Philippine media killings: Some journalists had it coming, probers say

Philippine media killings: Some journalists had it coming, probers say
Radio journalist Rogelio Butalid lies dead outside the Radyo Natin station in Tagum City after being shot by a lone gunman on Wednesday. Butalid (inset) was also a village councilor.

Government investigators on Friday said the recent killings of journalists in Mindanao may have something to do with the way they practiced journalism.

The investigators, who agreed to talk to Inquirer on the condition they would not be named, gave one example: "(He) berated his targets like they were the worst animal on Earth and cocked his gun on the air, challenging his targets to a gunfight."

The investigators did not name the broadcaster they referred to but those familiar with the airwaves in Mindanao said the style fits that of Joas Dignos, who was recently ambused in Valencia City, Bukidnon.

Others killed in the past two weeks include Michael Milo in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur, and Rogelio Butalid in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

The investigators went on to say "journalists in Mindanao should re-examine the conduct of their colleagues who continuously violate their code of ethics."

Bothering finds

"These findings bother us because we want to put an end to this violence and we need the cooperation of everyone," an investigator added.

The investigators, however, stopped short of recommending what kind of journalism they had in mind to stop the apparent impunity in the killing of hard-hitting broadcasters.

Monsignor Elmer Abacahin, head of the media group in Cagayan de Oro City confirmed the findings of the investigators but added this was "not sufficient reason to kill the victims."

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