Reporters Without Borders strongly condemns the murder of Christopher Guarin, publisher of the newspaper Tatak News Nationwide and a presenter for the radio station dxMD, shot dead in an ambush yesterday in the southern city of General Santos.
“We are deeply shocked by the death of Christopher Guarin and express our condolences to his family and friends,” the press freedom organization said.
“This latest case once again highlights the climate of insecurity that surrounds the work of media workers in the Philippines.
“We welcome the formation of a team of independent investigators and lawyers from the private sector, but await further steps to protect media organizations and combat impunity.
“Special units have been set up in the past, such as Task Force 2011, without great results. The government’s credibility is on the line with this new body. The transparency of its investigations must be guaranteed, like that of any inquiry carried out by public officials.”
Guarin, accompanied by his wife and two children, was on his way home from work about 10 p.m. when two men on a motorcycle opened fire on his car. Hit by the first bullet, he managed to get out of the car and tried to escape.
His attackers fired several more shots, hitting him five times in the body and once in the head. Doctors pronounced him dead on arrival at hospital.
His wife, who was slightly wounded, said her husband had received death threats for several days. According to one report, corroborated by his newspaper’s management, the journalist received an anonymous message during his radio programme warning him he would be killed on the way out.
The newspaper Manila Bulletin reported that President Benigno Aquino had order the formation of an inquiry team of lawyers and private detectives, which would be empowered to track down those who carry out crimes against journalists.
The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. In 2011, two journalists were killed because of their work and five other media workers died for reasons that are still unexplained.
The metropolitan areas of Manilla, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao are among the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.