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Journalist killed; second in a week

Yet another Filipino journalist was killed last week by unidentified assailants, reports the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

On 12 June, print journalist Antonio Castillo was shot at close range by two men after a brief chase on motorbikes in Uson, Masbate province, central Philippines. He died in hospital three hours later. He was able to describe the attackers but refused to give their names to investigators, said CMFR.

Local police said they have yet to establish why Castillo, a columnist for the local tabloid "Bigwas" (Blow), was killed.

According to CMFR, he is the fifth journalist murdered in the country this year. Three days before Castillo's murder, radio host Crispin Perez was shot dead in front of his house in San Jose City on Mindoro island, also in central Philippines.

Perez hosted two talk shows at a state-owned radio station in Occidental Mindoro province and had strongly criticised local mining and energy interests.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists - 65 journalists have been killed under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's rule since she was swept into power in 2001, says CMFR. Of the 65, 40 cases were work-related.

Under fire from local and international human rights groups for its failure to protect hundreds of journalists and activists killed over the past seven years, the government has vowed to track down killers of reporters but there have been few convictions.


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