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Critical radio commentator shot, injured in assassination attempt

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

Radio commentator survives shooting in Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned the attempted assassination of broadcast journalist Manuel Kong and regards the incident as a severe threat to media workers' personal safety as well as a brutal violation of freedom of speech.

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Radio DSXN commentator Kong was shot by an unidentified gunman outside the station in Surigao City, around 12:30 pm on August 20.

Kong suffered a bullet injury to his left cheek and a pierced throat, requiring surgery at hospital.

"This recent attack on Kong's life is a horrendous and blatant threat to those media workers in the Philippines who continue to persevere to report without inhibition despite the dangers they face," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

Local reports allege the unidentified gunman, aided by two companions as lookout, escaped on motorbike after attempting a second failed shot at Kong, who was inside his parked car at the time.

Kong is known to be a strong campaigner against illegal drugs, a fierce critic of the Barbers political party and currently the spokesperson for Surigao del Norte Representative Francisco Tinio Matugas, who reportedly accounted for his medical bills and private airlift.

This is the second attempt on Kong's life after he survived another assassination attempt in 2002.

"Such attacks on the lives of media workers, which at the same time threaten the freedom of the press in the Philippines, will not be tolerated and we demand the culprit be brought to justice," Park said.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in more than 114 countries.

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