Press Club airs concern over media harassment-A A +A
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
THE Negros Press Club has issued statement expressing its deep concern over attempts to curtail the constitutional rights of Luisito "Chito" Berjit, Jr. over alleged irregularities of an elected public official.
Berjit who has a block time radio program at DYAF Radio Veritas Bacolod and program host of "Kokumentaryo", a local cable show aired over SMILE TV 10, sought the assistance of the club over allegation of harassment and continued personal persecution by Valladolid Mayor Rommel Yogore.
He claimed that the town mayor has been the subject of his exposes involving questionable projects in Valladolid.
Instead of answering the issues, Yogore allegedly refused and kept his silence despite numerous attempts to get his side.
Yogore through his legal counsel Reyfrando Diaz, II filed numerous libel cases against Berjit, some of which were already dismissed for lack of merit while others are pending before the local courts.
He also pressured DYAF and SMILE TV 10 management to cancel his program, claiming that Berjit used the airwaves to malign him.
Ranie Azue, NPC Committee Chair on Press Freedom, has reviewed the copy of the TV program aired last June 3, 2012 but there was no instance that the name of the mayor or anything related to his administration was tackled.
Berjit's program over Cable TV was unceremoniously suspended, based on unfounded allegations by Yogore and was taken without due process.
The use of judicial means and threats in harassing and suppressing journalists on his pursuit of public accountability and transparency in government office is a big blow to the whole media industry.
Public officials should not be onion-skinned and should refrain from using oppressive means in shutting the mouth of members of the fourth estate.
NPC also appealed to management of different media entities to observe due process on issues concerning the pursuit of his or her profession and refrain from giving in to pressures from politicians, individuals or groups to curtail freedom of expression.
The NPC officers are Arman Toga, President; Edgar Lucasan, Vice President; Clarence Locsin, Secretary; Aquilino Ciocon, Jr., Treasurer, Chrysee Samillano, Auditors and Directors Henry Cestina, Ranilo Azue, Adrian Nemes, III, Merlinda Pedrosa, Butch Bacaoco and Elmer Ubaldo (ex officio).
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 18, 2012.