Filipino journalist shot dead while watching TV in store

A gunman shot and killed a journalist as he watched TV inside a store in a central Philippine town, in a brazen attack in what has long been considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

MANILA, Philippines – A gunman shot and killed a journalist watching television at a store in a central Philippine city, in a brazen attack in what has long been considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world. world for journalists.

Jesus Malabanan, 58-year-old provincial correspondent for the Manila Standard newspaper, died while being taken to hospital after being shot in the head by one of two men on a motorbike on Wednesday night at a family-owned store that he held on to Calbayog. city ​​in Samar province, police and officials said Thursday.

The suspects have escaped and a police investigation is underway to identify them and the motive for the attack.

Media watchdog groups have condemned the killing, including Malabanan’s colleagues in Pampanga, a province north of Manila where he was based and worked for years as a news correspondent and freelancer for Reuters.

A media protection body created by President Rodrigo Duterte strongly condemned the killing and vowed to arrest the killers. But Duterte himself has long been in the crosshairs of media watchdogs and human rights groups, who have repeatedly condemned him for fostering impunity among police forces who have imposed its crackdown on illegal drugs and killed thousands of suspects, mostly minors.

Dozens of journalists have been killed or attacked under Duterte and his predecessors. In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their associates shot dead 58 people, including 32 media workers, in a brazen execution-style attack in the southern province of Maguindanao that horrified the world.

While the massacre was later linked to a violent electoral rivalry common in many rural areas, it also highlighted the threats faced by journalists in the Philippines. A glut of unlicensed firearms and private armies controlled by powerful clans and weak law enforcement in rural areas are among the safety issues facing journalists in the Southeast Asian country. Is stricken by poverty.

Thirty-two of those shot dead in the town of Ampatuan de Maguindanao were local journalists and media workers. It is the deadliest attack on journalists in recent history, according to media watchdogs.

A Philippine court has found key members of the Ampatuan family guilty of the 2019 massacres, but many other suspects remain at large.

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