Two days after the killing of photojournalist Gene Boyd Lumawag, a Bombo Radio station manager in Kalibo, Aklan, was shot last night. NUJP chair Inday Varona released this statement:
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) strongly condemns the senseless shooting last night (November 13) of Bombo Boy Hinolan, station manager of DYIN Bombo Radyo Kalibo and anchor of the Bombohanay big time.
Hinolan is a legitimate member of the broadcast industry and popular for his hard-hitting commentaries. The attack on our colleague was a direct assault on press freedom.
That Hinolan was shot just two days after photojournalist Gene Boyd Lumawag was murdered in Jolo only highlights the increasingly dangerous situation faced by journalists in the Philippines.
The NUJP demands a speedy and fair investigation by police authorities and urges all tri-media colleagues in Aklan and Panay island to unite in fighting all those who seek to silence the Press.
NUJP’s members are praying that Boy survives this crisis. We urge all citizens who value press freedom to pray for Boy and join journalists’ crusade to halt the violence against media practitioners. We hope the public does not forget that escalating attacks against journalists are precursors of greater violence in the public realm.
Despite the government’s claims on upholding press freedom, nine journalists have been killed this year, two more than the country’s previous record of seven media practitioners killed in 2003.
The Philippines is second only to Iraq, a war-torn nation, in having the most number of journalists murdered. Aside from killings, journalists across the nation have been threatened.
Mindanews also reported another threat incident against newsmen, just a day before Gene’s death. Reporter Jeoffrey Maitem said soldiers threatened ABS-CBN reporter Paul Palacio and his cameraman Loloy Cagayan with bursts of gunfire while the latter were covering an alleged collection of “toll fees” among dump trucks drivers hauling aggregates at the quarry site near at the headquarters of the Army’s Sixth Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.
Across the country, radio stations have also been threatened with closure by authorities displease over hard-hitting reports. The Bombo chain has suffered closure in Cagayan and Isabela. Other radio stations in Mindanao and Luzon also operate under the same threat.
While government officials express sympathy for journalists under threat, their pronouncements only encourage attacks against media practitioners. Whenever the government is faced with crisis, it is apt to blame media. Thus, we have officials, ranging from former chief of staff Narciso Abaya to Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas haranguing journalists for government woes, never mind that these problems stemmed from corruption or negligence and failed policies by
Press freedom is directly linked to other basic rights like the right to freedom of expression and organization, and the right to be safe from torture, extra-judicial killing, and detention. This country’s history has shown that when criminals, in and out of government, step up attacks on press freedom, greater assaults on civil liberties are sure to follow. >
When will these attacls against journalists stop?