Culture of Impunity in the Philippines Sees Tragic End of Yet Another Life, Says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the Philippines government for failing to address the mounting death toll of Philippine journalists, with yet another journalist killed.

The growing tide of violent and murderous attacks against journalists has given the Philippines the onerous title of being the second most dangerous place in the world for reporters, after war-torn Iraq. The number of journalists killed since 1986 has now risen to the grim total of 67.

In the latest attack, radio journalist, Klein Cantoneros, was killed after a drive-by shooting outside DXAA radio station in Dipolog City, Mindanao, around 1.30am on 4 May.

Cantoneros, 32, was shot seven times and subsequently died at the Dipolog Medical Centre at 11pm yesterday, 4 May.

"Those targeting journalists have complete disregard for the government and the law because of a culture of impunity," said IFJ President, Christopher Warren.

"So in an all too familiar pattern, yet another Filipino journalist has died tragically," said the IFJ, the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide.

"It is simply not acceptable for the government to stand by while journalists who are uncovering corruption and crime are left in the firing line."

President Gloria Arroyo's spokesman Ignacio Bunye has condemned the killing and called for a full investigation by the Philippine National Police.

"The murder of journalists have to be not only investigated, but charges must be laid to bring those responsible to justice," said Warren.

"It is not enough for the government to tell the police to do their job properly, the culture of impunity in the Philippines must be brought to an immediate end."

Last year, thirteen journalists were killed in the Philippines and during the first five months of this year four journalists have been murdered. There have been separate shooting attacks on at least four other journalists, who have survived.

It is unclear if Cantoneros' murder was related to his work as a journalist, however, he was well known as an outspoken anti-corruption broadcaster who frequently criticised local officials for alleged corruption and illegal gambling. According to Cantoneros' colleagues, the journalist had received a number of death threats.

"Attempts to silence members of the free press are escalating in the Philippines, the government must take immediate action to protect journalist from further attacks," said Warren.

For further information contact IFJ President Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries