MANILA (Reuters) – Two gunmen on a motorcycle shot dead a radio journalist outside his home in the Philippines on Tuesday, police said, four years after the broadcaster survived a near-identical assassination attempt.
Virgilio Maganes, 62, based in the province of Pangasinan, northwest of Manila, was shot six times and died at the scene, they said in a statement.
The Presidential Task Force on Media Security described the killing as “an act of cowardice” and vowed to hunt down those responsible.
Maganes had survived the previous attempt on his life in November 2016 by playing dead.
“We demand that the authorities work fast to solve his death, which could be related to the botched attempt on his life,” the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said in a statement.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said both his murder and the 2016 attack would be investigated to establish whether they were linked to his work as a journalist.
Despite its reputation for having one of Asia’s most liberal media scenes, the Philippines is one of the world’s most deadly countries for journalists, with at least 190 killed in the past 35 years. Provincial broadcasters are among those most targeted.
President Rodrigo Duterte made creating the media security task force a priority on taking office in 2016, but his critics say press freedom has deteriorated on his watch.
They point to his verbal tirades and lawsuits against news organisations and his failure to condemn online trolling and threats against media made by his diehard supporters.
The Duterte administration denies targeting media for its reporting.
(Reporting by Martin Petty; Editing by Gareth Jones)