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Philippines: Radio journalist shot dead in home studio during live broadcast

According to police, the suspect reportedly sought permission to enter the journalist's residence to announce "something important". After the shooting, his wife rushed him to the hospital , where he was declared dead.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Manila Published on: November 06, 2023 10:11 IST
Police checks in on the area where Jumalon was killed.
Image Source : AP Police checks in on the area where Jumalon was killed.

A radio anchor was shot dead in the Philippines while performing a live broadcast at his home-based studio, according to police. The victim was identified as the 57-year-old Juan Jumalon, known as DJ Johnny Walker.

Jumalon was live-streaming on Facebook when the suspect entered his residence and shot him. The suspect reportedly asked permission to enter the recording booth to announce "something important on air", reported BBC.

The radio anchor's wife took him to hospital immediately after the incident, but doctors pronounced him dead upon arrival. The police said that they were not aware of any previous threats against his life.

Moreover, the Calamba Police has urged the Misamis Occidental Provincial Forensic Unit to identify the murder weapon through a ballistics test. "We are now actively conducting a thorough investigation to identify the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice. A Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) will be created to spearhead and coordinate the investigative efforts to facilitate the speedy resolution of the case," said Gen Ricardo Layug, acting regional director of the Police Regional Office.

Philippines President condemns killing

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr condemned the killing of the journalist and instructed the police to conduct a thorough investigation to "swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice".

"I have instructed the PNP to conduct a thorough investigation to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions," he said on platform X.

Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Paul Gutierrez called for a special investigation group to investigate the killing of Jumalon, and stated, "Even as we extend our sympathy to the victim's family and friends over this dastardly attack."

"While the motive is yet to be determined, we consider this incident work-related for the moment," Gutierrez added. Meanwhile, the original live video of Jumalon's broadcast was deleted from Facebook, but people managed to screen-record the shooting. Additionally, the screen recording showed the suspect grabbing Jumalon's gold necklace before hurriedly leaving the crime scene.

Killing of journalists in the Philippines

Notably, four journalists have been killed since Marcos Jr took office in June 2022, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines said. "The attack is even more condemnable since it happened at Jumalon's own home, which also served as the radio station," the union said.

The Philippines ranked eighth in the CPJ 2023 Global Impunity Index for countries where the killings of journalists go unpunished. Reportedly, Jumalon was the second radio commentator in Mindanao to have been killed in the middle of a broadcast. Back in 1985, Charlie Aberilla, 64, was shot dead inside his radio booth in Iligan City.

(with ANI inputs)

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