Ieri anche il canale satellitare BBC World ha parlato di Somalia. Uno dei tre magnifici documentari sul 75esimo anniversario del World Service, il mitico London Calling, era dedicato all'Africa, insieme all'Afghanistan una delle aree in cui le onde corte hanno ancora un ruolo fondamentale. Anche là dove aleggia l'illusione di un processo democratico in divenire, la stampa e la radio libere fanno paura e i commentatori "scomodi" vengono confutati a colpi di arresti, rapimenti e pistolettate. A volte sotto il silenzio (accondiscendente?) delle truppe di occupazione di turno, che guarda caso trovano molto pratico agire lontano dagli sguardi indiscreti di quei rompicoglioni di giornalisti e oppositori. Proprio un bello schifo.
Non posso far molto, se non onorare la memoria di tante vittime della libertà di parola, attraverso i loro nomi e quelli delle loro stazioni radio. Provate a ricordali anche voi, "che vivete sicuri nelle vostre tiepide case, voi che trovate tornando a sera il cibo caldo e visi amici."
Radio commentator killed
ZAMBOANGA CITY: Malacañang [il palazzo presidenziale filippino, come dire, la Casa Bianca, o la Casa Rosada, NdR] has ordered investigation of the murder of Ferdie Lintuan, a Davao City-based radio broadcaster shot dead in a daring broad daylight attack in the southern Philippine port city of Davao on Monday.
Police said Lintuan, a commentator of radio DXGO, was with two other media men in his car when ambushed and killed by still unidentified men just outside the radio station where he was working. He was instantly killed in the attack that occurred around 10 a.m.
Malacañang has directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct the probe of the killing of a Davao City broadcaster on Monday. In a text message, Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, said the government will not allow perpetrators of the killing go unpunished, appealing to the members of Davao media organizations to help the victim’s family.
“We condemn the murder of Davao radioman Ferdie Lintuan who was shot in his car as he stopped at the junction. He came from [his] radio program at station DXGO. Two media companions Lucio Ceniza and Edgar Banzon were not hurt,” Dureza said in his message. “We are asking the police and the NBI to investigate this. The government will not allow this criminal act to go unpunished. We are coordinating with Davao media groups in providing assistance to the grieving family. Lintuan, a widower, is taking care of four school-aged children.”
“We still don’t know the motive [behind] the killing,” policeman Anthony Suniel told The Manila Times by phone from Davao City. “There is an investigation going on.”
Lintuan’s killing was condemned by the National Press Club and the Alyansa ng Filipinong Mamamahayag. No other details of the Lintuan killing were made available by the police, but extrajudicial killings are rampant in Davao, where several journalists also had been murdered in the past. Among them were Ed Palomares, Cezar Magalang, Narciso Balani and Rogie Zagado in 1987 and Juan Pala Jr. in 2003.
The Press Club noted that Lintuan’s cold-bloodied death came on the heels of the ambushes in Davao on two more hard-hitting radio commentators, Armando “Rachman” Pace and Jun Pala. Recently, three journalists—broadcaster Alexander Adonis and newspapermen Roger Flaviano and Tony Figueroa—in Davao were convicted of libel for working true to the definition of press freedom. In addition, media men working in Davao complained of numerous death threats faced by some of them. Last week, freelance journalist Romelito Oval Jr., was also killed and his body buried in a shallow grave on a remote village in Butuan City, Agusan del Sur province, also in the southern Mindanao region. To date, more than 900 persons have been killed and hundreds missing since President Gloria Arroyo took office in 2001, according to the United Methodist News Service. Among the victims are dozens of lawyers, judges and church leaders.
In October, a Filipino broadcaster, Jose Pantoja, was shot and seriously wounded in front of the Mindanao State University in Iligan City, Lanao del Sur province. The attacker fled after the shooting. In August, unidentified gunman also shot and wounded another broadcaster, Manuel Kong, of the radio station DXSN, in Surigao City, Surigao del Sur province.
Five journalists have been killed and two others wounded in separate attacks in the Philippines since early this year, according to the nongovernment National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an affiliate of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Last week, the Federation hailed the arrests of two suspects in the 2001 murder of Rolando Ureta, a radio journalist in Aklan province.
It said the arrests of Jessie Ticar and Amador Raz “underline why it is so important that police continue to investigate crimes against journalists in order to ensure that attackers are brought to justice and no longer pose a threat to the media and to all of society.” The Federation represents more than 600,000 journalists in 120 countries.
“The IFJ joins the NUJP in welcoming the arrests and moves by the police and the courts to pursue cases of felony against journalists. The action should send a message that perpetrators of crimes against journalists will indeed be punished in accordance with the law,” said the Federation in a statement released through National Union of Journalists in the Philippines.
Ticar surrendered to the police on December 18, announcing his surrender on air while being interviewed over radio station dyKR in Aklan’s provincial capital Kalibo, the same station were Ureta worked as program director and anchorman before he was gunned down on January 3, 2001. Raz was nabbed on November 26 in Numancia town on the strength of a warrant issued on November 21 by Judge Marietta Homena-Valencia, presiding judge of Branch 1 of the Kalibo Regional Trial Court.
The lone witness, Gerson Sonio, has tagged Ticar and Raz as the ones who shot Ureta dead along the national highway in Barangay Bagtu, Lezo town, about seven kilometers west of Kalibo. The suspects have repeatedly denied involvement in the killing and questioned the credibility of Sonio. Ureta had hosted the nightly program Agong Nightwatch and was investigating the proliferation of illegal gambling and illegal drugs in the province when he was killed.
While it welcomed the recent arrests, the International Federation of Journalists said Philippine authorities should exert more effort to solve the murders of other journalists in the country. It cited a 2007 report of the Federation and Union “Confronting the Perils of Journalism in the Philippines” that recorded 90 cases of murder of journalists or media workers in the Philippines over 20 years. Of the cases, the report said, only three perpetrators have been convicted and only eight cases remain active. “The performance of the Philippines police, courts and judicial system must dramatically improve if fear-mongering and violence against journalists are to subside,” said the Federation’s Asia Pacific director, Jacqueline Park. The Philippines is branded, after Iraq, as one of the most dangerous work places for journalists because of its history of unresolved killings of journalists. Dozens of journalists have been killed in recent years, and most cases remain unresolved.
-- Al Jacinto, Angelo A. Samonte and William B. Depasupil
CHRONOLOGY-Attacks on journalists in Somalia
Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:35pm EST
Dec 24 (Reuters) - Somali gunmen released on Monday a French journalist they had kidnapped in the northern Puntland region, a regional official said. Eight journalists have been killed in Somalia this year alone, making it the most dangerous country in the world for reporters after Iraq, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
Here is a chronology of journalists who have been attacked in Somalia since a conflict between Islamists and the government began in June 2006.
June 23 - Gunman shoots dead Swedish television cameraman Martin Adler covering a pro-Islamist demonstration in Mogadishu.
Aug 4 - Vehicle carrying members of the National Union of Somali Journalists is ambushed between Baidoa and Mogadishu. The driver Madey Garas is killed and a journalist injured.
Feb 16 - Ali Mohammed Omar, a presenter on Radio Warsan in Baidoa, is shot dead by three assailants as he walked home.
May 5 - Mohammed Abdullahi Khalif, a contributor to private radio station Voice of Peace, is killed in Puntland.
May 15 - Abshir Ali Gabra, a journalist with the independent radio station Radio Jowhar, and Ahmed Hassen, a correspondent with the independent broadcaster, Somalia Broadcasting Corporation are killed in the central Shabelle region.
Aug 11 - Gunmen shoot dead Somali HornAfrik radio journalist and talk show host Mahad Ahmed Elmi outside his station in Mogadishu.
Aug 11 - HornAfrik media co-founder Ali Iman Sharmarke is killed by a landmine while travelling in Mogadishu after the funeral of a murdered colleague. Reuters journalist Sahal Abdulle is injured.
Aug 24 - Abdulkadir Mahad Moallim Kaskey of local Radio Banadir is killed after attackers open fire on a minibus in southwestern Gedo province. Another passenger is hurt.
Oct 19 - Acting chairman of Radio Shabelle, Bashir Nur Gedi, is shot dead by unknown men in his house in Mogadishu.
Dec 16 - Gunmen seize French journalist Gwen Le Gouil of TV company Cargocult Production.
Dec 24 - Somali kidnappers release Le Gouil
Sources: Reuters/ Reporters Without Borders/ National Union of Somali Journalists.