Philippines: Tabloid photojournalist shot dead

New York, July 31, 2006—Three gunmen killed a photographer for the tabloid Tanod, outside his Manila home early this morning, according to local and international news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating to determine whether Vic Melendrez was killed in relation to his work.

The unidentified assailants shot Melendrez multiple times as he was walking outside his home in the capital. Police told reporters that the motives for the attack were unclear.

“We’re still verifying the motive for the killing,” Manila Police Chief Moises Guevarra told reporters, according to Reuters. “It could be personal. We’re looking at a possible connection with the murder of his cousin in May.”

Melendrez’ cousin, Albert Orsolino, was also a photojournalist. Police have said that Orsolino’s murder did not appear to be journalism-related.

The Philippines is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists. In 2005, more journalists were murdered there than any other place outside of Iraq.