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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Filipino radio journalist fatally shot during live broadcast

A police officer checked the room where a journalist, Juan Jumalon, was fatally shot during a live broadcast at his home in the southwest Philippines on Sunday.

By Isabella Kwai

A Filipino radio journalist, Juan Jumalon, was brutally shot and killed during a live broadcast at his home in the southwest Philippines early Sunday, according to local authorities, who were searching for possibly multiple attackers.

Jumalon, 57, who hosted a radio program under the name DJ Johnny Walker, was livestreaming his show on Facebook when a shooter entered the radio booth just after 5:30 a.m., the Misamis Occidental police said in a statement. The gunman then “without hesitation” shot Jumalon in the face before fleeing.

A special task group is investigating the killing, which occurred in the town of Calamba, the Misamis Occidental police said Monday, releasing a digital sketch of one of three people possibly involved in the attack. Police described him as a man of medium build wearing a red cap, a green T-shirt and black pants.

Jumalon broadcast sessions of his show from a radio booth at his home to a radio network and followers of his Facebook page, called 94.7 Gold FM Calamba. His final livestream had disappeared from his page as of Monday, but footage of the attack circulating online appeared to show Jumalon pausing during the broadcast, before two shots rang out.

Authorities were not discounting that the shooting was related to the journalist’s work but were also exploring other motives, Col. Dwight Monato, a police director investigating the case, said in a news conference Monday.

CCTV footage showed two assailants entering the home while a third person stayed outside as a lookout, according to the news site Rappler. Authorities said the group fled on a motorcycle.

The assailants had gained entry to Jumalon’s home on the pretense that there was an urgent announcement to make, the governor of Misamis Occidental, Henry Oaminal, said on Facebook.

“I share the grief of his family and the people of my province, for we lost a truth crusader,” Oaminal said, calling him a “fearless broadcaster.”

Jumalon was the fourth journalist to be killed in the Philippines since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took office in June 2022 and the 199th since 1986, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, which condemned the “brazen” attack in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The attack is even more condemnable since it happened at Jumalon’s own home, which also served as the radio station.”

“Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy,” Marcos said in a post on X, “and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions.” He said he had instructed authorities to conduct “a thorough investigation.”

A government media security group said it would offer a reward for information leading to an arrest.

The Philippines has ranked among the worst countries for press freedoms, and experienced a yearslong crackdown on them fueled by the administration of Rodrigo Duterte, the former president. Marcos took office last year, but attacks on journalists have persisted, news media organizations in the Philippines said.

In a 2023 report, the Committee to Project Journalists ranked the Philippines eighth on a list of countries in which the killers of journalists were likely to go unpunished.

“The Philippines remains a dangerous place to work as a reporter,” the group said in the report, “especially for radio journalists.”

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