CHR probes media harassment in Balubad

CHR probes media harassment in Balubad

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is conducting an investigation regarding the alleged harassment experienced by journalists while covering an incident at Sitio Balubad in Barangay Anunas, Angeles City on March 12, 2024.

Based on reports, the demolition team of Clarkhills Properties Corporation allegedly pointed a gun at K5 News Olongapo reporter Rowena Quejada.

The group reportedly took her phone, bag, and wallet and also called the media “demonyo.”

Another journalist, Rappler Luzon reporter Joann Manabat said she also received threats while taking videos of the demolition.

CHR Region III expressed concern over the incidents and said it has dispatched a Quick Response Operation to immediately conduct an investigation.

“We also take note of the swift action of the Angeles City government for condemning the said violent demolition and for pressing charges against the armed demolition team. We echo the call of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines for the Angeles City police and the local government to conduct their respective probe in order to immediately address this matter,” CHR Central Luzon said.

The agency added that it takes cognizance of the reports that the violent demolition also injured several residents in the area.

“We also remind all involved parties during the demolition incident to caution against the use of any violent force against civilians and media workers alike,” the commission said.

As an independent human rights institution, CHR said it condemns all acts of violence against journalists.

It added that these negatively impact the situation of press freedom of the country and may lead the Philippine democracy towards decay.

The agency cited the crucial role of the media in the upkeep of the information flow across all Filipinos and any threats which may deter them from fulfilling their duty is a clear violation of the freedom of the press.

“We reiterate our stance that members of the press must be able to practice their profession without any fear. Media safety, after all, sits at the core of a healthy democracy,” CHR said.

The agency called for the urgent resolution of this case and for all parties involved to fully cooperate with the investigation.

The agency expressed hope that the incident will serve as a reminder for government and law enforcement agencies to take proactive measures in ensuring a safe environment for all journalists.


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