Philippines: Broadcaster critically wounded in shooting

New York, December 4, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists said today it was investigating whether the shooting of journalist Arnie Pullan on the central Philippine island of Iloilo was related to his work as a radio host. An unidentified gunman shot and seriously wounded Pullan on December 1 as he left the station of MBC-Radio Natin in the town of Estancia.

Pullan hosts a radio show called “The Mayor’s Hour” with Rene Cordero, the mayor of Estancia. He was shot twice in the head while riding a motorcycle with councilor Butch Aclaro, according to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), and local and international news reports. Aclaro’s injuries are not known.

Police did not say whether the shooting was journalism-related.

Cordero claimed the attack was politically motivated “because Pullan and Aclaro are my men and supporters,” according to the daily Sun Star Iloilo.

Retired police general Restituto Mosqueda, who is challenging Cordero for the mayoralty, called suggestions that he was behind the attack “libelous, unfounded, brazen lies and baseless,” according to the Iloilo City-based daily The News Today. Mosqueda condemned the shooting and alleged that Cordero himself may have orchestrated it.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, according to CPJ research. At least three journalists were killed this year in relation with their work.

“We deplore the shooting of Arnie Pullan, and call on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Attacks on writers and broadcasters in the Philippines, where journalists are often allied with political candidates, are far too common, and pose a real threat to press freedom.”