Radio journalist killed in the Philippines

Journalist Niel Jimena- host of radio show “Judge”- was shot dead in the Philippines on August 22 while riding his motorcycle, according to the police. There is no clear motive in Jimena’s killing, though it most likely is linked to his criticism of local officials on his radio show. Shortly before his death, he reportedly was threatened by a local politician for remarks remarks on his radio show.
 
The Philippines has become increasingly tumultuous for journalists with four killed in 2011 alone.  The constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression, yet libel is a criminal offense. Journalists have faced lethal threats for criticizing or exposing the crime and corruption in the government, army or police. The government attempted to address impunity issues by establishing a task force to investigate activist and journalist killings, yet findings are often disputed by local groups.  In June 2011, DWEB radio commentator Rome Olea was shot to death, the second announcer from the station killed in less than a year. In 2009, an astounding 30 journalists were amongst the 57 killed in the Maguindanao province massacre.

Freedom House condemns the killing of Jimena and calls for a full investigation into his murder–journalists must be allowed to express their opinions and report freely without fear of retaliation. 

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