NUJP urges authorities to ensure safety of Quezon journalist

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES

 

Statement

December 6, 2007

NUJP urges authorities to ensure safety of Quezon journalist

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) expresses concern over the surveillance that has forced our colleague, Criselda Cabangon, 24, reporter and columnist of Ang Diaryo Natin (ADN), and founding member of the NUJP’s Quezon chapter, into hiding.

We call on authorities to ensure her safety and, if any of their units are involved in the surveillance, demand that these be ordered to stand down immediately and explain why they have placed a member of the media under surveillance.  

According to reports from colleagues in Quezon, Cabangon said unidentified persons have been shadowing her since Monday and that her neighbors had confirmed that strangers had been asking about her whereabouts.

Immediately leaving her house, she sought refuge with a friend and immediately contacted officers and members of the NUJP in the province who have since brought her to a safe place.  

We commend both Cabangon and the NUJP-Quezon, led by Francia Britania-Malabanan, for their quick thinking.

We would like to take comfort in the assurance of Army Major Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the Southern Luzon Command, that “we do not know her [Cabangon] much less plan to apprehend her for whatever reason.”  

However, the statement appears too pat for comfort. As spokesman of a major military command, it seems implausible for Cabangbang not to know who Cabangon is. Especially given Cabangon’s background as a former student leader and campus journalist who had experienced being placed under surveillance then, and her current reputation for “fearless write-ups on issues concerning common people.”

While his advice to report any suspicious persons is well taken, we do think Cabangbang’s suggestion to “confront the officer in charge” of any unit suspected of harassing or threatening a journalist, or any one for that matter, is facetious, to say the least. Especially so in light of the findings of several international investigations, including that of the United Nations special rapporteur, into the extrajudicial killings sweeping the country.  

Having been informed of possible threats to Cabangon’s well-being, it is now incumbent on the authorities to ensure her security, not just as a journalist but as a citizen entitled to their protection.

Reference:

Jose Torres, Jr.

NUJP Chairman

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NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
www.nujp.org
105-A Scout Castor Street (near Morato Avenue)
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 4117768
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
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Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotline: (+632) 411-7768
or email it to nujphil@gmail.com
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“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear.”
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