Task force on media security to look into broadcaster’s killing

(The Freeman) - May 8, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Department of Justice ordered a panel tasked with making sure journalists are safe to investigate the death of a radio broadcaster in Negros Oriental.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he has instructed the Presidential Task Force on Media Security to investigate the killing of Cornelio Pepino, a reporter and anchorman of radio dyMD Energy FM, who was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Dumaguete City on Tuesday.

Guevarra said the National Bureau of Investigation could assist in the probe of PTFoMS or conduct a parallel investigation.

“We let the NBI step in whenever the PNP faces a blank wall or when there is reasonable basis to believe that other law enforcers were involved,” Guevarra said.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said Pepino is the third broadcaster murdered in Dumaguete since 2018 after Edmund Estoso and Dindo Generoso.

The Commission of Human Rights on Wednesday condemned the killing of Pepino, saying acts of violence against media workers “send a chilling effect and cultivate a culture of fear and silence.”

“Journalists deserve utmost protection for they fuel our democracy. Without the information, education, and truth-probing enabled by a free press, other freedoms we enjoy may be in peril,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said, adding CHR Central Visayas will investigate and monitor the case.

Sixty-one cases of attacks against members of the Philippine press were recorded between January 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020, the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All network said.

The Philippines placed 136th out of 180 countries on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index of Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. In 2019, the country ranked 134th.  Philstar.com (FREEMAN)

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