Another Philippine journalist murdered: police

MANILA (AFP) - A radio broadcaster was shot dead in the Philippines Monday, police said, the third journalist in just over a month to be murdered in one of the most dangerous countries for media workers.

A gunman riding a motorcycle shot Nilo Baculo, 67, from close range outside his home in the small, central city of Calapan, local police chief Superintendent Glicerio Cansilao said.

"We are investigating whether it had something to do with his work, although at the moment we could not say categorically," Mr Cansilao told AFP.

He said Mr Baculo used to work as a commentator and newsreader for the DWIM radio until it shut down last year.

The Philippines is the third most dangerous country in the world to be a media worker, behind Syria and Iraq, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Philippines is so dangerous because of what is described as a "culture of impunity", where powerful figures, such as politicians or businessmen, can organise the killing of journalists or other critics without fear of being caught.

These figures can rely on corrupt police and politicians, as well as a graft-tainted judicial system, to ensure they will not be held to account.

Mr Baculo's murder came after another radio broadcaster was shot dead in the southern city of Davao on May 23. A fortnight earlier yet another radio broadcaster was shot dead in the southern Philippines.

Four journalists have been killed this year, and 33 since President Benigno Aquino came to power in 2010, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Mr Aquino and his aides have promised repeatedly to stem the killings and track down the murderers of those who have already fallen, but the union and other press groups say the president has done little to change the culture.

"We had expected a lot from this government, and we have been repeatedly let down," union national director Nestor Burgos told AFP.

In the deadliest political and media-related attack in Philippine history, 32 journalists were among 58 people killed in the southern province of Maguindanao in November 2009.

Leaders of a local political clan have been accused of organising the massacre and are on trial. However those proceedings are expected to take many years to complete and already key witnesses have been murdered.

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