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Radio commentator shot dead

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, July 27, 2009 - Police in Mindanao must investigate the motive for today's shooting murder of radio journalist Godofredo Linao and pursue those responsible, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two unidentified men shot Linao in the back near the offices of Radyo Natin, where he worked as a commentator, in Surigao del Sol province on southern Mindanao Island, according to international news reports. Radyo Natin's manager and owner, Mario Alviso, said Linao had been summoned to Barabo township by text message at around 1 a.m., according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. Linao was about to board his motorcycle when the men fired at him four times, killing him on the spot, the reports said. The men fled the scene.

Police told reporters the motive for the attack was unclear. Linao also worked as a political spokesman, according to local and international reports. Alviso told The Associated Press that the commentator may have been targeted for his political broadcasts.

Ricardo R. Blancaflor, chair of a federal body which investigates journalist murders, told CPJ in May that his group, Task Force 211, was committed to the "investigation, prosecution, and immediate resolution of media killings." The island nation placed sixth on CPJ's 2009 Impunity Index, which ranks countries that fail to prosecute cases of journalists killed for their work.

"Godofredo Linao has become the latest victim in a string of recent journalist slayings in the Philippines this year," said Robert Mahoney, CPJ's deputy director. "Police and government investigators are falling badly behind their stated intentions to prosecute these crimes."

Four journalists were killed in the Philippines in June alone. Three of those were targeted for murder; CPJ has not confirmed the motive in those cases. A fourth was killed in crossfire. CPJ's Global Campaign Against Impunity seeks justice in journalist murders in cooperation with local partners in the Philippines.
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