Pimentel urged Senate to probe media killings

A SENATOR called Tuesday for a Senate inquiry into the media killings, days after a radio broadcaster was gunned down in Tagbilaran City.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, chair of Senate committee on justice and human rights, condemned the killing of Engr. Maurito Lim who was shot dead outside the dyRD station in Tagbilaran City last Saturday.

"[The] savage media attack again blotted the country's image being among the five most dangerous places for journalists in the world," the senator said.

A study of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) showed that the country ranked third among the world's deadliest places for the press in 2013.

From 1992 to 2013, CPJ said 77 journalists were killed in the Philippines due to their line of work.

About 61 percent of those killed covered politics while 43 percent of the victims covered corruption.

In 2009, the country's single worst killing of journalist was in Maguindanao where 32 media workers were killed.

By the end of 2014, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines statistics revealed that 20 media men were killed since President Benigno Aquino III assumed post in 2010.

Pimentel noted that the Philippines has improved to 141st from last year's 149th in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index, a site which measures the level of freedom of information in 180 countries.

He said the police's "inability" to resolve pending murder cases and the increase in new media attacks would again pull the country down.

Pimentel said he was dismayed at the "slow" resolution of work-related cases and the failure of authorities to arrest the suspects behind the ambush.

"The alleged gunmen have either escaped or remained at large and police investigating the murders are usually facing a blank wall because of the refusal of witnesses to cooperate for fear of their own lives," Pimentel said.

Pimentel said the police have to exert "extra" efforts in arresting the suspects on the media killings.

"We cannot allow impunity to reign especially at the expense of press freedom," he said.

Aside from Pimentel, Senators Grace Poe and Loren Legarda also filed a resolution to address the media killing in the country. (Sunnex)

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