Arrested Journalists Call For Government Protection

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports journalists and media technicians in the Philippines in filing a petition and calling for government protection after they were arrested and detained on November 29 while covering the takeover of the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City by rebel soldiers.
The PNP stormed the hotel, ending a seven-hour coup attempt by disgruntled rebel soldiers which trapped approximately 100 hotel guests and staff inside. Journalists were detained along with rebel soldiers, and the government said it wanted to ensure rebel troops did not slip away amongst the journalists. However, some of the journalists had their video footage confiscated, and were arrested and taken to the National Capital Region Police Office in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Led by senior correspondent Ces Oreña Drilon, 11 employees of the Philippines largest television network ABS-CBN, who were among those arrested in the November 29 incident, filed a petition for a “writ of amparo and prohibition” seeking government protection from “threats of future arrests without warrant and acts of harassment against petitioners and other journalists, in the course or in the consequence of the performance of their work, such as in the coverage of breaking news events similar to the Manila Peninsula stand-off”.
The “writ of amparo” is an order issued by the court to protect the constitutional rights of a person and has been described by the journalists a remedy to any person whose liberty and security is violated by an unlawful act.
Ms Drilon also appealed on behalf of the journalists to the Supreme Court to declare their arrests illegal and prevent government threats against journalists.
Head of ABS-CBN news and current affairs, Maria Ressa, stated that ABS-CBN, which had the most employees arrested during the incident, “can’t stand by and watch a kind of creeping censorship test and weaken our democracy”.
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park expressed the IFJ’s support for the ABS-CBN campaign.
“We support employees from ABS-CBN in standing up for their democratic rights to work free from harassment and intimidation, especially from government officials and authorities.
“The actions of the network show a strong step forward in campaigning for media rights, and we encourage other journalists and organizations in the Philippines and the international community to support them in solidarity”.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries

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