Journalist murdered in General Santos City: police

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 14 2010 04:41 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2010 12:41 AM

GENERAL SANTOS - A journalist was bludgeoned to death at a radio station in the southern Philippines, the latest fatality in a spate of media killings, police said Sunday.

Broadcaster and columnist Chito Abuzo was beaten to death with a rock in the southern city of General Santos late Saturday, in the compound of DXGS radio station, said city police chief Senior Superintendent Marcelo Pintac.

Although Abuzo was known as a critic of local politicians, police said the killing was likely motivated by a personal grudge, adding that they were hunting for a suspect.

The Philippines is regarded as one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists, partly due to a culture of impunity that allows those in power to commit crimes with little risk of punishment.

Thirty journalists were among 57 people murdered elsewhere in the southern Philippines in November last year in an attack blamed on a local political rivalry. A local Muslim politician is on trial for the murders and many of his relatives and cohorts have also been charged.

At least 134 journalists have been murdered since the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, with about 97 of the deaths occurring since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001, local press groups say.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said 32 journalists were killed in the Philippines in 2009, making it the world's deadliest country for journalists last year.