Philippines' Duterte says journalists not exempt from "assassination"

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte came under fire on Wednesday for saying that corrupt journalists could face "assassination."

"Just because you're a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a bitch," Duterte told a press conference in the southern city of Davao on Tuesday evening.

"There's still corruption on your side," he told reporters. "If you are a good journalist, no one will touch you especially if [what you report] is true."

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said it was "appalling" that Duterte would imply that killing journalists was justified if they were thought to be unethical.

"Duterte's crass pronouncement not only sullies the names and memories of our colleagues who have been murdered since 1986, he has also, in effect, declared open season to silence the media," it said in a statement.

The Philippines has been ranked as one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists by press freedom groups, including the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which condemned Duterte's comments.

"President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's shocking remarks apparently excusing extrajudicial killings threaten to make the Philippines into a killing field for journalists," Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative, said in a statement.

"We strongly urge him to retract his comments and to signal that he intends to protect, not target, the press."

On Friday, crime reporter Alex Balcoba was shot dead in Manila, the second journalist killed in the Philippines in 2016, according to the NUJP.

In 2009, 32 media workers were among more than 50 people killed in a local politician's convoy heading to a rally. The alleged masterminds are currently on trial.

Last update: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 18:21

More from World

US abstains for first time from UN vote condemning Cuban embargo

The United States abstained for the first time in 24 years from a vote in the UN General Assembly urging an end to...

Venezuelans demand end to "dictatorship" as tensions surge

Venezuela's political crisis escalated Wednesday as the opposition announced a general strike and threatened to...

Monitor: Death toll rises to 35 in bombing of Syrian rebel village

The death toll from Wednesday's airstrikes near a school complex in a rebel-held village in north-western Syria has...

US pushing for TTIP deal ahead of Obama's Germany trip

The United States said Wednesday it is continuing to push forward with a US-European trade agreement with the "...

2016 deadliest year for migrants in Mediterranean, UN agency says

This year has been the deadliest ever for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, with at least 3,800...