- By Priya Chopra
A journalist has been killed after criticising officials over illegal drugs lab
A provincial newspaper publisher and columnist has been shot dead after writing an article alleging official negligence over a recently discovered methamphetamine laboratory.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUP) has spoken out and publicly condemned Monday’s murder of Larry Que, publisher of a news site on the island of Catanduanes.
The NUP stated that it has “Challenged” President Rodrigo Duterte to find the perpetrators and utilise a special task force he set up to protect media personnel.
Singer James Taylor has cancelled his Philippines concert in direct protest to the killing commenting that he is not political but “Sometimes you have to make a political stand against unacceptable assaults on the rule of law”.
The Philippines enjoys one of Asia’s most liberal media environments, yet it has become one of the most dangerous for journalists.
Large numbers of journalists have been killed over the past three decades with radio broadcasters who cover provincial politics amongst the most commonly targeted victims. Investigations into such murders are all to often closed as inconclusive.
The NUP said Que, who had run the news site ‘Catanduanes News Now’, a new publication that had only been operable for two weeks before his murder was shot in the head outside of his work place. Prior to his move into media Que ran an insurance firm and ran for local office.
His article according to the NUP suggested local officials were negligent when a laboratory was illegally set up to make ‘Shabu’, a methamphetamine derived narcotic, that Duterte had vowed to wipe out along with a promise to act swiftly against anyone producing or selling the substance.
Duterte signed an administrative order in October 2016 to create a special task force of ministers, police, defence and judicial officials to protect those working in media, to investigate attacks on the media and on media personnel and to create an watchdog scrutinise probes.
The NUP has called for the presidential task force to be put to work to find Que’s killers. The NUP has openly criticised the government for it’s approach towards media and for what it said was a tendency to accuse journalists of distorting the president’s words.
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