As brazen as the next expected act, the secretary general of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) was red-tagged in a recently aired program via Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI).
Ronalyn Olea, NUJP secretary general and managing editor of long-running online news site Bulatlat.com, was labeled “operatibong internet operator” for the Communist Party of the Philippines by SMNI anchors. Not surprisingly, it was NTF-ELCAC’s (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) former spokesperson Lorraine Badoy who made the claim.
Media workers and supporters denounced the act, as it comes on the heels of the killing of veteran broadcast journalist Percy Lapid, followed shortly by online threats against broadcast journalists Ed Lingao and Lourd de Veyra.
Most recently, GMA-7 broadcast journalist JP Soriano was “visited” by a police officer in plain clothes who claimed they were making a “well-being and safety check”. Policemen also came unannounced to check on veteran broadcasters Noel Alamar and David Oro. ABS-CBN reporter Adrian Ayalin also had a similar encounter while dzXL reporter Lourdes Escaros was visited by a police officer in plain clothes at her radio station.
Police authorities had owned up to the house-to-house visits saying the move was to ensure media security and put a quick stop to it. However, the initiative stirred up alarm and concern regarding access to the involved media practitioners’ personal information by the police.
NUJP North America supports its national directorate in stating that these meetings and dialogues are best done in newsrooms, various press corps, press clubs and journalists organizations, instead of unannounced visits in homes.
Once again, NUJP NAM is expressing condemnation over the barrage of harassment against media workers in the Philippines are facing, albeit the installation of the new government led by Pres. Bongbong Marcos. We are expressing grave concern that there appears to be minimal intervention from the new government to protect Filipino working journalists.
An even greater cause for alarm is the fact that law enforcers and police agents are involved in such harassment. Simply put, a threatened fourth estate is a threatened democracy and the people’s right to know.
We in NUJP North America are calling on the Philippine government to exercise its mandate to bolster protection for media workers and put to justice perpetrators of senseless acts of violence against media workers. We stand with Len and the hundreds of media workers who continue to fight for press freedom amidst threats to their lives and livelihood.
Uphold and protect the freedom of the press!
Stop media killings and harassment!
Journalism is not terrorism!