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Journalist reporting on corruption killed in Suphanburi province

(TJA/IFEX) - The TJA condemns the barbaric killing of "Matichon" newspaper reporter Jaruek Rangcharoen, 46, in Suphanburi province on 27 September 2008. The organisation also condemns those behind the murder.

Jaruek was shot several times in the head while he was buying food at a market on the way to his home at No. 1491 Moo 5, in the Don Chedi Subdistrict of Don Chedi District. The shooting is believed to be linked to his reporting on corruption within the local administrative organization.

According to Suphanburi Governor Somsak Phurisrisak, Jaruek told him in 2007 that someone was plotting against him. The governor inferred that Jaruek might run into conflicts with local civil servants, businessmen or local authorities over his hard hitting reports.

The TJA views this killing as yet another incident that demoralises the media community since the gunman acted blatantly, with premeditation and in a manner that would appear unperturbed by the rule of law. The killing was aimed at stifling the media and eventually discouraging it from reporting information such as that reported by Jaruek.

The TJA urges the national police chief to immediately instruct the appropriate police units to bring the killers to justice and to avoid leaving the case pending as has happened with other cases in the past, so that this killing will not set a precedent and further undermine media freedom.

The TJA also urges the police to report to the public on progress made in the investigation of this case as soon as possible in order to restore confidence in the security situation.

The TJA notes that the police investigation into the killing of Athiwat Chaiyanurat, a "Mathichon" reporter in Nakorn Srithammarat province who was shot dead in early August, has shown no signs of progress, and the gunmen in that killing have not been arrested.

Given this situation, the TJA appeals to the police to more seriously investigate the Athiwat case and urges all parties involved to recognize the seriousness of these incidents since the killing of reporters, whose duties are to report facts, is equal to killing the facts that are supposed to benefit the public.

For further information on the Athiwat case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95913

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