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Journalist killed in Philippines, first under President Duterte

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 20 December 2016.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in deploring the brutal murder of Philippine journalist and columnist Larry Que on Monday December 19, 2016. The IFJ and NUJP demand the Presidential Task Force on Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Members of the Media, to immediately investigate the murder.

On Monday, Larry Que, the new publisher of Catadunanes News Now, was shot in the head as he was entering his offices, in Virac, Catadunanes, in central Philippines. He died from his injuries early on Tuesday morning in hospital. Que's murder came after he published his column, which criticised local officials and their alleged negligence in allowing the setting up on the island-province of a recently raided shabu [crystal meth] laboratory that authorities claimed was the "biggest" so far discovered in the country.

According to the NUJP, a second journalist, broadcaster Jinky Tabor, who was a witness to the raids that discovered the lab has also received death threats.

In a statement NUJP secretary general Dabet Panelo said: "We call on this administration to walk the talk and prove its professed respect for press freedom, not only by quickly solving these brazen assaults on press freedom but, just as importantly, by ending its penchant of falsely blaming media for deliberately misinterpreting its often inconsistent and incoherent messages and instead working on making its communications crystal-clear."

IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "We deplore the brutal murder of Larry Que in the Philippines yesterday. Que's murder demonstrates the increasing challenges that journalists in the Philippines face reporting on drugs. Action needs to be taken by the Duterte administration to guarantee the safety and security of the media across the country, and work to strengthen the freedom of the press to report on stories of public interest."

Larry Que is the first journalist killed in the Philippines under the new Duterte administration, however the Philippines remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists worldwide. According to IFJ research, since 1990 more than 145 journalists have been killed in the Philippines.

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