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Manager of media outlet where slain journalist worked receives death threat

Yet Another Journalist Murdered in the Philippines
Spate of Unsolved Media Killings Fuels Climate of Impunity

(IPI/IFEX) - 29 July, VIENNA - IPI deplores the murder of radio journalist Godofredo Linao, who was gunned down in Barobo City, in the Surigao Del Sur province, during the early hours of Monday 27 July 2009.

Linao's murder brings the number of journalists killed in the Philippines this year to four, further entrenching the country's position as one of Asia's deadliest for reporters.

Linao received a text message inviting him to a restaurant in the coastal town of Barobo at around 1am on 27 July, the Makati-City-based Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) reports. An unidentified gunman then shot Linao four times after he parked his motorcycle and crossed the road to the restaurant.

CMFR notes that, as yet, no one has been arrested for the killings, and police have not ruled out Linao's work as a journalist as a motive behind the murder.

Linao - who was also involved in local politics and was due to run as a candidate in 2010 elections - was the host of a weekly current affairs broadcast on Bislig City's Radyo Nitin that often focused on corruption at the local government level.

Mario Alviso, manager of Radyo Nitin, told CMFR he received a text message from an unidentified sender the day after Linao's murder, stating that the killing was "just a sample" of what could be done, and that "he would be next."

This killing follows a recent spate of murders of journalists in the country.

On 9 June Crispin Perez, also a radio journalist, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman in front of his home in San Jose City in the Occidental Mindoro province. Shortly before his death, Perez had criticised local mining and energy deals.

Then, on 12 June Antonio Castillo, a columnist for the tabloid Bigwas, was shot at close range by two men on a motorcycle after a brief chase in the town of Uson, Masbate province. Castillo, who reported and commented on alleged corruption at the community level, died in hospital.

And on 27 June Jonathan Petalvero, a radio host on DXFM station, was shot dead by a masked gunman at a restaurant in the town of Bayugan on Mindanao Island. He was declared dead upon arrival at hospital. Petalvero was known for his critical commentaries on local corruption.

"We urge the Filipino authorities to act swiftly to bring those responsible for these horrifying killings to justice," said IPI Director David Dadge. "President Arroyo's government must address the country's shameful climate of impunity, and ensure that journalists are free to work without fearing for their lives."
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