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Broadcaster threatened in southern Philippines

(IFJ/IFEX) - October 25, 2010 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on authorities in the southern Philippines to take immediate action to investigate death threats against Manny Agustero, of dxIF-Bombo Radyo, in Cagayan de Oro.

Agustero received four calls on the evening of October 20, after an on-air discussion about alleged illegal gambling operations on October 18, in which he reported that the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) had complained to the city council over the alleged proliferation of illegal lottery outlets.

The first of the unidentified callers told him "he would be the next journalist to fall", a chilling reminder of the fact that journalists are routinely murdered in the Philippines.

Another caller on a different phone number called shortly after saying Agustero would be killed the following day. Another two calls were made, threatening he would be shot in the head, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate.

"The IFJ demands an immediate police investigation into the threats against Agustero, and reminds President Benigno Aquino of the IFJ's appeal for his government to take credible action to end the culture of impunity in the Philippines," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Threats like these again highlight the extreme dangers for media workers in the Philippines, especially those who report in the public interest on allegations of corruption and crime."

The NUJP reports that another broadcaster, Nilo Labares, of dxCC-Radio Mindanao, survived a shooting attack after reporting on the same topic in early 2009.

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