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RADIO REPORTER KILLED IN AMBUSH

A radio reporter was killed and two of his companions were wounded in a shooting spree in the southern Philippines yesterday, report the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and other IFEX members.

Vicente Sumalpong, an announcer for the state radio network Radyo ng Bayan, was on a motorcycle with his nephew and a colleague on 25 June when two gunmen attacked them in Bongao, in Tawi-Tawi province, a small island south of Mindanao. According to CPJ, Sumalpong was shot five times and died on his way to the hospital. His nephew and fellow broadcaster Vema Antham were wounded in the attack.

Antham was surprised by the attack, telling CMFR: "We are not hard-hitting journalists... We have no known enemies." CMFR reports that police have identified one suspect.

Sumalpong's murder comes almost two weeks after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the creation of a special prosecution team that will handle cases of media killings. According to CMFR, Sumalpong is the 32nd journalist/media practioner killed under Arroyo's administration. "A climate of impunity has encouraged further killings, including those of journalists who are not as critical as some of those killed in the past," CMFR says.

Visit these links:
- CMFR: http://www.cmfr.com.ph/alerts_07.html
- CPJ: http://www.cpj.org/news/2007/asia/phil25jun07na.html
- Reporters Without Borders: http://tinyurl.com/2zna9c
- International Federation of Journalists: http://tinyurl.com/2evayg
- National Union of Journalists of the Philippines: http://tinyurl.com/25t7he
(26 June 2007)

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