Reporters Without Borders expressed outrage today at the shooting death of radio journalist George Benaojan on 1 December, apparently by professional killers, and noted that it came only three days after a life sentence was imposed on Guillermo Wapile for killing radio journalist Edgar Damalerio in 2002.
“This execution is shocking so soon after Damalerio’s conviction, which had greatly raised hopes of less violence against the media,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “We call on the interior and justice ministries to speed up investigations into the various killings of journalists.” It added that at least seven of the 10 journalists murdered in the country this year were killed because of their work.
A gunman shot Benaojan, 27, who presented a weekly programme on a local radio station, DYDD Bantay Radio, after waiting several hours for him near a market in Talisay City (Cebu island, south of Manila). A bystander was also wounded and the killer fled in a taxi. The journalist died a few hours later in hospital. Colleagues said he had recently received death threats by text-message. He also escaped an attempt by mystery gunmen to kill him in August last year.
Police assumed his death was linked to criticism of local officials, including customs agents, for corruption that he had made on his programme and in his column in the local paper, Bantay Balita.
The killing came a day after police arrested two suspects in the murder of journalist Roberto Ramos near Manila on 20 November. They reportedly confessed to shooting him because he had exposed their pirating of DVDs.