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Tragic start to 2012 as media worker is murdered

(IFJ/IFEX) - January 6, 2012 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the murder on January 5 of Tatak News Nationwide publisher Christopher Guarin in General Santos City in the southern Philippines.

Guarin was shot five times in the body and and once in the head by gunmen while driving his wife and two children home from his office. Police reported that Guarin was shot along Conel Road in Barangay Lagao at around 10:30 p.m. He was declared dead on arrival at the General Santos City Hospital. Guarin's wife was also slightly wounded in the attack.

Police are yet to determine the motive for the killing. However, in an interview with local radio, Guarin's wife claimed that her husband had received several death threats in the days leading up to the murder.

“The IFJ is deeply concerned that 2012 has begun with a continuation of the increased attacks on media professionals that we saw in the Philippines in 2011,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“We call upon President Benigno Aquino III to honour his pre-election commitment to defend press freedom in the Philippines, by seeing that all media workers' murders are investigated and punished quickly, irrespective of potential motives.”

Guarin is the first media worker to have been killed in the Philippines so far this year. In 2011, six media workers were killed in the Philippines.

Guarin's death comes soon after the second anniversary of the Ampatuan Town Massacre on November 23, 2009, in which 32 media workers were killed in a massacre of 58 people. Fourteen of the media workers killed in the massacre were from General Santos City.
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