Radio block timer killed in Cotabato City

CMFR/PHILIPPINES –A gunman shot and killed a peace advocate and anchor for a block time program on 21 January 2009 in Cotabato City . Cotabato City is approximately 699 nautical miles (1295 kms) from Manila .
Badrodin Abas was driving his family’s passenger multi-cab along Quezon Avenue corner Jacinto Street in Cotabato City at around 9 p.m. when two men onboard a motorcycle blocked his way. One of the men shot him in the head. Abas was hosting a block time program at the radio station dxCM – Radyo Ukay aired every Thursday.
The program Abas hosted was funded by the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a network of Moro civil society organizations in Mindanao . Abas was the deputy secretary of the regional management committee of CBCS in Cotabato City, and also vice president of CBCS member United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD).
Block timing is a practice in the Philippine provinces where “blocks” of radio time are bought by individuals or groups for their program, which they then offer for sponsorship.
Although the police have yet to conclude their investigation, Cotabato City police chief Senior Supt. Willie Dangane told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) in a phone interview that the killers mistook Abas for his younger brother.
“It was a case of mistaken identity. His younger brother has the same profile (body type) as Badrodin,” Dangane said in Filipino, adding that Abas’s younger brother usually drives the multi-cab Abas was driving.
Dangane was quoted in a GMANews.TV report as saying that the police are investigating reports that Abas’s brother was involved in a love triangle. Police said the younger brother had been receiving threats prior to the incident.
Dangane dismissed the possibility that Abas was killed because of his work as a block time announcer. “He is not a regular member of the tri-media here,” Dangane told CMFR.
Bobby Taguntong, an anchor at dxCM – Radyo Ukay, told CMFR that he and his colleagues have not heard of any problem or threat connected with Abas’s radio program. But he said Abas and his partner Bobby Benito usually discuss issues involving the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the situation of evacuees in Mindanao .
Rahib Kudto, chair of the CBCS regional management committee in Cotabato City and also chair of UNYPAD, called on the authorities to look for the perpetrators so that the real motive behind the killing could be established. “We are waiting for (the result of the) police (investigation) ,” he told CMFR.
Police have yet to interview the brother of Abas, Dangane said. GMANews.TV reported that the police are looking at a video of the shooting caught on a closed circuit TV camera.
According to Kudto, Abas previously worked for the local unit of the Department of Agriculture in Pikit, North Cotabato before joining the peace organizations. His hosting of CBCS’s block time program, Kudto said, is his first work in the media. Abas was not accredited by the Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP, Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines ).
Seventy-seven journalists/ media practitioners have been killed in the line of duty since the restoration of democracy in 1986. In 2008, six journalists/ media practitioners were killed because of their work.
Since 1986, 10 journalists have been killed in Region XII (SoCCSKSarGen) , which registered the most number of work-related killings along with Region III (Central Luzon). If killed in the line of duty, Abas would be the 11th killed in Region XII and the 78th killed in the Philippines since 1986. Most of the cases are unsolved.


Global Media Rights Groups Condemn Culture of Impunity and Indifference in Sri Lanka

The International Press Freedom Mission today condemned a “culture of impunity and indifference” over killings and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka. Since the beginning of 2009, the killing of a senior editor and the attack on the facilities of a popular independent TV channel have led to a total paralysis of the media community.
Launching a new report, Media Under Fire: Press Freedom Lockdown in Sri Lanka, the International Mission criticised Sri Lanka’s Government over its inaction and failure to take the attacks, murder and assassination of reporters seriously. This has in turn led to an almost total blackout of independent and objective reporting from the North and East of Sri Lanka, which have seen the worst of the country’s long-running civil war.
“In all the cases of attacks against media and assassinations of reporters, there are few serious investigations by the authorities and none of the killers are ever brought to trial,” the International Mission said in a joint statement.
“A hostile environment of intolerance propelled forward by the top political leadership has created a culture of impunity and indifference, making every day hunting season for attacks on media staff.”
Based on its visit to Sri Lanka in October 2008, the International Mission noted three trends relating to the coverage of the conflict: lack of press access and independent information flow in the conflict zones; a wave of assaults and intimidation of journalists covering the conflict; and self-censorship by the media on the realities of the war.
Since the mission took place, the situation for media has continued to deteriorate in Sri Lanka. On January 6, 2009, the studio of the Maharaja Television/Broadcasting Network (MTV/MBC) was attacked by armed gunmen. On January 8, Lasantha Wickrematunga, editor of The Sunday Leader, was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle as he drove to work in Colombo. On January 15, police began a widespread search for MTV Channel 1 Chief Chevaan Daniel after accusations of him being behind the attack on his station.
According to the findings of the International Mission, reporters and editors conveying messages that are critical of the Government’s war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are labelled as “traitors” and “terrorists” and they work in an increasingly hostile environment of censorship and fear.
The International Mission is shocked at the repeated instances of elected representatives and Government Ministers using violent and inflammatory language against media workers and institutions. Not surprisingly this has led to widespread self-censorship among journalists in order to protect their lives.
“The killing of Lasantha and the deaths of at least eight other journalists, along with two disappeared since 2007, illustrates in painful detail just how journalists and media staff continue to suffer for their profession,” the International Mission said.
“Without a proper investigation into Lasantha’s assassination and the attack on MTV, there will be no chance at all for the Government to claim that it assumes responsibility to guarantee the basic safety and independence of media.”
We urge Sri Lanka’s Government to accept the creation of an international commission and to investigate the two recent attacks in line with requests by Sri Lankan journalists and media institutions. As a group, the International Mission will offer its assistance to form this commission and to participate in the investigation.
Notes to the editors
Since 2006, the International Press Freedom Mission to Sri Lanka has conducted three missions to Sri Lanka. The most recent mission in October 2008 included representatives from the following international media organisations:
o International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
o International Media Support (IMS)
o ハInternational Press Institute (IPI)
o ハInternational News Safety Institute (INSI)
o ハReporters Without Borders (RSF)
For more information contact:
Vincent Brossel, Reporters Without Borders, on: + 33 1 44 83 84 70

Sukumar Muralidharan, International Federation of Journalists, on: +91 124 405 6719
Robert Shaw, International Media Support, on: + 1 347 575 8746

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide

Ang Panitik

Rey Tamayo, Jr.
Pinanday, inukit doon bartolina,
Alab ng panitik ibig makalaya.
May hagkis ang titik, may bulong ang letra;
May bangis ang halik ng bantay at bala.

Kaluluwa’y pagod sa huwad na hatol,
Tanikalang birtud sa sigwa’y pagtutol.
Sino pang lulunod sa sumpang ataol?
Sino pang tatanghod sa dakong may burol?

Ako man’y piitin sa bulok na karsel,
At gawing alipin ng berdugong baliw.
Kahit na patayin ang ulirat, aliw,
Di kayang panasin ang pluma ko’t papel.

Journalists targeted for murder in bloody start to new year

Brussels, 9 January – The International News Safety Institute on Friday appealed to all parties involved in war and other conflicts to respect the independence and safety of journalists as the new year got off to one of its bloodiest beginnings ever for the world’s news media.

Warfare and other unrest claimed the lives of five journalists in the first eight days of 2009, the worst start to a new year since INSI began keeping records in 2003. More than 100 news media staff died in 2008.

There was significant evidence of journalists being targeted to silence their work.

“This is a dismaying start to the new year,” said INSI Director Rodney Pinder. “The deliberate targeting of journalists in war or peacetime is a crime and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

“Free societies cannot exist without press freedom and there is no press freedom where journalists are being killed because of their work.”

The first victim, a Somali radio reporter, fell on 1 January. Radio Shabelle correspondent Hassan Mayow Hassan was shot by a member of a pro-government militia in Afgooye, 30 km south of Mogadishu.

Hassan was with other journalists covering clashes between Islamist militants and armed groups that support the federal transitional government. When Hassan identified himself as a journalist a militant shot him twice in the head.

The most recent victim, on 8 January, was Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor in chief of the Sunday Leader and one of South Asia’s most prominent press freedom campaigners.

Gunmen ambushed his car as he drove to work, used crowbars to smash the windows and opened fire at close range.

Lasantha was the 16th member of the news media slain in Sri Lanka over the past three years as war rages between the government an the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

A delegation to Sri Lanka from the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission, which included INSI, reported that press freedom had deteriorated sharply over the previous year, marked by murders, attacks, abductions, intimidation and harassment of journalists.

It noted the authorities had taken little or no action over the killings even where there was evidence of identity of the perpetrators.

On 4 January, a suicide bomber in Pakistan killed at least seven people, including two journalists, Mohammad Imran and Tahir Awan of local dailies Eitedal and Apna Akhbar. The bomber struck when police, observed by journalists, were examining evidence of an earlier small explosion.

Two days later, a Palestinian cameraman, Basel Faraj, died of his wounds after being hit in an Israeli air strike in Gaza. Faraj, who worked for the Algerian TV network ENTV and the Palestine Broadcast Production Company, was filming with two reporters and another cameraman who were wounded.

The Palestine Journalists Syndicate (PJS) says Israeli forces have targeted vehicles and journalists clearly identified as such with “Press” or “TV” markings.

Two leading journalist support groups, The International Federation of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists, both INSI members, have accused the Israeli military of targeting Palestinian news media in the Gaza Strip while maintaining a ban on foreign journalists from entering the territory.

The CPJ, quoting regional news agencies, said Israeli forces on Monday fired two missiles into the offices of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala news weekly and a few minutes later bombed al-Rantisi printers, a commercial firm which publishes Al-Risala.

The IFJ said each day brought “more cynical violations of press freedom and the rights of journalists trying desperately to cover events unfolding in Gaza”.

INSI urges all warring parties to respect in letter and spirit UN Security Council Resolution 1738 of 2006 which demands an end to attacks on journalists in armed conflict.

“All parties in situations of armed conflict were urged to respect the professional independence and rights of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel as civilians,” the resolution says.

INSI’s Killing The Messenger tracker of news media casualties around the world counts at least 1,375 dead in the 12 years since 1996.

Any questions on this news release should be addressed to Rodney Pinder email or mobile +44 7734 709267

Aklan broadcaster survives assassination attempt

An Aklan broadcaster survived an alleged assassination attempt by unknown gunmen last Friday, January 2, 2009.

Cherie “Katribung Che” Indelible, 35, news director of dyYM (Community Broadcasting Information System), a local government-run radio station and anchorman of 98.5 Hot FM was riding his motorcycle on his way home in Kalibo City at 11:45 pm when he heard two gunshots apparently in his direction.

He was able to reach his house unhurt and immediately called the police. When he went outside a few minutes later, two more gun shots were fired forcing him to seek refuge inside St. Jude Hospital a few meters away.

Reports said police were able to recover slugs and spent cartridges from .38 and .45 caliber guns near Indelible’s house.

Indelible said some hospital workers and the security guard saw the two alleged gunmen hiding behind an electric post.

Police also informed him that they are now questioning three possible accomplices of the slay attempt. The three pointed to a certain Garmino and Salcedo, known to be involved in criminal activities in the area. Hot pursuit operations are now ongoing.

Indelible believes the assassination attempt is related to his commentaries. Anomalies in the audit findings of the Aklan Electrical Cooperative and issues surrounding the local government are just among the issues the broadcaster has been tackling in his programs.

He also received threats early last year, though there were none immediately prior to the incident.

Different local media organizations in Aklan have issued a joint resolution condemning the attack.#

IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office