A popular radio presenter was shot dead live on air, as several people watched on in shock via a Facebook livestream.
Juan Jumalon, 57, had been broadcasting from home when a gunman gained entry by pretending to be a listener, before opening fire. The journalist, known as DJ Johnny Walker, was shot twice during the morning show for 94.7 Gold FM in Calamba, the Philippines. Afterwards the attacker snatched a gold necklace worn by the victim before fleeing on a motorbike with a companion waiting outside. The Philippines has long been regarded as one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world, after a string of four deaths in the country since last year.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. strongly condemned the shooting and said he ordered the national police to track down, arrest and prosecute the killers. He said in a statement: “Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy and those who threaten the freedom of the press will face the full consequences of their actions.” An investigation is underway to identify the gunman and establish if the attack was related to his job.
A video of the attack shows the DJ pausing and looking upward at something away from the camera before two shots rang out. He slumped back bloodied in his chair as background music played on. He was pronounced dead on the way to a hospital. The attacker was not seen on the Facebook livestream but police said they were checking if security cameras installed in the house and at his neighbours recorded anything.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, a press freedom watchdog, said Jumalon was the 199th journalist to be killed in the country since 1986. The same year saw democracy return after a “People Power” uprising toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the father of the current president, and forced him and his family into U.S. exile. The watchdog said: “The attack is even more condemnable since it happened at Jumalon’s own home, which also served as the radio station.”
In 2009, members of a powerful political clan and their associates gunned down 58 people, including 32 media workers, in a brazen execution-style attack in southern Maguindanao province. It was the deadliest single attack on journalists in recent history. While the mass killing was later linked to a violent electoral rivalry common in many rural areas, it also showcased the threats faced by journalists in the Philippines. A surfeit of unlicensed guns and private armies controlled by powerful clans and weak law enforcement in rural regions are among the security concerns journalists face in the poverty-stricken Southeast Asian country.