Saturday, July 11, 2009



Police in the Philippines must step up investigations into journalist
killings following the murder of a radio commentator last week, the fourth
Filipino journalist to be killed in June, say the Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and
Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

A masked gunman shot and killed Jonathan Petalvero on 27 June in a
restaurant in Bayugan, a small town on the southern island of Mindanao,
according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP),
an IFJ affiliate. Petalvero, who hosted a radio programme on DXFM station,
was declared dead on arrival at the local hospital.

"While a direct connection between Petalvero's murder and his work as a
journalist has not yet been verified, there is no doubt that this type of
attack is consistent with the horrific pattern of antagonism against radio
broadcasters in the Philippines," IFJ said.

The Philippine national police have established a task force (Task Force
USIG) to investigate media killings in the Philippines, which occur
frequently and with near total impunity, says CPJ.

"Until the crimes are successfully investigated, June's surge of violence
against the press will undermine the confidence of Philippine journalists,"
said CPJ. "It is essential that Task Force USIG respond at once to identify
the attackers and protect witnesses who could assist in successful

Petalvero's commentary aired as "block-time" broadcasting, a common
practice in the Philippines in which commentators buy airtime from local
stations and solicit their own advertising. A number of block-time
broadcasters have been killed in recent years.

In this case, Petalvero's commentary aired on a station owned by a local
politician, according to NUJP. Petalvero was known for his hard-hitting
commentaries about corruption within the community. He also planned to run
for a position on the local council in 2010.

The Philippines ranks sixth worldwide among countries that fail to
prosecute cases of journalists killed for their work, according to CPJ's
Impunity Index. CPJ's Global Campaign Against Impunity seeks justice in
journalist murders in cooperation with local partners, such as IFEX member
the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

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