Reporters Without Borders Press Release

11 May 2005

Fourth journalist murdered since the start of the year

Reporters Without Borders voiced alarm today at the murder of Philip Agustin, the editor and publisher of the weekly Starline Times Recorder, who was gunned down last night in Dingalan (in Aurora province, northeast of Manila), becoming the second journalist to be murdered in the Philippines in less than a week and the fourth so far this year.

"The Philippine authorities must immediately deploy all the necessary resources to stem the horrible wave of murders that has engulfed the press since the return to democracy in 1986," the press freedom organization said.

"Two journalists have been killed in the space of a week in what is the world's most dangerous country for the press after Iraq - these murders must stop going unpunished so that journalists can finally work in a normal conditions worthy of a democracy," the organization added.

Aged 54, Agustin was inside the home of his daughter, Roseville Cruz, when a gunman fired through a window and then fled on a motorcycle. Agustin was killed by a single shot behind the left ear. His daughter did not get a chance to see the killers.

Agustin had arrived a few hours earlier in Dingalan with 500 copies of the latest issue of his newspaper, in which he often carried articles about corruption. He had recently published articles about Dingalan mayor Jaime Ylarde, a former police officer. Ylarde denied any involvement in Agustin's murder in an interview today for the TV station GMA-7 and promised to step up the investigation.

Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without Borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.

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