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Broadcaster Escapes Assassination Attempt

8 June 2005

Broadcaster Escapes Assassination Attempt

MANILA (CMFR/Pacific Media Watch): On 19 May 2005, a radio broadcaster barely escaped an attempt on his life when his parked car was fired upon a few minutes before he got in the vehicle. The incident took place in Pangasinan province, approximately 170 km north of Manila.

Allan Sison, operations manager of dzRH-Dagupan radio station in Pangasinan, heard a gunshot at around 1:00 p.m. (local time), just as he was preparing to leave a hotel where he attended a wedding reception. As he opened the company vehicle, he saw a bullet hole in the driver's window.

"Perhaps the suspect thought I was already inside our patrol car," Sison told a local Pangasinan newspaper. Sison said the incident was related to his hard-hitting commentaries. He claimed he saw the subject of his commentaries near the hotel before the shooting occurred.

The Lingayen police chief said the attack was an attempt to kill Sison. "The car's windows were tinted, so it was hard for anyone to see inside the car," Chief Superintendent Ricardo Zapata said.

The suspect was identified as a local politician in Lingayen. Zapata, however, refused to reveal the name.

Sison said he had been receiving threats through phone calls and text messages (short messaging service). The latest threat came as he was discussing the P5 million (approx. US$91,600) media fund project of House Speaker Jose de Venecia and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, amid the series of killings of journalists in the country. The threatening text message said, "You will be the first to use that de Venecia project."

The Pangasinan Tri-Media Association, Inc. (Patrima), a group of journalists based in Dagupan City, condemned the attack, saying it was "a direct assault on the media institution and needs the prompt response of government investigative agencies."

In its statement, Patrima said the incident was an indication that "the peaceful province of Pangasinan could now be witnessing the first local stirrings of the culture of violence against mediamen."



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

(c)1996-2005 Copyright - All rights reserved.


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