Outrage in Philippines After 3 Journalists Die

Outrage in Philippines After 3 Journalists DieOutrage in Philippines After 3 Journalists Die

Three journalists in the Philippines have been shot dead just days apart, press groups said Tuesday, as they warned of further media bloodshed without serious government action.

“We call on President Benigno Aquino to give top priority to swiftly resolving these egregious cases,” said Shawn Crispin, senior Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists, AFP reported.

“Until Aquino demonstrates his government is serious about ending the onslaught, the killings will inevitably continue.”

Police and the CPJ said the latest victim was radio commentator Cosme Maestrado, 46, shot dead in front of a public market in the southern port city of Ozamiz on August 27.

Before Maestrado, radio reporter Teodoro Escanilla, 57, was shot inside his home in a fishing town, and a day earlier, newspaper reporter Gregory Ybanez, 67, was gunned down in front of his house in Tagum city.

The nation of 100 million people has long been one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, with powerful figures able to kill critics in the knowledge they will rarely face punishment.

The latest killings bring to 29 the number of journalists murdered since Aquino assumed office in 2010, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Out of the 168 cases of media killings since the restoration of democracy in 1986, only 13 suspects had been convicted of murder and sent to jail, NUJP director Sonny Fernandez said.

“The government has failed to stop the killings. There should be convictions; that’s the only way they can prove that they’re serious,” Fernandez said.

The world’s deadliest attack against journalists took place in the Philippines in 2009, when 32 journalists were among 58 people killed by a warlord clan intent on stopping a rival’s election challenge.