Motorcycle assailants open fire on radio anchor in dark street

Christopher Guarin

Killing condemned by UNESCO DG, 11 January 2012

Christopher Guarin - Philippines - Killed, 5 January 2012

One evening in early January 2012, Christopher Guarin was driving away from his workplace in General Santos City on Mindanao in the Philippines.

Guarin was publisher of the Tatak Bigtime News Nationwide community newspaper and a radio host and presenter with the DXMD local station of Radyo Mo Nationwide. Unaware of what was about to happen, Guarin climbed into his Kia with his wife and their nine-year-old daughter. 

On a darkened street they were approached by a Honda XRM motorcycle with two men aboard. One of them opened fire on Guarin’s car. The journalist and publisher was hit, but stopped the car and attempted to flee the scene on foot.  The killers went in pursuit, rode up alongside him, and continued firing.

Guarin was shot several times in the body and head and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. He became the first journalist to be killed in Asia in 2012. His wife was also wounded in the arm.

The actual motive for the murder of this Filipino journalist on Mindanao may even be related to the advertising time he gave to certain parties in his radio show. Guarin had previously received death threats.

Similar disputes have led to the murder of journalists in the Philippines before this incident - and there have also been similar drive-by shootings.  In the course of 2012 a number of other radio journalists and presenters also met violent deaths.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has listed certain metropolitan areas on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao as being among the world’s ten most dangerous places for the media to work in. Reporters here are routinely threatened and harassed by paramilitary groups and private militias.

Reporters Without Borders has listed 179 countries around the world according to the degree of freedom that journalists, news organizations, and others enjoy locally (Press Freedom Index). In the 2013 rankings, the Philippines fell from 140th to 147th, indicating that the conditions for journalists across the country remain very poor.

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This article was originally printed in the Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat. The content of the article may have been modified and/or updated as information became available following the date of publication.
UNESCO encourages all media outlets to inform the public of violations of press freedom; to raise awareness of issues impacting the safety of journalists around the world; and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
The original article in Finnish can be found here.

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