Radio journalist shot dead in the Philippines

Bangkok, February 18, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Philippine authorities to investigate the murder on Saturday of radio journalist Maurito Lim and bring the assailant to justice.

A gunman shot Lim once in the head at around 11 a.m. after the journalist arrived for his regular “Chairman Mao On Board” news program at dyRD radio station in Bohol province’s Tagbilaran City, according to news reports. The assailant fled the scene on a motorcycle, the reports said.

Lim underwent emergency surgery at Tagbilaran City’s Governor Celestino Gallares Hospital for a bullet wound in his jaw and face, but died in the afternoon, news reports said.

Police said they were examining closed-circuit television camera footage of the scene to identify the gunman, news reports said. Police also said they were investigating whether Lim’s death was related to his journalism

Leo Udtuhan, vice chairman of the Tagbilaran branch of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines, told reporters that Lim’s broadcast reports often alleged local official involvement in the illegal drug trade, according to news reports.

“Maurito Lim’s murder shows that the killers of journalists are as emboldened as ever under President Benigno Aquino’s watch,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “The Philippines will remain one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a journalist until President Aquino’s government shows stronger resolve in prosecuting cases like Lim’s and breaking the cycle of impunity in all media murders.”

Aquino said in an October 2014 speech that his government aimed to stop attacks on the press “until this number reaches zero,” according to news reports. At least nine journalists have been killed for their work since Aquino was elected president in May 2010, according to CPJ research. In the same period, 18 reporters, including Lim, have been killed in cases where the motive is unclear.

The Philippines ranks third on CPJ’s Impunity Index, a global measure of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. More journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work in the Philippines than anywhere apart from Iraq and Syria since CPJ began keeping detailed records in 1992.

  • For more on impunity in the killing of journalists, see CPJ’s special report, “The Road to Justice.”