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Philippines: Armed Men Torch a Community Radio

Philippines: Armed Men Torch a Community Radio

PARIS (RSF/Pacific Media Watch): A gang of at least eight masked and armed men raided and torched a community radio on 2 July 2006, first tying up six members of staff, who were slightly injured.

Reporters Without Borders condemned the attack on Radyo Cagayano, in Cagayan province, northern Manila, which it said threatened press freedom yet again in this far-flung corner of the country.

"We call for the investigation ordered by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to shed light on this case, that those responsible be brought to trial and that the Philippines government takes the necessary steps to bring these types of attack to a halt," said the press freedom organisation.

The overnight raiders threatened the six employees who were on the premises at the time, including the radio station's director, Susan Mapa, before binding them and setting fire to the building. The shocked members of staff were able to leave the radio and were only slightly injured.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has accused the army of carrying out the raid on the basis of indications provided by the staff. It also condemned inaction by the police. Although based only 300 metres from the radio, they only arrived on the scene three hours after the attack.

"The army is the only group with a motive to launch such an attack, said leftist lawmaker Teodoro Casino. They have been very much the targets of programmes on this radio station," he said. Lieut. Col. Leopoldo Galon Jr however denied any involvement on the part of the military.

This attack is the latest in a long series generally carried out against leftist figures and activists.



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