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Mindanao broadcaster receives death threats

(CMFR/IFEX) - A radio broadcaster in Cagayan de Oro City has been receiving threatening text messages (SMS) and phone calls since 14 July 2011. Cagayan de Oro City is approximately 789 kilometers south of Manila.

Ronnie Waniwan, an anchor and programme director for dxCO Radyo Asenso (Progress Radio), told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), that the latest threat came via a phone call from an unidentified person on 20 July 2011. The caller told him "(his) time will come".

Most of the threats were sent during his news and commentary programmes "Lampornas" (morning) and "Bulgaranay" (noontime). The unidentified perpetrators used the mobile numbers +639497516667 and +639393192981 to send the threats.

One of the text messages read: "You're a son of a bitch Waniwan. Watch out if you ever go out of your house. We have already gathered information about you." Another message said: "I have released your data to criminals." CMFR tried calling the mobile numbers but was unable to speak to anyone. One appeared to have already been disconnected. CMFR's calls to +639393192981 were not answered.

In a phone interview with CMFR on 21 July, Waniwan said he was unsure who was sending the threats, but that he believes they are connected to local political issues he has been discussing on his two programmes. The broadcaster, however, added, "It would be unfair to name certain politicians as I really don't know who has been threatening me."

The number of journalists killed has declined, but there has been an increase in the number of threats against Filipino broadcasters and journalists in 2011. One hundred and twenty Filipino journalists and media workers have been killed in the line of duty since 1986. Death threats are taken seriously in the Philippines. Most of the journalists and broadcasters killed since 1986 received threatening messages before they were killed.

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