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Philippines 2 September 2003

Fifth journalist killed this year

Reporters Without Borders expressed great concern today at the killing of radio journalist Rico Ramirez, apparently by the drug underworld he had criticised, in the town of San Francisco, in the Philippines province of Agusan del Sur (northern Mindanao island).

His death on 20 August (but only revealed today) came a day after the murder of radio journalist Noel Villarante and brought to five the number of journalists killed in the Philippines this year for doing their job.

"The impunity enjoyed by killers of journalists, especially in the case of Edgar Damalerio, encourages hitmen and those who hire them to physically eliminate critical media workers," the press freedom organisation said. "The government is partly responsible for this wave of violence, which makes the country one of the world’s most dangerous for journalists."

It called on interior and local government minister José D. Lina and provincial governor Adolph Edward G. Plaza to see that police arrested and punished Ramirez’ killers and urged the authorities to introduce a scheme to protect threatened journalists, as has been done by the Colombian government.

Ramirez, who worked for the radio station dzSF, was shot dead by two gunmen, who fired at him from behind about 100 metres from his place of work. The station manager, Max Tutor, who saw what happened, said police had not found any clues so far. But Ramirez’ recent criticism of local organised crime and drug traffickers suggested these circles were responsible.

Ramirez was the 41st journalist killed since 1986, apparently because of his work. The other four murdered this year were Villarante, John Villanueva, of the radio station dzGB-AM (28 April), Apolinario "Polly" Podeba, of radio station dwTI-AM (17 May) and Bonifacio Gregorio, of the local weekly Dyaryo Banat (8 July).




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

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
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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Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised