Journalists targeted in the Philippines

Mindanao broadcaster Rogelio Butalib shot dead, marking the third fatal attack against a journalist in two weeks.

Journalists burned an effigy of a backhoe in November to protest violence against journalists in the country [AP]

Gunmen have shot and killed a broadcaster in the Philippines, marking the third fatal attack against a journalist in two weeks in the country.

Motorcycle-riding gunmen attacked Rogelio Butalib in the southern city of Tagum on Mindanao Island, police Chief Inspector Jed Clamor said on Wednesday.

“This is saddening and frustrating. Another one from our ranks is killed,” Rowena Paraan, chairwoman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, told AFP news agency.

Butalib was a commentator for the local Radyo Natin station. His programme often tackled local issues like corruption.

“We are looking at the possibility that he was killed because of his profession,” Clamor told reporters.

Michael Diaz Milo, a talk show host for DXFM radio, was killed in the city of Butan on Friday and broadcaster Joas Dignos was murdered in the city of Valencia on November 29.

A fourth journalist, Jonavin Villalbal, was also shot and wounded late Tuesday by unidentified gunmen.

Press under threat

The Philippines is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranks the Philippines as the third-worst in its “impunity index” of countries that fail to combat violence against the press.

By its count, the committee said at least 72 journalists were killed in the Philippines since 1992, excluding the three latest deaths.

In November 2009, 32 journalists were also among 58 people kidnapped and massacred in the southern Philippines.

Of the 196 people charged in that case, 88 remain at large. And four years after the killings, no one has been convicted and the trial is expected to drag on for years.

But Clamor also said the killing of Rogelio Butalib could have been politically motivated given that he was elected to a hotly contested district post in October.

The suspects in all four attacks remain at large, police said.

Source: AFP