THIRD JOURNALIST KILLED IN MINDANAO IN LAST SIX MONTHS
Cayona was an outspoken commentator who often criticised local politicians, the military and Muslim rebels, report CMFR and CPJ. A spokesperson for the Muslim rebel group Abu Sayyaf, Abu Sabaya, had reportedly threatened Cayona on air, says CMFR. Cayona also revealed on air that an assassin had been following him and told radio executives that he had been receiving death threats, reports CMFR. Military authorities had also threatened Cayona, notes RSF. After an interview with the Abu Sayyaf spokesperson during last year's Jolo hostage crisis, Philippine Army Colonel Jovenel Narcise told the journalist on 17 September 2000, "If I hear you interview Sabaya again, I will kill you." Cayona subsequently held interviews several times with Abu Sayyaf leaders, reports RSF.
Cayona is the third radio broadcaster killed in the Philippines in 2001 and the third journalist killed on Mindanao Island since November [see IFEX "Communique" #10-9, #10-1 and #9-46]. Thirty-seven journalists have been killed in the Philippines since democratic forces toppled Ferdinand Marcos's dictatorship in 1986, according to CPJ, and nearly all these cases remain unsolved. "This impunity undermines the relative press freedom that exists in the Philippines," says CPJ. For more information, see www.cmfr.com.ph, www.rsf.fr, www.freemedia.at or www.cpj.org.