Philippines: Radio commentator shot outside radio station

Radio commentator, Renante “Rey” Cortes, was shot dead on July 22 outside radio station, DyRB, in Barangay Mambaling in central Philippines . The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) calls on the Philippine government to increase protections for journalists in the Philippines in the wake of this latest attack.

Rey Cortes during one of his final radio shows at DyRB. Credit: @dyrb540.radyopilipino / Facebook

Cortes was leaving the DyRB radio station at around 9.10am after finishing his program, when a gunman drove past on a motorcycle and shot him in the stomach and arm. Cortes was pronounced dead at around 9:55am after being taken to hospital.

On his program, Cortes was known for his criticism of members of the local elite who instigated tense arguments with local politicians. It is reported that authorities are currently reviewing Cortes’ commentaries to find possible links to his killings.

DyRB admin associate, Nova Banawan, told Rappler that on the day prior to the shooting a man and a woman visted their office to ask for Cortes’ schedule on July 21..

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), said that Cortes survived a previous murder attempt and had been arrested in 2006 for alleged extortion.

PTFoMS executive director, Joel Sy Egco, reminded broadcasters, specifically blocktimers, to be more vigilant as the Philippines election neared. Blocktiming, said to be unique to the Philippines, is the practice of a broadcaster selling air time to independent programs. A large number of journalists killed in the Philippines have been radio broadcasters, or blocktimers.

The NUJP said: “NUJP-Cebu condemns the killing of Cortes and fervently demands justice for his death. We call for a swift and impartial investigation into the incident … We resist all threats and attempts to silence the media, to gag the fourth estate from bringing truth to power. We recognize that not forwarding truth only emboldens more of these senseless killings.”

The IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ calls for authorities to rapidly investigate the killing of Rey Cortes and find those who wanted him silenced. All efforts must be made to track the killers down and hold them accountable for this crime. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues at this time.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram