Originally published on the CMFR website on 21 September 2017
CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A GMA News reporter received a malicious threat online on 19 September 2017 after covering Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s trip to Singapore in an effort to counter President Rodrigo Duterte’s allegation that the senator kept offshore bank accounts. The case was among the many online threats against media workers since President Duterte took office on 30 June 2016.
Shortly after her report was aired in the primetime news program 24 Oras, GMA News senate reporter Jam Sisante received a private message on Facebook accusing her of being paid by Trillanes. The accuser also warned her to be vigilant or her dead body will be found inside a sack.
Journalists were quick to defend Sisante. Fellow GMA News reporter Ivan Mayrina posted Sisante’s experience on Facebook and said, “Enough of shooting the messenger. Trabaho naming ang mag-cover at mag-report. At kapag nag-report kami ng labag sa paniniwala mo (It is our job to cover and report. If we report something against your beliefs), that doesn’t make us paid hacks and should not make us targets of your murderous rage.”
CMFR reported the pattern of online attacks and harassments against journalists which marked Duterte’s 100 days in office.(“Online Threats against Journalists Mark Duterte’s 100 Days”) The threats on social media from both the Duterte followers and his critics have gained intensity. Some journalists who were subject of angry trolling and the ire of online mobs include TV 5’s Ed Lingao, Rappler’s Maria Ressa, Reuter’s Manny Mogato, Aljazeera’s Jamela Alindogan and freelance journalist Gretchen Malalad.