A radio journalist in the Philippines was shot dead on Thursday, becoming the latest media worker to be killed in one of the deadliest countries in the world for members of the profession.
Juluis Cauzo, 51, from Cabanatuan radio station dzJJ was shot dead by a motorcycle-riding gunman, according to a local police chief who said that the motive for the attack is as yet unknown.
Cauzo was known for discussing corruption on his programme, and his colleague Elena Quijano told reporters that the broadcaster had received death threats in the past.
The journalist, who was also the vice president of the provincial press club, was pronounced dead upon arrival at a local hospital. He is the fifth journalist to be killed in the Philippines this year, according to National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJOP).
“If work-related, Cauzo would be the 154th victim of media killings in the line of duty since 1986, the 14th under Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s watch, and the 5th in 2012,” said the union.
Culture of impunity continues to thrive
NUJOP condemned the attack, which took place less than three weeks before the ‘International Day to End Impunity, and repeated calls for the government to do more to battle impunity and protect journalists.
In a statement on their website, attributed to chairperson Nestor Burgos, the union said: “…whatever the reason for Cauzo’s murder, it is clear proof that the impunity with which media killings and other human rights violations are brazenly committed has continued to thrive because government – this administration in particular – has not, cannot, or will not act to end the bloodshed.”
“So much for promises of good governance and justice, and respect for the people’s basic civil and political rights.”
“Thus far, this administration has turned a deaf ear to the cries for justice of the victims of human rights abuses and has chosen to shunt aside legislation that would expand the space to enjoy our freedoms, such as the Freedom of Information Act, and foisted on us laws that would actually restrict these freedoms, such as the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Data Privacy Act,” he argued.
DCMF calls for action
Doha Centre for Media Freedom issued a statement urging the government to offer better protection to media workers.
"DCMF strongly condemns the murder of Julius Cauzo in the latest attack on press freedom in the Philippines.
Reporters Withouth Borders (RSF) also made a statement, saying: “The lack of security for journalists in the Philippines is alarming and impunity is virtually systematic.”
“Cauzo’s murder must be investigated and the criminals responsible must be arrested. The motive has yet to be established and, in view of the threats he had received, the police should seriously consider the possibility that it was linked to his work,” added the group.
Philippines is currently ranked as 140th out of 179 countries in the RSF World Press Freedom Index.
Source: RSF, AFP