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Radio host shot dead in Philippines

Tuesday 23 Aug 2011
Gunmen shot dead the host of a political radio show in the Philippines, police said on Tuesday.

Broadcaster Niel Jimena, 42, is the latest journalist to be killed in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters. He was riding his motorcycle in the central island of Negros on Monday when two men on another motorcycle shot him five times, said local police chief Leonardo Cobing.

“He noticed he was being followed, he tried to make a U-turn (to escape) but the two men continued to follow him until… one of them opened fire,” said Mr Cobing.

The killing may be linked to Mr Jimena’s twice-weekly show Judge on DYRI-RMN in Iloilo city on Negros where he regularly criticised the city mayor and other local officials, according to Mr Cobing.

The head of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Nestor Burgos, said his staff were checking to see if Mr Jimena’s killing was related to his work as a journalist.

In what is a common practice in the Philippines, a local business tycoon had bought regular airtime on the radio station for Mr Jimena’s show, in which the broadcaster attacked his patron’s rivals on air, according to Mr Burgos.

The union had previously listed four journalists killed this year and 145 murdered since democracy was restored in 1986, Mr Burgos said.

Malacañang Palace condemned the murder of a radio broadcaster in Negros Occidental and directed the police to hunt down the culprits of the crime, Manila Bulletin reported.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda assured the family of Niel Aranga Jimena that the “full force of the law” will be applied to arrest his killers.