Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

Zamboanga City council told to apologize to journalist

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 11, 2008

For ‘persona non grata’ tag

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 16:46:00 08/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — International and local media groups on Monday demanded that the Zamboanga City council apologize to a journalist it had declared “persona non grata” for filing what the local legislature claimed were “unfavourable news reports.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), in a statement, said it was joining its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) “in demanding the Zamboanga City Council issue a formal apology” to Al Jacinto, a reporter of, “for the inflammatory statement and for instigating unnecessary anti-media sentiment.”

“Personal condemnation of a journalist on the basis of their reporting through a formal council resolution is an act of harassment and an attack on press freedom,” the IFJ’s Asia-Pacific office said.

The Zamboanga council declared Jacinto persona non grata last August 7 for his reports on the opposition of several groups in the Mindanao City to the controversial Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

An earlier statement from the NUJP chapter in Zamboanga said the city council had apparently fle that Jacinto’s reports had brought “shame to the city.”

However, it said Jacinto’s reports merely “quoted from different sources duly identified in the articles. They were uttered by personalities campaigning against the controversial and emotional BJE issue.”

“All parties involved must understand the important duty of journalists to report fairly on all sides, and intimidation of this kind can not be tolerated,” the IFJ said.

The declaration against Jacinto was made the same day Radio Mindanao Network anchorman Martin Roxas was murdered in Capiz province, and two days before another broadcaster of the network, Dennis Cuesta, died from injuries he suffered when he was shot in General Santos City on August 4.

“As the Philippines media mourns the murder of two broadcast journalists last week,” the IFJ said it was “dismayed at this unwarranted incitement of anti-media sentiment by authority figures not only towards Jacinto but all journalists in the Philippines.”


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