ZAMBOANGA CITY: Motorcycle-riding gunmen killed a radio broadcaster for still unknown reasons on Sunday night in Tawi-Tawi, a day after the observance of World Press Freedom Day.
Richard Najid, 35, station manager of DxNN Power Myx FM, was on a motorcycle heading home from a basketball game when he was slain near his home in the village of Tubig Boh, Bongao.
Tawi Tawi Police Director Senior Supt. Joselito Salido said the incident occurred at about 7:30 p.m.
Responding policemen said the victim, also known as DJ Troy Rajid, died on the way to the hospital.
Najid, a father of five, was a reporter of DXGD in Jolo, Sulu before transferring to DxNN.
Najid was the second journalist murdered in Tawi-Tawi after Radyo ng Bayan production supervisor Vicente Sumalpong, who was killed on June 25, 2007.Sumalpong’s two companions alsojournalists—were wounded in the ambush.
Najid’s killing was condemned by the government, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC).
“Kinokondena namin ang pagpaslang kay Ginoong Richard Najid [We condemn the killing of Mr. Richard Najid],” Presidential Communication Secretary Her–minio Coloma Jr.told media in a statement.
Coloma said President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to hunt down Najid’s killers.
“Inatasan na ang PNP na alamin, dakpin at panagutin ang pinag–hihinalaang may kinalaman sa krimen [The PNP has been ordered to identify, apprehend, and persecute the people behind the crime],” Coloma added.
The NUJP said it was disturbed by the reaction of provincial Police Chief Joselito Salido who quickly dismissed the possibility that Najid’s murder was related to the victim’s work. Salido was quoted by the NUJP as saying that the victim was “just one disc jockey, a person that plays popular music on FM radio station. He is not a journalist.”
“That the chief of a province’s police force can display not only insensitivity but, more alarming, ignorance reflects on the quality of what is supposed to be the country’s main law enforcement agency and explains why media murders and human rights violations continue to be committed with impunity,” the NUJP said.
While Nadjid did spin music, the NUJP said he also handled the station’s regular morning news and public affairs program.
NPC President Joel Sy Egco said the killing of Najib is “a humiliating sequel to President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s pathetic gaffe when he attempted to address the issue of media killings before local and international media recently.”
He said Najib’s murder came barely a week after Aquino blabbered helplessly when asked to explain why media killings persist under his administration.
“This is a clear indication of lack of real concern or plain disregard for the deadly plight of Filipino journalists. He couldn’t even get his facts straight. The Aquino government’s apparent apathy toward the unabated killing of journalists is a contributory factor to the culture of impunity that threatens press freedom,” he said.
“Each death becomes part of government statistics, a main ingredient in the administration’s lip service. As we mourn the passing of another brother in the profession, we warn Mr. Aquino that in the end, he will only have himself to blame for allowing media killings to become a flourishing trade under his watch,” Egco concluded.
Ten local journalists have been murdered in the past 12 months and 27 since Aquino assumed the presidency in 2010, making the country one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world, according to the International Federation of Journalists.
WITH REPORTS FROM ANTHONY VARGAS AND CATHERINE VALENTE