Bangkok, September 5, 2012–Philippine authorities must immediately investigate the murder of a radio journalist, establish the motive, and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The body of Eddie Jesus Apostol, a part-time radio blocktime reporter with DXND Radio in the southern province of Maguindanao, was found on September 1 in the Liguasan Marsh near the town of Sultan sa Barongis, according to news reports. A military spokesman said Apostol had been shot twice in the head and his hands and feet bound with rope, news reports said. Apostol’s motorcycle and an unspecified amount of money were missing, but his press card was found near his body, the reports cited the police as saying.
Apostol, a former town councilor, co-hosted a weekly radio program known as “Council on the Air” that focused on indigenous people and science, according to news reports. The block-time journalist, who had been on the air for about a year, also frequently interviewed local government officials about their projects, news reports said. Block-timing is a practice in which a broadcaster leases air time from a radio station.
Ramil Apostol said his family had last seen his brother on August 29 when he left his village for a “treasure hunt” with an unidentified person in North Cotabato province, according to news reports. Apostol was known for his treasure-hunting activities and often went on such trips, news reports said. He said the police had suggested robbery as a possible motive for Apostol’s murder, according to a GMA News report.
Malu Manar, DXND Radio’s programming director, told reporters that it was not immediately clear if Apostol’s killing was related to his work. Police did not immediately establish a motive or identify suspects in the murder, news reports said.
At least three other journalists have been killed in the Philippines in 2012. CPJ is investigating to determine whether their deaths were related to their work. Radio block-time reporters, who lease airtime from a radio station, are frequently targeted in provincial areas of the Philippines, CPJ research shows.
- For more data and analysis on the Philippines, visit CPJ’s Philippines page here.