brutal murder and Mallaris attack are the most recent testament to the culture of impugnity reigning in our midst, despite the Arroyo administrations attempt to deny it.

What happened to Palacios and Mallari can easily happen to any working journalist who is only doing what is expected of her in a working democracy: to satisfy the peoples right to know and help the citizenry make informed decisions. But what happened to Palacios and Mallari only shows how the Philippine media is being stifled in carrying out this role.

We condemn the brutal attack of Palacios and on Mallari as blatant attacks on press freedom.

We believe that when journalist lives are threatened, press freedom itself is being threatened and democracy, being killed.

We demand that the Arroyo administration stop making lip-service pronouncements that it fails to deliver. We demand that the government promptly solve and put a stop to these killings and do something to protect a great number of journalists in the country whose lives are under threat.

Weve witnessed how laws on libel have been used to harass media and we demand that it be de-criminalized.

We urge all journalists—in the print, television, radio and online media–to band together and close our ranks to fight all attempts to silence us and to protect press freedom—and our peoples right to know—at all cost.

Chair, Davao city Chapter
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

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