Sun, May 29, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Journalist shot dead in the Philippines

IMPUNITY:In the past 30 years, 174 journalists have been killed in the Philippines, including 32 in a 2009 massacre, making it one of the most dangerous nations for journalists

AFP, MANILA

Relatives of slain journalist Alex Balcoba yesterday light candles at the scene of the shooting incident in Manila, Philippines.

Photo: EPA

A crime journalist has been shot dead in Manila, police and colleagues said yesterday, the latest addition to a lengthening list of unsolved murders of media workers in the Philippines.

Alex Balcoba, 56, was attacked late on Friday outside a watch repair shop in central Manila owned by his family, the National Press Club of the Philippines said.

Club president Paul Gutierrez said the attack on Balcoba, a reporter for the People’s Brigada tabloid, brought to more than 30 the number of journalists killed in the Philippines since 2010, with no suspects yet brought to justice.

“The culture of impunity that is behind these attacks is yet to be addressed by the authorities despite their repeated boasts and promises,” Gutierrez added.

The two gunmen fled on a motorcycle after shooting Balcoba, Gutierrez said.

Fellow journalists took Balcoba to hospital, where he was pronounced dead, he added.

Manila police confirmed Balcoba had been shot and killed, but gave no further details.

Gutierrez said police had assured him they would investigate the killing.

Colleagues described Balcoba as a news reporter and columnist at the little-known People’s Brigada who had written about the Manila police since the 1990s.

Calls by reporters to the newspaper’s office went unanswered.

Balcoba is the second journalist to be murdered in the Philippines this year, and the 34th since 2010 when President Benigno Aquino III came to power, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

He is also the 174th journalist killed since a bloodless uprising ended former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos leadership 30 years ago, a union official said.

Just 10 suspects have been convicted for attacks on journalists across the nation since 1986, the union said.

Known for its outspoken media, the Philippines is one of the most dangerous nations for reporters, where powerful figures often kill critics with impunity.

Police said some of the killings are also motivated by quarrels over personal or business matters.

One of the world’s deadliest attacks against journalists took place in the Philippines in 2009, when 32 journalists were among 58 people killed by a warlord clan intent on stopping a rival’s election challenge.

More than 100 people are on trial for that massacre.

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