The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reports with distress the murder of a radio broadcaster in the Philippines, as the country joins Somalia as leaders in the world league of infamy in media worker deaths this year.
According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, Godofredo Linao Junior was shot dead in the early hours of July 27 in Barabo town, Surigao del Sur, after reportedly receiving a threatening text message about 1am. Linao is the sixth journalist killed in the Philippines this year.
Linao was the coordinator of the Radyo Natin program “Kapamilya Walan Iwanan” and also worked as the spokesperson for the Surigao del Sur Vice Governer Librado Navarro at the time of his death, the NUJP reports.
While the motive for the murder is unconfirmed, Radyo Natin station manager Mar Alvizo acknowledged that Linao was a broadcaster who did not hesitate to take on the most controversial issues.
“This latest murder fits the pattern of systemic violence against journalists in the Philippines and particularly radio broadcasters, whose professional work is to report and comment on controversial and sensitive issues,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
Linao’s murder occurred hours before Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered her ninth State of the Nation address in Quezon City, north of the capital Manila.
A statement issued by the NUJP on July 26 said 68 journalists have been killed during Arroyo’s presidential term, accounting for more than 60 per cent of journalists murdered since the restoration of democracy in the Philippines in 1986.
In comparison to the staggering number of killings, trials have been few and actual convictions number a paltry three. The NUJP believes that this dismal track record in investigating the murders of media workers is feeding the climate of impunity enjoyed by the foes of free speech.
The IFJ joins the NUJP in calling on the authorities in Surigao del Sur to act swiftly to ensure the perpetrators of this most recent crime against journalism are brought to justice.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide