Philippines: Newspaper columnist gunned down

New York, January 23, 2006— The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Philippine authorities to fully investigate the killing of newspaper columnist Graciano Aquino, who was shot by unidentified gunmen on Saturday. Aquino was shot twice in the back of the neck at a cockfight in the town of Morong, 52 miles (84 kilometers) north of Manila.

CPJ is investigating to determine whether Aquino was killed because of his work as a journalist.

“The Philippines is the most dangerous country in the world for journalists outside of Iraq,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “Only when murders are fully investigated and the killers quickly brought to justice can the country become safer for reporters and all citizens.”