Juan Jumalon, also known as DJ Johnny Walker of 94.7 Gold FM, was killed on November 5 by unidentified gunmen while broadcasting from his home in Misamis Occidental, a province in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.
The killing was caught on the Facebook livestream program of his show titled “Pahapyod sa Kabuntagon (Morning Greetings).” The Facebook page has almost 3,000 followers, while the program discusses community issues. The Misamis Occidental provincial governor described Jumalon as a “fearless broadcaster” and “truth crusader.”
Jumalon, 57, was the fourth journalist killed under the government of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, who assumed power on June 30, 2022. Radio journalists who were killed since 2022 included Jhannah Villegas, Federico ‘Ding’ Gempesaw, Rey Blanco, Percival ‘Percy Lapid’ Mabasa, and Cresenciano Bundoquin.
Jumalon was killed a few days after the commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity. The Committee to Protect Journalists listed the Philippines as the eighth worst country in the world for unresolved media killings.
This incident underscores the importance of ensuring the safety and security of journalists in the Philippines and the need for measures that prevent such acts from recurring. We urge the authorities to commit to safeguarding the lives and well-being of journalists, who play a vital role in upholding transparency and accountability in our society.
The Movement Against Disinformation noted an alarming pattern targeting independent media:
This barbaric act reflects the broader peril of democratic discourse in the Philippines. It is a manifestation of an alarming, ongoing trend that casts a dark shadow over independent media.
The killing was quickly condemned by Filipino officials.
The House of Representatives assured the public that the government is committed to ending “senseless acts of violence” against the media.
To Filipino journalists: Your voices matter. Your stories matter. We stand with you and will continue to advocate for your safety and the right to perform your duties without intimidation or harm. Together, we will strive to put an end to these senseless acts of violence and uphold the sanctity of free expression in the Philippines.
President Marcos posted on X (formerly Twitter) his directive to quickly probe the killing and deliver justice to Jumalon’s family.
I condemn in the strongest terms the murder of broadcaster Juan Jumalon. I have instructed the PNP to conduct a thorough investigation to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.
Attacks on journalists will not be tolerated in our democracy, and those who threaten the freedom…
— Bongbong Marcos (@bongbongmarcos) November 5, 2023
Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has documented 101 attacks against the media under the Marcos Jr. administration, which included cases of extrajudicial killings, harassment, death threats, denial of coverage, online intimidation, censorship, and the filing of cyber libel and libel charges.
This cartoon depicts the continuing attacks targeting the media.
— Cartoonist ZACH (@cartoonistzach) November 5, 2023
Hours after the killing of Jumalon, a group of activists and press freedom advocates in Metro Manila organized a symbolic protest in front of the Commission on Human Rights.
NOW: Youth groups and media organizations stage an indignation rally along Commonwealth Avenue, QC following the killing of broadcaster Juan Jumalon earlier today, November 5.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reports that Jumalon is the fourth journalist… pic.twitter.com/7ttE0kGD6O
— AlterMidya (@altermidya) November 5, 2023
The police said they are also probing reports that the killing is related to the recent barangay (village) elections and a possible land dispute in the community.