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PIA Press Release

KBP sees no need to arm journalists

by Cristina Arzadon

Laoag City (18 June) -- The Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas here sees no need to arm journalists to protect themselves against officials they routinely criticize.

Irineo Ibalio, president of KBP-Ilocos Norte, said a proposal for journalists to carry guns as a protection will not solve media killings in the country.

Local reporters here have individually proposed that they bear arms to protect themselves from being potential targets of assassination.

Ibalio said instead of arming members of the press especially broadcaster who are favourite targets of killings, they only need to revisit the Radio Code and go by its tenets.

"The Code should safeguard journalists. We also need to be reminded that sometimes reporters go overboard which result in displeasure on the part of officials who are the subject of harsh criticisms," he said.

Ibalio said the KBP is set to lay down various steps meant to safeguard members of the press. The KBP along with other local media groups will also offer a financial assistance to Jovelito Agustin, a commentator of dzjc-Aksyon Radio, who was gunned down on Tuesday night.

He said reporters who receive threats, whether serious or imaginary, should sound off their station managers or their media friends about the circumstances of such threats to help in the investigation in case the threats escalate or result in killing.

"The moment a reporter receives a threat, he or she should make it known to anyone belonging to his circle," he said.

Meanwhile, the PNP is close to identifying the suspects behind the Agustin's murder.

Agustin and his nephew Joseph were riding home to Bacarra town on board a motorcycle when gunmen on board another motorcycle shot and killed Agustin.

Pol. Supt. Sterling Blanco, Laoag City police chief, said Agustin's nephew who survived the ambush told investigators that the gunmen looked and sounded familiar.

Blanco said the police are working closely with Agustin's nephew so that he could give distinct descriptions of the gunmen including the motorcycle they used.

Blanco said it was possible that the gunmen could be residents in the same town.

Agustin has been known to routinely criticize cases of irregularities in his hometown including graft and corruption where local officials are involved. (PIA) [top]

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