STATEMENT of NUJP Davao and KBP Davao: Stop harassing the press

To attack a broadcaster right inside the announcer's booth while he is doing his work is the height of brazenness that a government official can do. It only reflects the government official's disrespect and ignorance of media's role as watchdog of democracy, a role that should always be protected.

Sembrano was in the midst of his radio program, where he criticized Compostela Valley Provincial Board Member Neri Barte for promising to give out 50 sacks of cement from the provincial government if candidate Jaime Blanco for barangay captain will win in the barangay election, when Barte barged in with his wife and daughter and physically attacked him.

When Sembrano tried to stop them, Barte allegedly drew out his gun and threatened to kill him.

For a government official to do this brazen attack and get away with it only shows the kind of democracy we have in the country where journalists are not only paid very low wages but are also getting killed for doing their work.

Sembrano's attack came Wednesday (October 24), a day before the attempted slay of two radio blocktimers in Digos, Davao del Sur, Marlan Malnegro and Ruben Oliverio who were on a motorcycle from Radyo Ukay when men on motorcycles fired at them and missed.

We call on our colleagues in the print, broadcast and online media to rally behind and fight these latest attempts to harass and suppress the press.

We call on the government to educate both its appointed and elected officials, like Barte, that public interests have to come first before personal interest, and that the people's right to know has to be protected at all cost.

We call on all our media colleagues to stay united in the face of these harassments and attacks against press freedom.

For Reference:

Carmelito Francisco
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Davao Chapter

Roy Geonzon
Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP), Davao Chapter