August 11, 2019

The National Union of Journalists decries the increasing incidence of what can only be described as targeted attacks on members of the critical media.

Recently, our Bacolod chapter chairperson, Marchel Espina, was tailed by a suspicious motorcycle rider as she returned from covering the string of killings in Negros Oriental province.

Espina was trying to discover who were behind the killings, most of whose victims had been vilified as supporters of the communist rebel movement.

Just this week, US citizen Brandon Lee, a correspondent of Northern Dispatch and a human rights worker, was shot and seriously wounded in Ifugao province, where he has been living for close to a decade.

Before the attack, Lee, along with several other activists, had reportedly been accused of links to the rebels and harassed by the military.

And on Friday, August 9, Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao spewed vitriol at the noted independent outfit Mindanews, accusing it of being funded by what he claims is a front of the US Central Intelligence Agency even as he insinuated that it also could have links with leftist rebels.

Although separate and seemingly unrelated to each other, the three incidents appear to be the growing penchant for red-tagging independent media outfits, organizations, and journalists by agents and minions of a government that has proven itself unable to accept and tolerate crticism and dissent.

But we are certain that the community of independent Filipino journalists will not buckle to the pressure. Nor will it take this sitting down.

Those in this dispensation who are actively involved in attempts to intimidate the media should be warned that not only will your efforts be in vain, there will be an accounting and you will be made answerable for your willful participation in these attacks on freedom of the press and of expression and other basic human rights.

National Directorate