Another voice silenced: Filipino broadcaster brutally shot in face

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the murder of yet another Philippines broadcaster. The IFJ and NUJP are deeply outraged by the continued disregard for the life of journalists and media workers in the country and call on the government to immediately act to find the gunman and any masterminds behind the order to kill the outspoken journalist.

Maurito Lim was shot in the face by a lone gunman on a motorcycle Saturday, February 14, at 10.35am, as he got out of his car outside his workplace at radio station dyRD. The 71-year-old was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead at 1.15pm. Lim was host of the daily program Chairman Mao on Board and a noted critic of local officials linked to illegal drug trade in the city.

NUJP Chairperson Rowena Paraan said: “We have run out of condemnation in the face of the murder of yet another colleague. We beg the indulgence of our hardworking government officials if we preempt them, lest in their concern for the impunity with which journalists have continued to be murdered under their watch, they chalk this one up to another ‘non-work related’ death, by pointing out that colleagues in Bohol have confirmed that, before his death, Lim had been hitting hard at local officials linked to the illegal drug trade.”

“While we seriously doubt demanding justice will get us, or Maurito Lim’s family and colleagues, anywhere, we challenge the government to prove us wrong by acting swiftly to solve the case, arrest the killers and, most important, the mastermind who ordered his death” said Paraan.

Lim is now the 172nd journalist murdered since 1986 and the 35th journalist killed under the Aquino administration and the second journalist killed in 2015. The IFJ has described the Philippines culture of impunity as an epidemic. In 2009, the single deadliest killing of journalists took place in the Southern Philippines when 32 journalists were among 58 people assassinated as a result of a political power struggle in Maguidanao. To date, not a single perpetrator has been convicted and at least four key witnesses have been killed

The acting director of the IFJ Asia Pacific, Jane Worthington, said: “The killing of Maurito Lim is is a despicable and cowardly act of the highest order. The IFJ expresses its deepest sympathies to the family and colleagues of Maurito Lim.”

The mission report Ampatuan Massacre: Five Years Ondetails the systematic failures of the Philippines government to guarantee convictions of the accused and bring about essential changes to end the culture of impunity that is stifling the countries press freedom.

Mike Dobbie, a delegate of IFJ missions in 2009 and 2014 said: “We need determined efforts by law enforcement agencies to seek out not only the gunmen responsible but also those who ordered this outrage and who employed the shooter. The judicial system must move to a swift resolution. To do less than these measures is to allow impunity to continue and flourish.”

Just over two months from the 5th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre and the IFJ’s international mission to the Philippines, the IFJ is awaiting a response to its report findings.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

                              Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific