Leyte media group denounces threats

TACLOBAN City—Even as the world celebrates the   World Press Freedom Day, Tacloban City mediamen on Friday condemned the blatant attempt of some individuals to silence a local AM radio station here. A day after An Waray Partylist Representative Florencio “Bem” Noel, a mayoralty candidate of this city, stormed DYBR and tried to grab the microphone from Manuel Marta, a block timer, a male caller threatened to throw a grenade at the station if Marta would not stop talking about the incident. Last April 26, 2013, Cong. Noel barged into the announcer’s booth of DYBR and demanded that he be allowed to answer the issues raised against him by the block-time anchorman.  When Marta refused, citing lack of material time, the lawmaker allegedly tried to grab the microphone from the radioman. Marta had filed a case of harassment and intimidation against the partylist representative before the office of the Commission on Election. DYBR tied black ribbons around its premises while its employees wore black armbands to condemn the attack on press freedom and to raise awareness on the importance of the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Danilo Requiez, station manager of DYBR, said that the theme for this year’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day,  “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” was  very timely since it became an opportunity to assess the state of press freedom throughout the country and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The Committee to Protect Journalists has meanwhile released its annual list of countries where journalists were murdered regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. The group’s 2013 Impunity Index is led by Iraq, followed by Somalia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, and Brazil. (Below  us Narta’s letter of complaint against  Rep. Noel  addressed to DYBR station manager and sent to the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.)


Atty. Ma. Corazon B. Sudario General Manager DYBR Station/PRTV Station   Madam,   Greetings! The incident that happened inside DYBR’s station whereby Cong. Florencio “Bem” Noel barged into the announcers booth, last April 26,20L3 was a clear violation of the press freedom of expression. It was a blatant disregard of respect of the Institution we represent. Bringing along with him armed bodyguard and forcing himself inside the announcer’s booth to exercise his right to reply was also a violation of the right to reply provision in the Fair Election Act. It is in the above mentioned reason{s) that I seek for your intervention/assistance through the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas {KBP National Office}, as the KBP Region did not lift a finger to investigate must less act on the incident. While I am only a block timer it is my firm belief that the Institution of the Press still covers my protection as I exercise the freedom of expression. Today as the World Press Freedom is being celebrated, I am praying that we can unite the media community to fight to protect our freedom of expression. I remain,   Very Respectfully Yours, Manuel “Mannix” Marta
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