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Newspaper Publisher Shot Dead in Southern Philippines

Dennis Jay Santos
Davao City, Philippines
2018-06-07
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College students burn an image of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as they participate in a protest to defend press freedom in Manila, Jan. 17, 2018.
College students burn an image of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as they participate in a protest to defend press freedom in Manila, Jan. 17, 2018.
AFP

A gunman shot and killed a hard-hitting community newspaper publisher in the southern Philippines on Thursday, police said, in the latest attack against the nation’s free-wheeling press.

Dennis Denora, 67, publisher of the Trends and Times weekly newspaper in Davao del Norte province, was attacked shortly past noon in the southern city of Panab, provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Alan Manibog said.

He was the 10th journalist to be killed since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016 and the 183rd since authoritarian ruler Ferdinand Marcos was ousted in 1986, rights groups and media monitors said.

The victim was with his driver in his car near a public market when he was shot by a gunman. His driver, according to police, was also wounded but has been declared out of danger. Police have yet to establish a motive for the shooting.

“There’s ongoing investigation right now from our policemen in Panabo,” Manibog told reporters.

Denora's killing follows that of Edmund Sestoso, a crusading journalist who died last month as the nation marked World Press Freedom Day. Sestoso, 50, whose radio program tackled corruption, was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding gunmen in the central Philippines.

Denora’s colleagues condemned the attack, and called on the government to investigate the murder.

The Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club (DNPRC) said it was “angered and saddened” by the attack, noting that the murder happened in broad daylight.

“This is a tragic reminder of the physical risks journalists take as they work in the field,” club President Pamela Gay Perales said in a statement.

Perales said that Denora was known “for his fearless forecasts both in newspaper and radio” relating to local issues, mostly political.

“We at DNPRC, believe it is not justifiable to take one’s life for personal or political reasons. His death awakens the anger and pains of journalists who do their job and yet are being judged by the pistol,” she said.

The worst killing of media practitioners in the Philippines took place in November 2009, when 32 journalists were among 58 people massacred by a Muslim clan in the southern province of Maguindanao, officials said.

Jeoffrey Maitem from Cotabato City contributed to this report.

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