Killing the Messengers

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An unknown gunman shot and killed a radio host in the southern Philippines this week, an attack described as a “brazen killing” in a country considered one of the most dangerous in the world for journalists, Al Jazeera reported.

Juan Jumalon, known professionally as “DJ Johnny Walker,” was streaming his morning show live on Facebook when he was murdered.

Police said that the gunman introduced himself as a listener, shot him and then snatched Jumalon’s gold necklace before escaping with an accomplice waiting outside on a motorbike.

They added that the attacker could not be seen on the Facebook footage, but are analyzing CCTV film from neighborhood security cameras.

Authorities said they were not aware of threats against the journalist’s life prior to his death, explaining that Jumalon was “not known to have criticized anyone in his broadcasts.” Jumalon is the fourth journalist to be killed since Ferdinand Marcos Jr. became president in June 2022.

The president pledged action: “Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions,” he said.

According to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, Jumalon was the 199th journalist killed since democracy was restored in 1986 with the toppling of Marcos’ father, who had led an authoritarian regime in the country, noted Philippine news outlet Rappler.

Meanwhile, the Philippines is ranked as the eighth worst country when it comes to prosecuting the murderers of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists 2023 Global Impunity Index.

Journalists there face a number of threats, including the presence of armed clans in rural areas. In 2009, around 32 media workers were killed by members of a powerful political clan and their allies in southern Maguindanao province.

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