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Journalist Shot In The Philippines

Journalist Shot In The Philippines

MANILA: (IFJ-Asia/Pacific Media Watch): Journalists' safety has again come under fire in the Philippines, says the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) following the third journalist death in 2006.

Orlando Mendoza, 58, of Barangay San Miguel, was gunned down on April 2, while driving his jeep home from his farm.

Mendoza: contributor, Tarlac Profile; editor-in-chief, Tarlac Patrol; vice-president, Camp Marabulos Press Club (Philippines National Police's Tarlac camp); and director, Tarlac chapter of the Central Luzon Media Association sustained fatal wounds to his head and body after men appeared from a grassy spot and shot him several times.

It remains unclear if Mendoza's death is in connection with his work as a journalist or connected to his involvement in several land disputes linked to his prior employment at the municipal office of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Mendoza's reports and columns are not normally described as critical of individuals or organisations, however in March a local faction of the Philippine Guardian Brotherhood, a military fraternity charged him with libel after feeling vilified in one of Mendoza's columns, the charge was dismissed in late march.

"On behalf of the IFJ I offer my sincerest condolences to Orlando Mendoza's family and colleagues," said IFJ president Christopher Warren.

"I ask the Philippines Government to put an end to journalists' killings by giving journalists' safety the priority it deserves," said Warren.

"There can be no press freedom in the Philippines while journalists are forced to live in fear," said Warren.

According to IFJ affiliate, National Union of Journalists (NUJP), Mendoza was the 76th journalist killed since 1986 and the third journalist killed in 2006.

+++niuswire

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