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Editors receive death threats

(CMFR/IFEX) - Editors of a Davao City-based newspaper received death threats on 20 August 2009 for publishing stories allegedly biased for the city government.

Stella Estremera and Virginia "Gigie" Agtay, editor-in-chief and news editor, respectively, of "Sun Star Davao", received two threatening messages on 20 August. Both messages were sent through Agtay's mobile phone.

The first message arrived at around 7:20 p.m. (local time) warning Estremera that a single bullet could end her life if she remains "biased" for the city government. "Sun Star Davao" quoted the message: "Hi Stella, we know you're in the city government's payroll. But you should not forget that you could die with a single shot. Don't waste your talent. You're blinded from the truth. Be fair in reporting. Maybe you know what I mean. Don't be biased."

Another message came approximately two hours later (9:07 p.m.) asking Agtay to tell Estremera to be fair in her reports. The message, loosely translated from the original Visayan-Tagalog mix, said: "You've been regarded as an outstanding journalist, but you can't always be on top. A single bullet would be enough for you two."

In the "Sun Star Davao" report, Estremera denied that their news reports had been slanted in favour of the Davao City government. "(Our) stories can speak for themselves," she said in the report.

Estremera also denied being on the payroll of the city government.

CMFR tried to call the mobile number used in sending the threats, but it is no longer accessible. The incident has been reported to the local police.

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