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Third Filipino journalist killed in five days

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, 21 June 2010 - A Filipino journalist was killed on Saturday, bringing the number of media workers killed in the country to three in just five days.

Nestor Bedolido, 50, was shot at close range by two men on a motorcycle in Digos City, Davao del Sur, in the south of the Philippines. News agencies reported that Bedolido was buying cigarettes from a street vendor near a bar he also owned when he was shot six times. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital.

Bedolido was a reporter for Kastigador, a weekly newspaper which is financed by a group of politicians, according to local reports.

Police admitted his death may have been related to his work. His son Marxlen Bedolido, 22, told reporters he believed local politicians might be behind his father's death.

Bedolido had written several exposés about a number of local politicians during the May presidential elections.

Bedolido is the third journalist to be killed this year in the Philippines, which was ranked the most deadly country for journalists in 2009, according to IPI's World Press Freedom Review. Last year, 38 journalists were killed in the country - 32 of them massacred as they accompanied family members of gubernatorial candidate and local mayor Esmael Mangudadatu in a convoy in the southern province of Maguindanao on a trip to an election office to file his candidacy papers.

On Wednesday 16 June, two gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed journalist Joselito Agustin, a reporter and anchorman for the Filipino radio station DZJC Aksyon Radyo, on his way home. On Monday, Desidario Camangyan of Sunshine FM Radio was shot dead while hosting a village singing competition in the southern Philippines.

The spate of killings comes shortly after presidential elections in May. The incumbent president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo - who was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election - will be succeeded by Benigno Aquino, Liberal Party candidate and son of former president Corazon Aquino. Aquino had campaigned throughout the election on an anti-corruption platform.

International Press Institute (IPI) Director David Dadge said: "This continued targeting of journalists is linked to the impunity that the killers enjoy in the country. If President-elect Benigno Aquino wishes to stamp out corruption as he promised during his election, the Philippines needs a fully functioning media, a media that is not constantly under threat of attack.

"The IPI urges President-elect Aquino and his new government to tackle the issue of impunity in the murder of these journalists and those slain in recent years and prosecute those responsible."
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