THE Mindanao Independent Press Council Inc. (MIPC) has expressed deep sorrow and strong condemnation following the murder of Juan Jumalon, a well-known independent community radio broadcaster in Calamba, Misamis Occidental, who was shot dead while having a live broadcast on Sunday morning, November 5, 2023.
"We express our deepest concern and unequivocal condemnation of this brazen act of violence against a member of the media. Attacks on journalists are not only attacks on the individuals themselves but are a grave assault on the fundamental principles of human rights, press freedom, and democracy itself," the MIPC said.
"Such acts have become notably frequent in this country, and no matter how many journalists are killed in the name of freedom of expression, it remains a fact that this barbarity has no place in a just and civilized society," it added.
According to initial reports from the local police, the 57-year-old broadcaster was fatally shot inside his own radio station, 94.7 Calamba Gold FM, located within his residence, at approximately 5:35 a.m. on November 5.
Despite immediate efforts to provide medical assistance, Jumalon, who is also popularly known as Johnny Walker, succumbed to his injuries upon arrival at Calamba District Hospital. The motive behind this heinous act remains under investigation.
The MIPC called on authorities to take immediate and decisive action in response to the incident and to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation to identify and bring the perpetrators to justice.
"This incident underscores the importance of ensuring the safety and security of journalists in the Philippines and the need for measures that prevent such acts from recurring. We urge the authorities to commit to safeguarding the lives and well-being of journalists, who play a vital role in upholding transparency and accountability in our society," MPIC said.
The MPIC said that media killings in the country "not only not only harm individual journalists but also create a chilling effect on the media's ability to fulfill its vital role in a democratic society."
"The overall state of media safety in the Philippines remains a pressing concern. Journalists must be allowed to carry out their work without fear of violence, intimidation, or reprisals. It is crucial for the authorities, civil society, and the international community to work collaboratively in addressing these challenges, ensuring the safety of journalists, and upholding the principles of press freedom and free expression," MPIC said.
"We extend our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Juan Jumalon and stand in solidarity with the media community in the Misamis Occidental during this difficult time. We call for swift action to bring justice to those responsible for this senseless act and to reinforce the protection of journalists in the country," it added.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has ordered the Philippine National Police to conduct an investigation into the assassination of Misamis Occidental broadcaster Juan Jumalon inside the radio station on Sunday, October 5, 2023. (SunStar Philippines)