GUNMEN shot dead an anchor of a radio station in Kidapawan City on Wednesday night.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Eduardo “Ed” Dizon of 97.5 Brigada News FM was driving home to Tejada Subdivision in Makilala town after hosting his “Tira Brigada” program when two men on a motorcycle opened fire on him along Quezon Boulevard near the Colegio de Kidapawan around 10:35 pm.
He succumbed to five gunshot wounds.
“Dizon managed to steer his car to the side of the road but died from five gunshots to the body,” the NUJP said, quoting Lt. Col. Maria Joyce Birrey, Kidapawan police chief.
The NUJP said Dizon’s murder could be work-related. Days before he was shot, Dizon went to the police after receiving a death threat through a text message.
The victim served as station manager until last year when he made an unsuccessful run for councilor in Makilala, the group said.
If his murder is determined to be connected to his work, Dizon would be the 13th journalist killed under the administration of President Duterte, and the 186th since 1986, according to NUJP.
In a statement, the Brigada Group said it “condemns in strongest terms the killing… in the wake of (Dizon’s) relentless exposé against unscrupulous individuals and organizations involved in illegal undertakings.”
“Brigada Group sees the attack on Mr. Dizon, a veteran and seasoned broadcast journalist who was an organic employee of Brigada, as an attempt to silence Brigada media and its news personalities from their exposé and position on prevailing issues,” the statement reads.
In a statement it released Thursday, NUJP said “Dizon’s murder underscores yet again how the overwhelming failure of government to ensure justice violent crime can only invite even more bloodshed by perpetrators emboldened by the certainty that they can literally get away with murder.”
“We demand that authorities solve Dizon’s murder and ensure the perpetrators are caught and successfully prosecuted,” it said.
At the same time, the NUJP added, “we demand that government do its duty and end the culture of impunity that continues to embolden those for whom violence is the preferred means to resolve dispute.”
Meanwhile, the NUJP will hold a forum on safety at a hotel here on Saturday.
NUJP-Cagayan de Oro chairperson Pamela Jay Orias said the consultation cum roundtable discussion will focus on important issues the members of the press are facing today such as safety and security concerns in the context of the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
Orias said the activity, which will be participated in by NUJP officers from all over Mindanao, is timely as another media person was killed in Kidapawan City Wednesday night.
The discussion, she said, is a much-needed venue for journalists to bring these issues and discuss them with colleagues.
“The situation is alarming and the atmosphere no longer secure for a journalists working in Mindanao,” she added.
Orias said it is the hope of the NUJP to remind media workers that safety is of the utmost priority in coverage, especially in conflict areas, or when tackling sensitive topics.
“As a reminder to our fellow journalists, this I say, ‘no story is worth dying for,’” she said. (Jigger J. Jerusalem and Mindanews)