A radio presenter in the southern Philippines was shot dead in his studio in a brazen attack witnessed by people watching the show live on Facebook.
The gunman gained entry to the local radio station of Juan Jomalon, a regional news broadcaster also known as DJ Johnny Walker, by pretending to be a listener. Police said he was shot twice during a morning live broadcast in Calamba town, Misamis Occidental province.
Police said the attacker snatched the victim’s gold necklace before fleeing on a motorcycle with a companion who was waiting for him outside. An investigation is underway to identify the gunman and determine if the attack was work-related.
The Philippines has long been considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. strongly condemned the shooting and said he had ordered the national police to track down, arrest and prosecute the killers.
“Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy and those who threaten press freedom will face the full consequences of their actions,” Marcos said in a statement.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, an organization that monitors press freedom, said Gomalon was the 199th journalist killed in the country since 1986, when democracy returned after a “people power” uprising that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the father of the current regime. President, and forced him and his family into exile to the United States.
“The attack deserves greater condemnation because it occurred at Jomalon’s home, which also served as a radio station,” the organization said.
A video of the attack shows Jomalon, 57, stopping and looking up at something away from the camera before two shots ring out. He slides back into his chair as the background music plays. He was declared dead on his way to the hospital.
The attacker was not seen on Facebook live, and police said they were checking whether security cameras installed at the house and on his neighbors’ property had recorded anything.
In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their associates shot dead 58 people, including 32 media workers, in an attack in southern Maguindanao province. This was the deadliest attack on journalists in modern history.
While the mass killing was later linked to the violent electoral competition common in many rural areas, it also demonstrated the threats journalists face in the Philippines. An abundance of unlicensed weapons, private armies controlled by powerful clans and weak law enforcement in rural areas are among the security concerns facing journalists in the poverty-stricken country.
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