Journalist shot dead in Philippines

Manila, May 8, 2012 (AFP) - A radio broadcaster was shot dead in the Philippines on Tuesday, police said, the fourth journalist slain this year in a country deemed by rights monitors as one of the most dangerous for the media.

Gunmen attacked Nestor Libaton, an anchor for DXHM radio in the southern city of Mati, while he was riding a motorcycle on a local highway, regional police commander Chief Superintendent Jaime Morante said.

Police said it was too early to determine the motive of the attack.

Nestor Burgos, chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, told AFP that Libaton's colleagues said he may have been killed because of his work, although details were not immediately available.

Libaton, whose age was not provided by police, was the fourth journalist murdered in the Philippines this year, and the 153rd media fatality since Philippine democracy was restored in 1986 from martial rule, Burgos said.

Human rights and media groups widely blame the killings on a "culture of impunity", where powerful figures believe they can carry out violent attacks on their critics without being punished.

Only 10 people have been convicted for their roles in killing journalists since 1986, and none of those found guilty were the masterminds, according to Burgos.