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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Media groups hail release of Drilon et al

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:07:00 06/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines—The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued statements welcoming the release of ABS-CBN news anchor Ces Drilon, her two cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama, and Mindanao State University Prof. and peace advocate Octavio Dinampo.

Drilon, Encarnacion and Dinampo were released Tuesday night while Valderama was released on June 12 after their abduction by lawless elements in Kulasi village, Maimbung town in Sulu province on June 8.

“Their abduction is a terrible reminder of the dangers journalists face covering dangerous assignments in every part of the world,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

NUJP chair Jose Torres Jr. and secretary general Rowena Paraan expressed “great relief” at the safe release of the captives as well as gratitude to those who helped bring it about.

They said the kidnapping highlighted “a continuing problem” that added to the external dangers and threats to press freedom.

“Even as we welcome back our colleagues, we also urge everyone in our profession to reflect on this incident as a sober reminder of the risks we constantly face as we go about our work,” they said.

Torres and Paraan also said it was the responsibility of media owners and outfits “to ensure the safety and welfare of those they send into the field, even into the line of fire, to deliver the news to our audience.”

They added: “We urge everyone in the industry, from correspondents to media owners, to soberly reflect on this problem and come together to address this issue. We owe it to ourselves, to our families and to our audience.” Jerome Aning