Posts

Media group to reporters, protesters: You are not each other’s enemy

A media organization reminded colleagues to go beyond traffic and disruption in reporting on protest rallies as it urged transport organization Manibela not to treat reporters as enemies following an altercation in Quezon City last Monday.

In an alert last Wednesday, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Metro Manila Chapter (NUJP-MMC) said it encourages fellow reporters to focus more on those accountable for problems instead of sectors who are fighting for their livelihood.

“Colleagues are encouraged to go beyond the narrative of traffic and disruption and report on why protests are held in the first place. These inputs will help better inform the truth that we report,” the NUJP-MMC said.

The media group however said that violence or threats against reporters have no justification, adding Manibela could have set a dialogue with Gonzales or file complaint with his newsroom if they object to his kind of reporting.

‘Perwisyo’?

DZRH radio reporter Val Gonzales said he was hit by protesting jeepney drivers while covering their rally in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board office along East Avenue.

Gonzales complained he was reporting that Manibela was causing a traffic jam while occupying the road when approached by some protesters who “hit his back.”

“They punched me as Manibela members rushed toward me because I was reporting the truth,” Gonzales said in a live report on the incident.

DZRH reporter Val Gonzales (in red shirt) confronting protesting jeepney drivers. (Grab from Johnson Manaba’s x)

In his report, Gonzales used the Filipino word “perwisyo” (from the Spanish original perjuicio) in describing Manibela’s protest action against the forced surrender of their driving franchises under the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena however disputed Gonzales’ claim of physical harm despite the reporter “provoking” and “insulting” them immediately before going on air.

“He insulted and cursed at members of Manibela saying they should be jailed due to the inconvenience caused before he went on air for the DZRH program,” Valbuena said.

Valbuena said their members only approached Gonzales to talk to him.

The transport leader said he has apologized for the incident, adding that Manibela respects journalists and that he hopes the latter will do the same for them.

ABS-CBN reporter Johnson Manabat’s post on X shows Gonzales being protected by a DZRH colleague while angry-looking Manibela members were trying to get to him.

Not each others’ enemy

Gonzales said he already talked to the Quezon City Police District on the possible filing of a complaint against Manibela members.

The Presidential Task Force for Media Security (PTFoMs) said it denounces the incident, adding will assist the reporter in filing a complaint.

DZRH station manager Rudolph Steve Jularbal said their network will press charges against those involved in the “punching” of their reporter, saying the incident was harassment and a violation of press freedom.

The Defense Press Corps (DPC also condemned the incident, saying the violence was “unjustifiable.”

The Philippine National Police, Justice Reporter’s Organization, Quezon City Journalists’ Group Inc., and Southern Metro Manila Tri-Media denounced the incident.

NUJP-MMC said it reached out to Gonzales who reportedly replied he would soon provide further details of the incident after consulting with his legal counsel.

NUJP-MMC added that despite high tensions and emotions at protests and rallies, the media should not be regarded as the enemy nor should reporters treat protesters as enemies either. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Media study: Red-tagging is gov’t policy

Red-tagging is a State policy, a study by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), currently being launched in Baguio City, reveals.

Nearly 80% of red-tagging cases against journalists and media groups are state-sponsored or come from government-employed individuals, the NUJP study NO TAG: Press Freedom for Pluralism says.

Image from NO TAG: Press Freedom for Pluralism

“The study finds that as high as 60% or more than half of the red-tagging incidents in the last eight years have been state-sponsored, and 19.8% of the red-tagging by State employed the intimidating method of dropping by, or sending a letter, where State agents cite different government policies as basis,” it adds.

The study results are in stark contrast with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent statement that red-tagging is not done by government.

READ: Karapatan outraged at Marcos’ refusal to abolish NTF-ELCAC; Cebu unionists reveal rampant gov’t red-tagging

The NUJP said it has documented at least 159 incidents of red-tagging since 2016 to present against individual journalists, newsrooms, and media organizations.

It cited as an example the so-called conspiracy matrix presented former chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo alleging media groups and individuals were part of a destabilization plot against then president Rodrigo Duterte.

“State agents and other actors – using social media and physical methods such as posters, drop-by letters and official documents – have targeted members of both the alternative and mainstream media across the Philippines,” the NUJP said.

Image from NO TAG: Press Freedom for Pluralism

The study reached out to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security that denied red-tagging is condoned by the government as well as to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict that said it had no time for an interview.

The study makes the following recommendations:

1. Mainstream media organizations should continue, and further strengthen, their solidarity efforts with red-tagged journalists whether or not they belong to mainstream media, or alternative media;

2. Media organizations and civil society should create a mechanism by which red-tagged journalists can have easy access to legal support;

3. News organizations should adopt a more robust internal protocol to respond to a red-tagging attack on any of its staff, including but not limited to mental health response;

4. The government should take these complaints seriously, investigate them, and hold accountable the perpetrators; and

5. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr should communicate a clear policy to stop red-tagging.

“[T]his report is meant as input to policy for wider civic space in the Philippines, for more robust support systems for media workers targeted by red-tagging, and an urgent demand to end red-tagging, including the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC, and the continued securitization of government response to social issues and to the call for social justice,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

= = = =

Disclosure: The reporter is a respondent of the study. Kodao is a NUJP chapter.

Philippine, global media groups blast Tel Aviv’s attack on Al Jazeera

Philippine media organizations condemned the State of Israel’s closure of Al Jazeera’s operations in Israel as an attack on press freedom and the people’s right to information.

In separate statements, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) and the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) said Tel Aviv’s action is an attempt to hide Israel’s military operations.

The zionist state is engaged in a war against Palestinian freedom fighters in Gaza as well as against Iran.

The NUJP said the more than 100 journalists and media workers, including from Al Jazeera, have been killed since Israel’s assault on Gaza started and those who remain in the besieged territory report at great personal risk.

“[T]he Al Jazeera shutdown is an insult not just to their courage and dedication but also to the supposed free flow of information to the world,” the NUJP said.

IAWRT Philippines for its part said Al Jazeera’s closure in Israel undermines press freedom and restricts access to independent journalism, “particularly where providing diverse perspectives and reporting on critical issues such as the ongoing conflict in Palestine.”

The shutdown comes after Israel’s parliament passed a law allowing the closure of foreign media outlets it claims as “a threat to security.”

IAWRT pointed out that women journalists at Al Jazeera have been at the forefront of reporting from conflict zones and how wars impact marginalized communities.

“This will also exacerbate the safety challenges that they have long been facing, including how their bureau chief Wael Dahdouh was wounded in an Israeli strike while Samer Abudaqa was killed while reporting in Southern Gaza,” the group said.

Tel Aviv’s decision may also lead to a chilling effect on journalists who are exposing the atrocities and war crimes being inflicted on Palestine, IAWRT Philippines said.

“Most importantly, this silences and suppresses people’s voices on the ground, and hinders their search for justice and accountability,” it added.

The FOCAP said it stands in solidarity with Al Jazeera and other media workers covering the Israeli-Gaza war and its closure by Israel “is another form of death for the free press.”

“Al Jazeera has been at the forefront of unflinching reporting, providing a platformfor marginalized voices in Gaza and other Palestinian territories. The shutdown leaves a void in global news coverage of the conflict. In a time of war, such a news blackout is a matter of life and death,” the group said.

IAWRT Philippines said it also stands in solidarity with Al Jazeera journalists, especially its women reporters, and expresses its concern about the impact the shutdown may have on reporting from the region.

NUJP added that as Filipino journalists are still recovering from government attempts to silence newsrooms for justifications similar to Tel Aviv’s, cannot be quiet when it happens elsewhere.

“Newsroom shutdowns threaten livelihoods, decrease access to information and subtract from the truth that the profession is supposed to look for and report,” NUJP said.

A respected global broadcaster and news source, Al Jazeera is based and partly funded by the Qatar government.

(Altermidya file photo)

Condemnations around the world

Abroad, the Foreign Press Association, an organization representing foreign correspondents in the region said Israel’s attack on Al Jazeera’s headquarters is “a dark day for the media (and) a dark day for democracy.”

“We urge the (Israeli) government to reverse this harmful step and uphold its commitment to freedom of the press – including outlets whose coverage it may not like,” FPA said.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (UNOHCHR) also criticized the move, saying it regrets the Benjamin Netanyahu regime’s decision.

“A free and independent media is essential to ensuring transparency and accountability, now, even more so given tight restrictions on reporting from Gaza. Freedom of expression is a key human right. We urge govt to overturn ban,” the UNOHCHR said.

United States-based Committee to Protect Journalists also condemned the closure and the blocking of the channel’s websites. 

 “This move sets an extremely alarming precedent for restricting international media outlets working in Israel. The Israeli cabinet must allow Al-Jazeera and all international media outlets to operate freely in Israel, especially during wartime,” CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna in New York said.

Reporters Without Borders (Rapporteurs Sans Fronteires, RSF) denounced  Israel’s “repressive legislation” that now censor’s Al Jazeera’s critical coverage of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 34,700 Palestinians since it began on 7 October.  

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in its own condemnation also raised concerns about the confiscation of journalists’ personal work equipment and phones.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “What possible motivation could there be for snatching phones and computers, save for trying to discover the journalists’ sources – this violates the most elemental rights of reporters to protect their sources”.

“Banning journalists and shutting down broadcasters are moves straight from the despots playbook. This is a further departure by the Israeli government from the respect for a free media expected of a democracy. We have already seen foreign reporters banned from Gaza, attacks on Israel’s domestic media, and truly shocking treatment of Palestinian journalists,” Bellanger added.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), representing Palestinian journalists working for Al Jazeera said: “We condemn this decision, which targets freedom of expression and the ability of journalists to do their work. It is indicative of the desperation of the occupation government.”

The National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and Ireland (NUJ-UK&I) said: Those with secrets to hide or who are ashamed of their actions forcibly close down television stations.”

“Targeting Al Jazeera as the Israeli government has is a direct attack on free speech that brings shame on those responsible – I hope they will soon realise their error and reverse this decision,” NUJ-UK&I general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Groups slam media security chief for red-tagging ahead of UN expert’s visit

Media groups and rights defenders condemned government’s top media security official, calling his allegation that a jailed journalist is active in terrorist groups a classic example of red-tagging.

Altermidya and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) executive director Paulino Gutierrez’s attack against journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio also proves the absurdity of his agency’s continued existence.

In his January 4 “Paul’s Alarm” column on JournalnewsOnline, Gutierrez wrote, “Nais din niyang (United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion Irene Khan) malaman ang sitwasyon ni Franchie (sic) Mae Cumpio, na kasalukuyang naka-detine sa Palo Provincial Jail sa Leyte dahil sa aktibo nitong papel sa lokal na teroristang grupo ng mga komunista.” (She also wants to know about Franchie (sic) Mae Cumpio’s situation, who is currently detained at the Palo Provincial Jail in Leyte because of her active role in the local terrorist group of communists.)

Altermidya said the official’s allegation is exactly what they mean about red-tagging: government officials linking civilians to alleged communist groups without proof.

“May we remind Mr. Gutierrez that Ms. Cumpio is contesting the charges filed against her in court and has yet to be convicted. There is absolutely no point for anyone, more so a high government official, to forget that ‘everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,’” Altermidya said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the NUJP said Gutierrez’s accusation highlights precisely how red-tagging has become institutionalized in the Philippines and has become undeclared policy.

“It also shows the absurdity of having a body created for media security in a government task force that actively puts journalists’ security at risk by accusing them of being enemies of the state,” NUJP said.

The group added that Gutierrez’s allegation violates not just the constitutional presumption of innocence but also the Journalist’s Code of Ethics.

Human rights group Karapatan also slammed Gutierrez, saying the official’s red-tagging of Cumpio is hypocritical.

“Here is a big example of the government’s so-called ‘promotion of human rights,’ and yet, the Philippine government is already vilifying human rights defenders and press freedom defenders because they have tagged them as enemies of the state,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Braggadocio gone wrong

Ironically, Gutierrez wrote about Khan’s official 10-day visit to the Philippines starting next week in his column, disclosing he is ready to meet with the UN expert on press freedom and freedom of expression.

Gutierrez added it is a significant personal honor for him to lead the country’s preparations for Khan’s visit as chief of the only government agency in the world dedicated to media worker’s rights.

Altermidya however said Gutierrez’s attack against Cumpio is emblematic of their complaints to the UN expert.

“It is exactly this kind of information that we wish Ms. Khan would closely look into in her investigation into the Philippine situation,” Altermidya said.

“The statement of USec Guiterrez highlights the urgency of our appeal to Ms Khan to conduct a thorough investigation on the continued vilification of journalists, affecting the exercise of press freedom and the people’s right to know,” Altermidya said.

Karapatan said that government agencies involved in the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur are the same agencies engaged in red-tagging, terrorist-labelling, filing of trumped up charges, and other forms of violations.

Special jail visit to Frenchie Mae

In his column, Gutierrez revealed that Khan wishes to visit Cumpio in jail.

The youngest journalist in prison in the world today, Cumpio was arrested in February 2020 when she was 20 years old.

A former editor of the student publication University of the Philippines Vista in Tacloban, Cumpio was a broadcaster with Manila Broadcasting Company’s Aksiyon Radyo station in Leyte at the time of her arrest.

She was also the executive director of alternative media outfit Eastern Vista and manager-in-training of Radyo Taclobanon, a women-led disaster resiliency community radio station project in Supertyphoon Yolanda-hit Eastern Visayas.

“Indeed, she is the very Frenchie Mae Cumpio mentioned in laureate Maria Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize speech,” Altermidya said. # (Raymund B. tVillanueva)

= = = = = =

DISCLOSURE: Altermidya’s statement was issued with the author as reference, being the group’s chairperson. He is also a former NUJP officer. Kodao and the author were Cumpio’s trainers for the Radyo Taclobanon project.

Broadcaster killed in Misamis Occidental, 4th under Marcos Jr

Media groups condemned the killing of another broadcaster, the fourth under the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presidency.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)  in a statement said it condemns the brazen killing of Juan Jumalon, also known as DJ Johnny Walker, of 94.7 Calamba Gold FM in Calamba, Misamis Occidental Sunday morning, November 5.

Jumalon, 57, was shot by still unidentified attackers while he was airing his program at about 5:35 AM.

NUJP said the attack is even more condemnable as it happened inside the victim’ own home that also served as the radio station.

The Pampanga Press Club (PPC) also condemned Jumalon’s murder, saying the attack is “dastardly”.

“While this latest violence against media had taken place in Mindanao, we believe that the protection of media practitioners — similar to the expression of solidarity — should know no bounds, thus, must be of primordial concern of everyone. We appeal to authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of this dastardly act,” PPC said.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) meanwhile called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the immediate activation of a special investigation task group (SITG) to investigate the murder.

Jumalon’s killing was caught on a live stream of his show. It showed the victim being shot twice by the suspect who also grabbed his gold necklace before fleeing the crime scene.

Jumalon was declared dead on arrival (DOA) at the Calamba District Hospital.

The latest media killing is the 199th since 1986 and the fourth under the present administration, the NUJP said.

Earlier, Renato Blanco was killed on September 18,2022 in Mabinay, Negros Occidental; Percival Mabasa was killed in Las Pinas City on October 3, 2022; and Cresenciano Bunduquin was murdered in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro last May 31.

Jumalon’s killing also comes in the same week as the International Day to End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists observed last November 2.

The Global Impunity Index placed the Philippines as the 8th most dangerous country for journalists. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

A new platform monitoring press freedom in Southeast Asia

Seven groups are monitoring press freedom cases in six countries

By Mong Palatino / Global Voices

Seven Southeast Asian media organizations have launched pfmsea.org, a joint platform to monitor press freedom across the region.

The organizations are Indonesia’s Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Association of Timor Leste Journalists, Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association, Center for Independent Journalism in Malaysia, Merdeka Media Movement in Malaysia, National Union of Journalists Philippines, and Prachatai in Thailand.

Launched on May 29, 2023, the website shares real-time data on cases of violence against journalists and the media, as well as qualitative reports on the situation of press freedom in six countries, joint press releases, and a mechanism that allows the public to report cases of violence against the media.

Through email, Global Voices interviewed AJI Secretary-General Ika Ningtyas about the new initiative. She shared how regional media groups coordinated in launching the platform.

Most of us have been working together for quite a long time, belonging to regional organizations that unfortunately did not last long enough. But we understand the urgency of the need to build a new one as press freedom is increasingly threatened in most countries in Southeast Asia. Finally, since last year, we had quite intense discussions for a year to rebuild the collaboration with a new approach.

She explained what promoted the groups to launch a platform. She hopes the network will be easy to maintain.

We discussed how to do it simply and at a low cost. Our current strategy is not to establish a permanent organization like before. Instead, this collaboration is more flexible. We chose one organization in turn as the facilitator responsible for facilitating each meeting, managing finances, and other administration. In this first year, AJI was chosen as the collaboration facilitator.

Then we discussed about the work program, several ideas emerged, one of which was to create a joint press freedom monitoring platform. We thought it was important to have data available in real-time that shows the safety of journalists and media organizations in Southeast Asia.

Asked about how the monitoring data will be used to promote press freedom, she discussed the campaign strategy of the network.

The promotion of press freedom requires reliable data. Data that is available in real-time can show the real situation, about the mode, perpetrators, types of threats and see how the trend is from year to year, whether it is improving or worsening. From the data, we or each organization can determine what intervention actions should be taken, what the advocacy strategy is, and how to do it. Through this monitoring data, we can campaign together more broadly about the security situation of journalists in Southeast Asia because we found some similar trends used by governments such as the increase in digital attacks, the use of disinformation regulations to target journalists, and others.

In 2022, their groups monitored 185 press freedom violations across the region. This year, they have recorded 73 cases. About 60 percent of the cases this year involved physical attacks targeting the media, while 23 percent were related to digital attacks. About 36.5 percent of the cases were perpetrated by state actors. Some of the major issues they noted include the forced closure of independent media outlets in Cambodia, the enforcement of repressive media laws in Indonesia, and the vilification of journalists in the Philippines.

Finally, Ika Ningtyas identified some of the challenges in developing the monitoring platform.

The initial challenge was how to set a common standard for indicators, working mechanisms, and report formats. Because we found that several organizations that monitor press freedom have different indicators. Then we agreed to use internationally accepted standards, namely according to Sustainable Development Goals number 16.10.1 where the safety of journalists is one of the indicators. By using this SDG’s indicator, it will be easier if each organization prepares a shadow report related to the SDG’s on the safety aspect of journalists.

Secondly, of the six organizations that have joined, only three regularly monitor cases. But our members in Timor Leste, Malaysia and Thailand are not very intense in monitoring, because they don’t have special resources. So the challenge is how to provide support especially to organizations that don’t have resources and strengthen those that do. Because monitoring is not just inputting data, but a long process such as receiving reports, verifying each case that occurs, writing reports and analyzing them.

The network is planning to expand the coverage of the project by seeking potential partners in Myanmar and Vietnam. #

= = = = =

Kodao is a content-sharing partner of Global Voices.

Press Freedom Day ignites with demands for journalist’s liberty

There is no genuine press freedom in the Philippines while a journalist unjustly remains in jail, media groups said on World Press Freedom Day today, May 3.

Media groups People’s Alternative Media Network (Altermidya) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) both called for the liberty of Tacloban-based journalist and broadcaster Frenchie Mae Cumpio who has been in jail for more than three years.

This 30th World Press Freedom Day, the struggle for a genuinely free press in the Philippines persists as community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio remains unjustly detained in Tacloban City,” Altermidya said in a statement.

Charged with terrorism-related cases, Cumpio is also appealing the forfeiture of hundreds of thousands of pesos the police said she was using to finance rebellion.

Cumpio was among human rights defenders and activists arrested in February 2020 in simultaneous raids by the police.

“The Altermidya Network continues to call for the dismissal of all fabricated charges and immediate release of our fellow community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio,” the media group said.

“We have no doubt that elements of the state are behind prolonging Frenchie’s case as she is a fierce government critic who upholds the interest of the people in her reportage,” it added.

Meanwhile, NUJP said that while there have been recent press freedom victories, such as in the acquittal of Maria Ressa and Rappler of tax evasion cases, many journalists are still facing threats.

NUJP said that prior to their arrest, Cumpio had been red-tagged and subjected to surveillance by the police and the military and that charges against her are based on testimony from questionable witnesses.

“The slow pace of (Cumpio’s) case — especially in contrast with the quick resolution of other, more high profile ones — is a violation of her right to a quick trial and also deprives the communities on (Eastern Visayas) that she used to report on and for,” NUJP said.

Other press freedom violations

NUJP said that Cumpio’s case is just one among several other press freedom violations in the Philippines.

The group said that since the Rodrigo Duterte administration, there have been attempts to convince journalists to disaffiliate from groups like the NUJP and outright attempts to paint the independent and alternative press as “enemies of the state.”

“While these attempts have been toned down under the new administration, they have continued. Attempts to organize within our ranks — and among citizens in general — are viewed with suspicion, if not vilified outright,” the group revealed.

NUJP and Altermidya also complain of government orders to block Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly news websites, as well as the “weaponization” of laws against freedom of expression and opinion, including the Anti-Terrorism and SIM Card Registration acts.

The groups also recalled government-led attacks against the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rappler and ABS-CBN as well as the still unresolved murders of journalists Renato Blanco and Percy Lapid who were killed under the Ferdinand Marcos Jr. government. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Don’t pressure journalists to sign drug inventories

Although the Dangerous Drugs Act requires that the inventory and documentation of suspected narcotics that authorities seize in operations is done in the presence of witnesses this should not be taken to mean that law enforcement personnel have the authority to force members of the media to act as witnesses and sign inventories.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has taken the position since 2018 that the law should be amended to remove media workers as official witnesses in drug operations since this can put them at risk of retaliation from drug suspects and of contempt of court if they fail to attend hearings if the case goes on trial. The requirement in the law also means that journalists who cover drug operations could find themselves isolated from police sources or deprived of access to information if they refuse.

We welcome the National Bureau of Investigation’s apology over attempts by its personnel to coerce some of our colleagues — including the use of homophobic slurs — to sign during a recent anti-drug operation.

NUJP reminds the media community that while we may be assigned to cover law enforcement operations and that while it is our duty to report on these operations, the burden of ensuring that these are done according to due process and the law is on the authorities.

Our role as journalists is the best way to act as witnesses to drug raids and other law enforcement operations without signing government affidavits and forms. #

(March 17, 2023)

Lapid’s family hopes for mastermind’s identification after surrender of alleged gunman

The family of slain broadcaster Percival Mabasa, popularly known as Percy Lapid, called for the identification of the mastermind behind his killing following the surrender of the alleged gunman.

Interior and local government secretary Benhur Abalos presented in a press briefing Tuesday 39-year-old Joel Salve Estorial who said he was the one who fired at and killed Mabasa last October 3.

Estorial said he surrendered out of fear for his life when the Philippine National Police (PNP) made public his likeness last week captured from closed circuit television footages.

The alleged gunman said orders came from inside the National Bilibod Prison and he and five cohorts were paid P550,000 for the job.

Estorial claimed that he was forced to fire the gun or he himself will be killed by those who ordered the killing.

The press briefing did not identify who ordered the assassination. Reporters were not allowed to ask questions during the briefing.

Mabasa’s family said that while they would like to thank the PNP, they hope the development would lead to the identification, arrest and prosecution of the mastermind.

“We hope Percy does not become part of the statistics and continue to clamor for justice for Percy and the nearly 200 journalists killed since 1986,” the family’s statement adds.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said it welcomes the arrest of the suspected gunman.

The media group described the surrender as a positive development towards accountability for his murder.

“Accountability in this case will help chip away at the culture of impunity around journalist killings that media, civil society and government agencies have been working to change,” the NUJP said.

“We join the Mabasa family, Ka Percy’s listeners and supporters, and the journalism community in monitoring developments in the case and in waiting for justice for his death,” the media group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Gunmen kill broadcaster; murder earns swift condemnation

Gunmen killed a broadcaster in Las Pinas City on Monday, the second media worker killed under the three month-old Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presidency.

Percival Mabasa, known in the broadcast industry as Percy Lapid, was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital after two gunmen aboard a motorcycle fired at least two gunshots at the victim.

Described as a hard-hitting broadcaster, he was a critic of several Marcos and Rodrigo Duterte government officials.

Mabasa’s family said they are deeply saddened and angered by what they described as a “brutal and brazen killing of fearless broadcaster, father and husband, brother and friend.”

“We strongly condemn this deplorable crime; it was committed not only against Percy, his family, and his profession, but against our country, his beloved Philippines, and the truth,” the family said.

They added that the victim was highly respected by his listeners as well as peers and foes alike.

“His bold and sharp commentaries cut through the barrage of fake news over the air waves and on social media,” they added.

Mabasa was host of Lapid Fire radio show that aired on DWBL. Previously, he was a broadcaster with radio station DWIZ.

On his YouTube channel, Mabasa commented on the dangers of red-tagging, including that of the recent harassment of Manila Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar who ruled against the government’s proscription of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations.

Mabasa also recently commented on the security risks of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators and on historical distortion of Martial Law.

The victim is the second journalist to be killed under Marcos Jr. administration.

Radio broadcaster Rey Blanco was stabbed to death in Mabinay, Negros Oriental last September 18.

Immediate condemnation

Media and human rights organization also condemned the killing and joined Mabasa’s family in calling for justice.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Mabasa’s murder shows that journalism remains a dangerous profession in the country.

“That the incident took place in Metro Manila indicates how brazen the perpetrators were, and how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm,” the NUJP in a statement Tuesday said.

The Pinoy Media Center condemned Mabasa’s murder and called it another politically-motivated case of extrajudicial killing “to silence truth seekers and media practitioners.

The People’s Alternative Media Network also condemned the murder it said is part of a landscape of violence and intimidation against journalists and citizens.

The National Press Club and the organization of justice beat reporters also issued statements calling for justice for Mabasa.

Human rights group Karapatan joined in the calls for an independent investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Karapatan also said it will join the condemnation rally organized by the NUJP at the Boy Scouts monument in Quezon City at six o’clock tonight. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)