Columnist gets death threat for article criticizing government

alerts-button-1.jpgThe Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is alarmed that a Philippine columnist has received death threats for an article she wrote criticising government affairs.

According to the National Union Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), “Malaya” columnist Ellen Tordesillas received an e-mailed death threat shortly after she sent in her article on 12 November 2006.

The threat came from a “Daniel Perez” with the e-mail address, danie11aperez@yahoo.com.

The message said: “What kind of death do you prefer? To die of cancer? To die of accident? To die of ambush? To die of heart attack due to your libel suit? Masyado kang matapang ha? Puro banat mo sa Pangulo dahil hindi ka napartehan ng gracia kahit kaunti. Your days are numbered.”

Tordesillas is one of 43 journalists facing criminal libel suits filed by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

SEAPA joins the NUJP’s call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to immediately track down the sender of the threat.

In its 12 November 2006 statement, the NUJP said, “Given the rising number of journalists’ death in this county, authorities cannot afford to dismiss this blatant threat against Ms Tordesillas.”

“Any harm that befalls a member of the Philippine press is a crime that lies squarely on the feet of this administration, which already has a record of having had the most number of media deaths compared to its predecessors.

“President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has asked the Melo Commission to investigate the deaths of our colleagues. We challenge her now to prevent one more death in the media community.”

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