Armed Journalist

Journalists are often told that we shouldn’t be involved in organizing/ politics. That in order to be completely objective, it’s important to be an observer, not a participant.

To me, this is a little ironic. And a privileged thing to say. Unfortunate isn’t it? That speaking the truth, doing your job as a journalist is something that you can be killed for.

For the journalists in the Philippines, they have two choices. One: stay silent, support the status quo, report celebrity news, don’t ruffle the establishment’s fetters, stay alive. Or two: do your job, speak up for those who can’t, challenge the establishment, risk your life, risk your family.

In order to do their job, they don’t have the privilege to just stay on the sidelines. They have to fight for the integrity of their profession and for the truth. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they’re not the only ones who are being killed for doing the right thing. Hopefully if you’ve been following anything I send out, you know that everyone who is fighting for the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the Philippines are being threatened. If those in power see that you’re asking questions, they’ll find a way to shut you up. It’s a sorry state of affairs in our homeland.

There are days when I question why I wanted to be a journalist in the first place. Looking at the conditions the journalists in the Philippines face and their bravery in risking their lives to report what the people are going through, it reminds me really quick.

For more information on the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines: http://www.nujp.org/

UPDATE: Another journalist has been killed: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100621-276729/Another-journalist-killed

REPOSTED FROM www.bulatlat.com

Text and photo by ARTEMIO A. DUMLAO
Bulatlat.com

BAGUIO CITY — Rather than be cowed, a journalist prefers to be armed for protection, at the heels of another media killing, the second this week.

Broadcaster-anchorman Joselito Agustin, 37, more popularly known as “Aksyon Lito” of DZJC Aksyon Radyo in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding assassins Tuesday night. He died early morning Wednesday, making him the 139th journalist killed since 1986 and the 102nd since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

Police said Agustin and his nephew, who always went with him at the radio station, were driving home along the boundary of Laoag City and Baccarra town at around 9 p.m. when two unidentified gunmen came close and began firing at them. Agustin suffered four gunshot wounds from a 45-caliber pistol, while his nephew is now being treated for gunshot wounds on his foot and leg.

Earlier, gunmen armed with assault rifles strafed the house of Agustin in barangay Natba, Bacarra town apparently to scare him.

Agustin’s killing came after broadcaster Desidario Camangyan of Sunshine-FM in Mati, Davao Oriental, was shot at close range by an unidentified gunman Monday night, while hosting an amateur singing contest in Manay town.

Camangyan immediately died from a single shot to the head, witnessed by the audience, which included his wife and 6-year-old son, according to NUJP. (Bulatlat.com)

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