COTABATO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 4, 2010) – A group of Filipino journalists based in Cotabato City have received apparent death threats — the second in a month — raising new security concerns and putting their lives at risk.
Mindanao journalists receive threatening texts: “Mga gongong kayo mga media. Mamamatay tao. Baket takot kayo. Mga gago kayo media (Stupid media. Killers. Why are you afraid. You in the media are stupid), were sent through cell phone number 0949-4563979.
They were also sent to the same group of journalists and workers at the Bureau of Public Information of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
It was the second time that the workers and journalists were threatened.
They also received this text message: “Humanda kayo mga medya, lentek kayo, bakho kayo (Be warned, you in the media).”
The motive of the text sender was still unknown but the journalists who received the threats have reported the matter to the authorities.
Last year, at least 57 people were killed—among them 31 journalists—in Maguindanao province in southern Mindanao by gunmen who were allegedly followers of the feared and powerful Ampatuan clan.
Many members of the clan themselves are facing multiple-murder charges in connection with the Maguindanao massacre of November 23, 2009.
The Philippines is listed by international press watchdogs, such as Reporters Without Borders, as one of the most dangerous areas for journalists, along with Iraq and Afghanistan. (With a report from Mark Navales)