Radio broadcaster shot dead in Philippines
Media groups attack government 'apathy' after another journalist's slaying
Journalists stage a protest march in Manila to condemn the rising number of attacks on them. (Photo courtesy of Photojournalism Center of the Philippines)
A Filipino radio journalist has been gunned down in an ambush in the town of Bongao, in Mindanao’s Tawi-Tawi province.
Richard Najid, 35, also known as "DJ Troy", became the fourth broadcaster to be killed in Mindanao in the last six months and the 27th journalist murdered since President Benigno Aquino came to power in 2010.
Najid, who was also the manager of radio DXNN PowerMix FM, was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle on Sunday evening as he was returning home from a basketball game, police said on Monday. The motive behind the killing remains unclear.
The murder was later condemned by media groups and the presidential palace.
National press club President Joel Egco said the killing of journalists in the country is "meant to silence us" and was "a direct assault on our constitutionally enshrined rights to protect democracy".
He accused the government of ignoring the dangers that journalists face despite the high number of deadly attacks that have taken place over the past few years.
"The killing of Najid is an indication of [the government’s] lack of real concern or plain disregard for the deadly plight of Filipino journalists," said Egco.
He said the government’s "apparent apathy toward the unabated killing of journalists is a contributory factor to the culture of impunity that threatens press freedom".
The government denied the accusation and said police were investigating Najid’s murder and all will be done to bring his killers to justice.
"We have tasked the Philippine National Police to identify, apprehend, and prosecute the people behind the crime," presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma said.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reported in November 2013 that 23 journalists were killed during Aquino’s first 40 months in office.
In 2013 alone, 12 Filipino journalists were slain.
The Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2014 impunity index, which "spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free", ranks the Philippines as the world’s third most dangerous country after Iraq and Somalia.
Aquino defends his government’s failure to bring the killers of journalists to justice by saying that "investigations are ongoing".
He is expected to prepare for a possible visit by Pope Francis to the Hindu-majority country
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