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Television reporter assaulted by sports celebrity while pursuing story about him

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

Media workers in the Philippines threatened in their line of work

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has denounced the recent harassment of two media workers in separate incidents in which a television reporter was assaulted and death threats issued to a radio manager in the Philippines.

"The constant threat of violence to media personnel in the Philippines is a very serious public matter," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Government inaction has been occurring for far too long in addressing this shocking issue in which the Philippines' media continues to be an unjust and unsafe working environment," Park said.

Reporter and taxi driver attacked by Philippines' basketball star

According to IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), ABS-CBN reporter Gretchen Malalad was mauled by former professional basketball player Paul "Bong" Alvarez.

The incident occurred when she was attempting to interview taxi driver William Cabanlit, who reportedly claimed he was earlier kicked and hit in the face with a bottle by an intoxicated Alvarez on August 21.

Having refused to be interviewed in relation to the incident, Alvarez proceeded to attack Maladad in an attempt to prevent her from questioning Cabanlit.

Captured by an ABS-CBN cameraman, Alvarez reportedly elbowed the reporter in the face and neck, pulled her hair and punched her on the forehead, to which Malalad returned a hit in self-defence.

Malalad and Cabanlit have both filed separate complaints against Alvarez, who is currently detained at Mandaluyong police station.

Radio manager receives death threats

The IFJ was alarmed to learn of dzBB radio station manager Lily Uy receiving death threats after her souvenir shop and bakery was broken into over the weekend on August 18.

The NUJP reports that the unidentified men stole PHP 8,000 in cash before sending threatening text messages to the clerks, claiming that they would kill Uy and her family if she continued to criticise them.

Police are currently conducting an investigation into the incident and death threats.

"These attacks are direct attempts to not only endanger the lives of media workers and their loved ones, but to ultimately prevent the truth from being broadcast to the public," Park said.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries.

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