Fortunately for Ronaldo Doong of Radyo Ukay in Digos, his attacker’s gun jammed. But this did not stop the attacker from sending Doong to the hospital by kicking the broadcaster’s motorcycle, sending him and his companion to the pavement, and leaving him with a warning to stop broadcasting or face more harm.
The attack on Doong was clearly meant to silence him, either permanently or, failing that, to instill enough fear in him to do so.
The arrogance with which the would-be assassin assaulted Doong even after the gun jammed is impunity at its most brazen. The attacker was so confident that he would get away with it.
And why not? Not only was he most likely backed by a powerful mastermind, he most probably believed, and with good reason, that, had he succeeded, the case would end up like the many other cases of journalists’ murders in this benighted country – unsolved because of official inaction and apathy.
This is highlighted by the fact that the Saturday assault on Doong happened just hours before Ernie Rollin of dxSY-AM in Oroquieta City, murdered February 23, was laid to rest amid the admission of authorities that they have yet to find any leads on his killers.
As the list of murdered, threatened and harassed journalists grows, and the longer nothing is done to stop and solve these attacks, it becomes increasingly difficult to dispel the suspicion that all these assaults on press freedom do not enjoy government’s tacit approval.
Not only has government failed to stop the killings and bring those behind these crimes to justice, it has also invariably resorted to labeling those whose only fault is to demand that it perform its sworn duty, to protect its citizenry and uphold our freedoms and liberties.
Worse, this administration in particular has actually attempted the wholesale muzzling of the press.
Thus, while we again stress that we do not believe there is an official policy to assault journalists, we also say that this administration’s silence and inaction are, at best, an appalling apathy to the violation of our rights and those of the public we serve and, at worst, a silent approval of the ultimate form of censorship.
Nonoy Espina, NUJP vice chairperson
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