NUJP statement on the recent attack against columnist from Ilocos Norte

The NUJP condemns the attempt on the life of Ilocos Norte weekly columnist Steve Barreiro on Friday night.

News reports said a grenade was hurled at Barreiro’s garage as the columnist for the Ilocos Times was about to enter his house in Rizal St, Brgy 23 after he had parked his vehicle around 11 p.m.

The reports quoted Barreiro as saying that the grenade apparently landed inside a water-filled jar, thus diffusing the blast and sparing his life, although his houseboy, Michael Diza, was wounded in the eye by shrapnel.

“The blast was meant for me and this has something to do with my work,” Barreiro was quoted as saying.

“I have an [idea] as to who might want to get me but I am declining to name names until further investigation,” he added.

In an interview, Barreiro said the attack may have had something to do with recent columns he has been writing about a politician. He added that he had hired security aides last month after he was told by a local official that he had been targeted for assassination.

This latest assault on a member of the media is clear proof that the enemies of press freedom continue to operate with impunity.

And it is clear that this remains so because of a government that has failed to send a clear signal to the enemies of press freedom by acting forcefully to stop the attacks, solve the killings and ensure that the perpetrators and, most importantly, the masterminds, are caught, prosecuted, convicted and jailed.

While there are some offices that have shown progress in trying to solve the murders and other attacks on journalists, unless the center of power itself, Malacañang, and its occupant send an unequivocal message to stop the killings and other attacks on the press, unless this administration shows a true appreciation and respect for the role media play in preserving our rights and liberties, whatever efforts have been undertaken will amount to nothing.

Nestor P. Burgos, Jr.


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