By Joey Natividad
LEGASPI CITY (BicolToday.com) – Foreign journalists on Tuesday (July 31) expressed concern over the latest reported threats on two media practitioners.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said by email the association is deeply concerned to learn of threats made against two media practitioners, Leonard “Leo” Balsarza, Jr. and Lamberto Doronela, in the Bicol Region of the Philippines.
The Philippines has long been considered as amongst the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers. Over 150 journalists have been killed in the line of duty in the Philippines since 1986.
IFJ’s affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), was informed that Mayon Times Publisher, Balsarza,, received a .38 calibre bullet in a brown envelope with the words “Doronela and Balsarza Warning” written on the front in red ink.
“It is alarming to see threats made against journalists who are simply engaged in reporting legitimate issues concerning their local community,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ calls for a full investigation to be conducted into the threats, with a view to ensuring these threats are not repeated,” said Park.
The 63 year old publisher reported earlier that his son found the envelope at the front door of their family home in Lagazpi City on the morning of July 27. Balsarza also said a witness saw a person wearing a mask on board of a motorcycle near their house.
It is believed that Doronela refers to Lamberto Doronela, a columnist at the Mayon Times and host at a local radio station in Legazpi City.
Doronela told the NUJP he often writes about diverse local issues, using a variety of informants and denies having personal dealings with people involved in the issues he writes about. [BicolToday.com]
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