Groups denounce yet another media killing, 11th under Duterte

Media groups denounced the murder of yet another journalist Thursday afternoon, the 11th victim of media killing under Rodrigo Duterte’s government.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the NUJP Davao Chapter, and the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club (DNPRC) denounced the killing of Dennis Denora, publisher of the community newspaper Trends and Times and correspondent of Sun Star Davao in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

“Denora is the 11th journalist killed in the less than two years since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office and the 184th since 1986,” the NUJP said.

The victim was shot by an unidentified gunman who fled on foot after the shooting, Panabo City Police reported.

Denora, 67, was seated in front of a sedan car that was cruising along the city’s national highway when shot.

He was killed on the spot.

The NUJP said that while there is still no official word on the possible motive for his murder, it was likely related to his work as a journalist.

“Denora’s colleagues in the province acknowledge that he was ‘fearless’ in his commentaries in broadcast and print,” the group added.

The NUJP Davao Chapter said Denora’s death is a clear assault to press freedom, and amplifies the existing climate of fear among journalists who are working in their local communities.

“His death underscores the worsening state of media killings in the country. With this, we want the government to take concrete actions to stop these senseless killings by speedily resolving these cases and bring people who attack journalists [to justice],” NUJP Davao said.

In a separate statement, the DNPRC said Denora, also an officer and member of the Davao Region Multi-Media group (DRMMG), was known for his fearless commentaries both in print and on radio.

“[Denora’s] death awakens the anger and pains of journalists who do their job and yet are being judged by the pistol,” the group said.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) for its part said its secretariat has already directed the Philippine National Police Task Force Usig to conduct a “deep investigation” on Denora’s killing.

Task Force Usig is a special police unit created to investigate media killings.

A Special Investigation Task Group will be formed to lead the local probe, PTFOMS said.

“Like in previous cases, whether related to work or not, it is our official policy to initially treat any violent incident involving media workers as ‘work related,’” PTFOMS executive director Joel Egco said.

“We will leave no stone unturned to serve the ends of justice. Make no mistake about it,” Egco said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)