Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has ordered the police to conduct a thorough investigation after a radio broadcaster was shot dead on air, the fourth journalist to be killed since the president took office in June last year.
Juan Jumalon, also known as DJ Johnny Walker, was shot by an unidentified assailant while broadcasting from his home in the southern town of Calamba on Sunday morning, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said in a statement.
It said the “brazen killing” was captured on the Facebook livestream of his show.
“Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions,” Marcos Jr said in a statement.
Police said the killer got access to the studio by pretending to be a listener, shot Jumalon twice, snatched his gold necklace and escaped with an accomplice who was waiting outside on a motorbike.
The Philippines has a vibrant media industry but is also one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist in the world.
In its statement, the NUJP said Jumalon was the 199th journalist to be killed since the restoration of democracy in 1986.
The livestream, available to some 2,400 followers, showed the 57-year-old pausing and looking upwards at something off camera before two shots were fired. The journalist then slumped back into his chair as background music played on. He was pronounced dead on the way to hospital. The attacker was not seen on the clip, but police said they were checking whether security cameras installed in the house and at his neighbours had recorded anything.
“While the motive is yet to be determined, we consider this incident as ‘work-related’ for the moment,” Paul Gutierrez, the head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, said in a statement.
Police said they were investigating a motive for the killing and were not aware of any previous threats against Jumalon’s life.
“He tackles mostly current events and is not known to have criticised anyone in his broadcasts,” Calama police chief Captain Deore Ragonio told the AFP news agency.
The Philippines ranked as the eighth worst country when it comes to prosecuting killers of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists 2023 Global Impunity Index.
In one of the worst-ever incidents, some 32 media workers were among 58 people killed by members of a powerful political clan and their associates in southern Maguindanao province in 2009.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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