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IFJ concerned by slow reaction to media and human rights violations

(IFJ/IFEX) - July 18, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists joins its affiliate the National Union of Philippines (NUJP) in expressing disappointment in the delayed and minor punishment given to the perpetrator of an assault on a radio journalist in the Philippines in June 2011.

The IFJ reported on the incident, in which Kalinga Governor Jocel Baac forced himself into the announcer's booth of radio station dzRK in Tabuk, Kalinga on June 7 last year, and hit radio commentator Jerome Tabanganay, of the government-owned station, several times using a microphone. Before leaving the booth Baac also threatened Tabanganay, saying "talk again and I will kill you".

The entire incident was caught on video, web-streamed via the internet and heard live by listeners of Radyo ng Bayan-Kalinga, the only radio station operating in the area.

It took over thirteen months for the Philippines authorities to decide on a punishment for Governor Baac, which was one month's administrative suspension but no criminal charges.

The IFJ joins the NUJP in expressing disappointment, not only in the time taken for a resolution of the case but also that the outcome was merely an administrative suspension without any criminal charges, despite the serious nature of the attack.

"This incident was an example of the unacceptable use of violence and intimidation against media workers, that is seen all too often in the Philippines," said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

"The IFJ calls on the Philippine authorities to ensure that breaches of press freedom are dealt with in a timely manner and that punishments reflect the serious nature of such crimes".

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