Assassins gun down Philippine broadcaster outside home

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Assassinated broadcaster Federico
Assassinated broadcaster Federico "Ding" Gempesaw ... another blow to press freedom in the Philippines. Image: IFJ/FB

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

Radio broadcaster Federico “Ding” Gempesaw has been shot and killed in broad daylight in front of his home in Carmen, Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao, reports the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

The IFJ and its affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), condemn the murder and urge the local authorities to immediately bring the perpetrators to justice.

Gempesaw was a political commentator and host of the daily block-time programme Bitayan Sa Kahanginan, which aired on the local community radio network Radyo Natin.

According to the police report, two masked gunmen shot at Gempesaw on June 29. One of the perpetrators shot him at close range after Gempesaw stepped down from his taxi, which he owned and drove.

Although he was wounded, Gempesaw wrestled with one assailant before a second bullet hit his head. He died at the scene.

According to witnesses, the murderers fled on a motorcycle without a licence plate.

Gempesaw is the third radio broadcaster to be killed in Mindanao this year. In January, Jaynard Angeles, a station manager of Radyo Natin, was shot dead in Carmen, Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, by unidentified suspects.

On April 24, Jhannah Villegas was killed in the town of Datu Anggal Midtimbang, in Maguindanao province. Like Gempesaw, Villegas was also a block-time broadcaster on Radyo Ukay in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.

Latest blow
The NUJP said Gempesaw’s murder is the latest blow to press freedom in the Philippines.

The term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who left office on June 30, has been characterised by attacks on the media, including the murder of journalists, blocking access to alternative media, and red-tagging.

The NUJP said: “The brutal murder of Gempesaw has no place in a democratic society, and we demand that the police leave no stone unturned and bring the perpetrators, as well as the mastermind, to justice.”

IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ condemns the killing of Federico Gempesaw. The authorities must take immediate action to investigate the murder and bring those responsible to justice. We also urge the government of the Philippines to take the strongest efforts to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers.”

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