Int’l media groups condemn killing of Dumaguete broadcaster
International watchdog groups condemned on Thursday the fatal shooting of a Dumaguete broadcaster, calling the murder “appalling” as his death occurred two days before the World Press Freedom Day.
Journalist groups Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières or RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the killing of Edmund Sestoso, radio anchor of DyGB 91.7 FM in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, where he was gunned down on Monday while on his way home.
Sestoso was attacked at around 10:30 a.m., few hours after he finished hosting his popular morning program, “Tug-anan sa Power 91,” where he discussed wide-ranging local issues, including politics and armed conflict.
“We are absolutely horrified by this tragedy and we express our complete solidarity with the Philippine media community, which is once again in mourning,” RSF Asia-Pacific desk head Daniel Bastard said in a statement.
“Edmund Sestoso worked for the public good by explaining news developments in the Dumaguete region to his listeners, sometimes tackling very sensitive issues. We urge the authorities to do everything possible to find both the killer and instigators, and to not let this crime go unpunished,” he added.
According to the police, 51-year old Sestoso was shot in the chest, stomach, and legs by an unidentified man just as the broadcaster was about to pay his tricycle fare. According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said the gunman also shot the tires of a pedicab whose driver tried to transport him to a hospital.
The broadcaster died on Tuesday, succumbing to infection and internal bleeding, the police said.
Sestoso is the ninth journalist killed since 2016 and the 182nd since 1986, according to the NUJP.
RSF and CPJ called on the government to investigate and immediately solve Sestoso’s killing, which, according to INQUIRER.net sources, is believed to have been caused by a longstanding feud between Negros Oriental 3rd District Cong. Arnie Teves and Gov. Roel Degamo.
“Authorities must leave no stone unturned in identifying and prosecuting those responsible for the heinous killing of journalist Edmund Sestoso,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative.
“Until President Rodrigo Duterte does more to break the cycle of impunity in media murders, these wanton killings will continue on his watch,” he added.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) has launched an investigation on the killing and presumes, as a matter of policy, that the incident is work-related.
Long regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, the Philippines has fallen six places in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index and is now ranked is ranked 133rd out of 180 countries. /je
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