Journalist shot dead by gunmen on motorcycle

New York, July 1, 2008–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Philippine government to fully investigate the shooting death of Robert “Bert” Sison today in Sariaya town, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Manila. Sison reported for the weekly Regional Bulletin, which has published articles on crime and stories critical of local officials.

Sison, 60, was shot in his car by two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle and died at the scene. The gunmen also wounded his 30-year-old daughter, Liwayway, in the arm before fleeing the scene. Sison’s 24-year-old daughter, Amirah, escaped unharmed by pretending to be dead. Both of Sison’s daughters also report for the Regional Bulletin.

“We are deeply troubled by Bert Sison’s killing and implore the local authorities to investigate his death swiftly,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “The Philippine government must do all it can to ensure that journalists will not be harmed for performing their duties. Our condolences go out to the Sison family.”

CPJ is investigating whether Sison’s murder is connecting to his work as a journalist. Sison is the second Philippine journalist killed this year, according to CPJ.

The Philippines ranks among the deadliest nations for journalists. In its Global Campaign Against Impunity, CPJ has partnered with local press groups in the Philippines to raise awareness of the unresolved killings of dozens of journalists. CPJ research shows an impunity rate of over 90 percent in murders of Philippine journalists.