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RADIO BROADCASTER GUNNED DOWN IN MINDANAO

A radio broadcaster who often criticised local corruption was shot to death on 17 November in Gingoog City, Mindanao, southern Philippines, report the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and other IFEX members.

Aresio Padrigao, broadcaster at Radyo Natin (Our Radio), had just dropped off his daughter in front of Bukidnon State University on the morning of 17 November when he was killed by a gunman riding tandem on a motorcycle.

While the motive is unclear, CMFR believes Padrigao was killed for his work as a journalist. Padrigao anchored "Sayri ang Katilingban" (Know the People), which aired every Friday. He often criticised local government corruption as well as illegal logging activities in the province on his programme. He also wrote a column for the community newspaper "Mindanao Monitor Today".

Toto Gancia, a radio announcer at the same station, told CMFR that Padrigao had received threats prior to his murder. "The threats told him in effect that he would not live 'til Christmas," Gancia said.

According to CMFR, Padrigao was the fifth Filipino journalist killed in the line of duty in 2008. Of the 37 journalists murdered in relation to their work during President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's reign, only two have yielded convictions for the gunmen and none have resulted in convictions of the masterminds, says CMFR.

"The aura of impunity surrounding these attacks on journalists is the government's fault," says the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). "As long as authorities continue in their failure to prosecute those responsible for such killings, journalists will be seen as easy targets."

CPJ has launched a global campaign to combat impunity in unsolved journalist murders, focusing initially on the Philippines and Russia.

Visit these links:
- CMFR via Southeast Asian Press Alliance: http://www.seapabkk.org/newdesign/newsdetail.php?No=992
- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/62o3x8
- International Federation of Journalists: http://tinyurl.com/67z6nf
- Reporters Without Borders (RSF): http://tinyurl.com/6y6erl
(19 November 2008)

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