July 11, 2019

Philippine radio journalist shot dead as he drives home after programme

Relatives of some of the 32 journalists killed ten years ago in Mindanao island participate in a torch parade ceremony, on November 23, 2015 to protest against impunity for crimes against journalists. Eduardo "Ed" Dizon (left) is the 13th journalist to be gunned down in the Philippines since Rodrigo Duterte became president (photos : ABS-CBN - Noel Celis / AFP).
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Philippine authorities to do everything possible to ensure that yesterday’s shocking murder of Eduardo Dizon – a radio journalist who made a name for himself by courageously denouncing a religious sect’s scams and who had just been threatened – does not go unpunished.

Two individuals on a motorcycle shot Eduardo Dizon five times at around 10:45 p.m. as he was driving home in Makilala, on the southern island of Mindanao, shortly after presenting his regular programme, “Tira Brigada,” for Brigada News FM in Kidapawan City.


Brigada Group, the company that owns the radio station, said in statement that it thought  Dizon’s murder was the result of “his relentless exposé against unscrupulous individuals and organizations involved in illegal undertakings" in the Kidapawan region. Apparently referring to Dizon, a message left on the radio station’s hotline last week said in Tagalog: “Watch out Brigada because you will die, just wait, someone will shoot you.”


“Eduardo Dizon is the 13th journalist to be gunned down in the Philippines since Rodrigo Duterte became president,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “It is time to end this unacceptable cycle of violence against media personnel. The government claims to have set up a ‘presidential task force on media security’ but this task force has produced virtually no results. The investigation into Eduardo Dizon’s murder will be seen as a test. The impunity must stop.”


Dizon, who called himself “Kabrigada Ed,” had filed a complaint on 4 July about a death threat made against him the day before on a rival radio station, Gold FM, by a certain Dante Tabosares, also known as Bong Encarnacion, a fervent supporter of a religious group called Kapa Ministry. This group is accused of persuading people all over Mindanao Island to invest millions of pesos in a fraudulent “Ponzi” scheme, details of which had been revealed by Dizon in recent weeks.


The Philippines is ranked 134th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.