Archive: Journalists face grisly threats in Philippines


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On average seven journalists have been killed every year in the Philippines since Cory Aquino came to power. David Robie reports on a record of intimidation that is even worse than under the Marcos regime.

By David Robie in The Dominion

Death threats are all part of the job for Filipino journalist Edgar Cadagat. Bullets in the mail, “Your days are numbered” pamphlets, potshots and threatening phone calls are uncomfortably frequent.

Once, when the threats became too hot, Cadagat and his colleagues sandbagged the plate glass windows of their news agency office in Bocolod City on the central island of Negros.

But nithing has quite matched the Christmas “gift” Cadagat received in December. Arriving by special delivery from a private mail firm, he was immediately suspicious when the bulky looking envelope was put on his desk.

“I thought it was a bomb at first,” recalls Cadagat, a correspondent for international news agencies and a key official in the Union of Journalists of the Philippines. It turned out to be a cardboard miniature coffin.

"Journalists face grisly threats in Philippines"
“Journalists face grisly threats in Philippines”, The Dominion, 22 February 1991.
David Robie
David Robie
Dr David Robie was previously founding director and professor of journalism at AUT’s Pacific Media Centre (PMC). He worked with postgraduate student journalists to edit Pacific Media Watch - a daily digital archive of dispatches about Pacific journalism and media, ethics and professionalism. The PMC also jointly published the high profile independent Pacific Scoop news website with industry partner, Scoop Media, and Asia Pacific Report, which David now edits independently in partnership with Evening Report: David is also the founding editor of Pacific Journalism Review (PJR).
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