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Philippines 20 October 2004

Murder of journalist is eighth this year

Reporters Without Borders condemned the murder of radio presenter, Eldy Gabinales, who was shot dead in Tandag, on Mindanao island, in the south of the country. He is the eighth journalist to be murdered in 2004.

Gabinales, also known as Eldy Sablas, worked for DXJR-FM radio. Witnesses said he was coming out of a shop on 19 October when a motorbike pillion passenger opened fire, shooting him three times in the back and the head. Both men escaped and there have been no arrests.

The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the Philippines government to do everything possible to shed light on the case. "We urge you to set up an "Eldy Gabinales Task Force" with the financial resources to carry out a thorough investigation," it said in a letter to Interior and Local Government Secretary, Angelo Reyes.

One of Gabinales’s radio colleagues Arnel Espadera, said that he had been working between February and April 2004 for the programme "Enkwentro" (Encounters) and "Bakres" broadcasting in Tandag, in Surigao province.  He then took a break from the radio before returning to co-present "Singgit sa mga Lungsuranon" (Complaints from citizens).  He had in particular exposed drug trafficking and illegal gaming in the town.

In between radio work, Gabinales was one of those responsible for the security of Surigao provincial governor, Vicente Pimentel, during senate elections in May.

Police have said they do not yet know the motives for the killing. "No likely leads should be ruled out at this stage," Reporters Without Borders told the interior minister.

Eight journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1st January 2004. After Iraq, it is the world’s most dangerous country for journalists. A total of seven were murdered while doing their job in the Philippines during 2003.

In this country
22 May - Philippines
A journalist on army target list, another shot, possibly by soldier
6 March - Philippines
Second journalist in a week narrowly escapes murder attempt
23 February - Philippines
Radio journalist gunned down on Mindanao island
5 January - Philippines
Radio show host comes under fire near his home
3 December - Philippines
Second Radyo Natin presenter gunned down in less than a month

in the annual report
Philippines - Annual report 2008
Philippines - Annual report 2007
Philippines - Annual report 2006

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Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

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Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
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