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Radio broadcaster shot dead

(IFJ/IFEX) - 30 June 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists urges immediate police investigation into the motive behind the fatal shooting of radio broadcaster Jonathan Fetalvero in Agusan del Sur province in the Philippines' troubled island of Mindanao.

According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), an IFJ affiliate, Fetalvero, 43, was shot in the head by a gunman at a restaurant at around 7:30pm in the town of Bayugan in Agusan del Sur. Witnesses told police the gunman, who was reportedly wearing a ski-mask, fled on a motorbike.

News reports stated that the murder occurred on June 27. However, police reports claim it happened on June 25, the NUJP said.

At the time of his murder, Fetalvero hosted a morning radio program "Balita at Komentaryo" at the local dxFM Frenster Radio station. He was known for his hard-hitting commentaries about corruption within the community, news reports said.

Fetalvero is also reportedly a barangay (village) councillor and has connections to Vice Mayor Genesis Efren, who owns Frenster Radio.

No suspect has been arrested and the motive for the attack remains unclear.

"While a direct connection between Fetalvero's murder and his work as a journalist has not yet been verified, there is no doubt that this type of attack is consistent with the horrific pattern of antagonism against radio broadcasters in the Philippines," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

"Inaction by Gloria Arroyo-Macapagal's government on this and all murders of journalists in the Philippines sends a message to the perpetrators that dissatisfaction about news coverage and commentary can be solved by a bullet without retribution."

The IFJ and the NUJP call on the Philippines police to launch a thorough investigation into Fetalvero's murder and ensure that the killer is brought to justice immediately.
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