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Philippines 11 August 2008

Radio talk show host dies of gunshot injuries

Radio Mindanao Network talk show host Dennis Cuesta died on 9 August from the injuries he received when a gunman shot him five times in a shopping mall in General Santos City on the southern island of Mindanao on 4 August. Doctors had managed to extract a bullet lodged in his head but he had remained in a coma ever since the shooting.

Cuesta’s show, “Straight to the Point,” was hard-hitting on controversial subjects such as corruption and drug trafficking. Police have not ruled out the possibility that the shooting was linked to his work as a journalist.

The police created a special unit on 5 August to oversee the investigation into the shooting. Presidential spokesman Jesus Dureza said: “I called up the police there and asked them to send me regular updates on their progress.”

Cuesta was the second Radio Mindanao Network journalist to die as a result of a shooting in the space of two days. Commentator Martin Rojas was shot in the back by men on a motorcycle as he was returning home from work on 7 August in Roxas City, in the central island of Panay, and died a few hours later in the city’s Emmanuel de Capiz hospital, Reuters reported.

These two killings come just a month after the murder of a journalist in Quezon province and Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to identify and punish those responsible.“We call on the government to send a strong signal of its determination to protect the media by providing additional resources to the Task Force in charge of investigating attacks on journalists,” the organisation said.

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

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