ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 5, 2010) A group of suspicious-looking men have been spotted near the office of the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines and were believed conducting surveillance on staff workers.
The unidentified men, whose spoke in Tausug, a dialect widely used in the Muslim province of Sulu, were reported tailing staff members. Civilians claimed the men were using motorcycles and old cars to observe the media workers.
One witness said he saw three suspicious men on two different cars randomly observing staff members shortly after the village elections in October where its reporters covered the polls in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
Last week, one of its reporters in Cotabato was also threatened along with other journalists based in the city for a still unknown reason. But the threats were unlikely connected to the activities of the men conducting surveillance of the firm’s staff workers in Zamboanga City.
Last year, an unidentified assailant fired one shot from a pistol at the editorial office of the newspaper in Zamboanga City, but the bullet hit its steel door. Reports have been made to authorities about the matter and possible suspects.
The Mindanao Examiner was founded in 2005, then called the Zamboanga Journal, and has also ventured into online news, cable television broadcast, video productions and offered photography services.
The Philippines is considered as one of the most deadliest places for journalists in the world. Also last year, at least 32 journalists, who were among over two dozen people accompanying a political caravan in Maguindanao province, had been brutally killed by gunmen who were allegedly followers of a powerful Muslim clan in the country's worst political killings. (Mindanao Examiner)