Saturday, April 01, 2006

Illegally-detained solon questions closure of two dzRJ programs

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006
Tel. # (+632) 426-9442 Email:
URL: http://

March 31, 2006

Illegally-detained solon questions closure of two dzRJ programs,
"Arroyo administration clamping down on media and jailing their sources"—Beltran

Illegally-detained Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran has added his voice to the growing clamor of those outraged against the closure of two progressive radio programs.

"This is creeping media suppression, a déjà vu of the censorship I have seen first-hand under Martial Law" Beltran said of the sudden and unexpected non-renewal of the contracts of the programs "Buhay Manggagawa" and "Ngayon na Bayan" over dzRJ.

"Ngayon na Bayan!", an award-winning program was blocked off its air time after the declaration of a state of emergency on February 24, while "Buhay Manggagawa" (on air since 1987) was last aired March 26. Prior to this, "Buhay Manggagawa" has been under pressure to stop playing part of the controversial "Hello Garci" tapes and to tone down political criticism of the Arroyo administration.

Over the years, Beltran has been a regularly invited as guest speaker for the two radio programs, talking on air on issues related to labor welfare as such the P125 across-the-board nationwide wage hike, contractualization, and the like.

"The blocking off these programs on DZRJ's air time, by whatever reason, is also an implicit assault on the rights of labor leaders and other forces working for the interests of the toiling masses to be heard," Beltran said.

Program hosts have previously called on the public to call up drRJ to register their protests.

Beltran said that he would have personally called the management of DRZJ to protest and probe the non-renewal of the programs' contracts. Unfortunately, the illegally-detained solon has been prohibited access to a cellular phone or landline while in detention at the Philippine National Police General Hospital at Camp Crame. Media interviews with Beltran are also generally prohibited.

"Under the Arroyo administration, two progressive radio programs have been struck off their air time, while its guests, such as I, are being illegally arrested and detained simply for being critical of the prevailing and deplorable state of governance," Beltran said.

"This government is increasingly clamping down on media while arresting and jailing sources or guests (for radio), such as progressive lawmakers whom media reports as being discontented with the Arroyo administration. If that's not a sign of creeping Martial Law, then I'm the King of England," Beltran said.

"In addition to the record-high killings of activists (numbering to over four hundred under the Arroyo administration), the Philippines is already in the international media watch list for the alarming killings of journalists, especially community radio broadcasters. The closure of "Buhay Manggagawa" and "Ngayon na Bayan!" is an equally condemnable and suppressive way to silence pro-people broadcasters. By putting their programs off the air, the management has summarily executed and killed the voices that their programs represent," Beltran said.###


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