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In Philippines, broadcaster threatened for commenting on extrajudicial killings

This statement was originally published on on 13 January 2015.

A broadcaster in Cagayan de Oro City received threats through text messages on 12 January 2015 after his commentary on the extrajudicial killings in the city, which allegedly involve city police officials. Cagayan de Oro City is 1403 kilometers south of Manila.

"If you are not going to stop with your comments on air about the killings Junel Ukat, you will have to face us. Are you not happy with your life? Are you tired of it? We can force you to rest so you will not suffer from talking too much about people you have no business with," read the text message [in translation] in the local Cebuano language which was sent at 7:55 am to Bombo Radyo Cagayan de Oro news director Junel Ucat.

Ucat anchors the radio programs Bombo Reports Second Edition and the Zona Libre (Free Zone) which air on diXF Bombo Radyo Cagayan from Mondays to Saturdays 6:30 to 7:00 a.m. and 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., respectively.

"We will take one of you so you will know how bigheaded you have become," said another [translated] text message Ucat received at 8:40 a.m.

Ucat told the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility in a phone interview that he received the text messages after discussing a 2014 report on extrajudicial killings in the city. He said he was going to interview the new regional police director regarding the killings but was unable to contact the latter.

Ucat said the station has reported the threats to police officials and requested the National Bureau of Investigation to look into them.

Celso Maldecir, Bombo Radyo Cagayan de Oro station manager, told Ucat not to report for work and to "lie low" for a while for his own safety, according to a Sun.Star report.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Safety tips for journalists under threat

    Journalists should not be cowed by such threats, but they must take steps to protect themselves. CMFR provides some tips that must always be kept in mind:

  • Philippines: End police torture, killings

    The Philippine government of President Benigno Aquino III should take decisive action against torture and extrajudicial killings by the police and other state security forces, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2015.

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