Press rights group urges Philippine president to act swiftly to stop killings of journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists has urged Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to act to stop attacks against the press in the country after three journalists were killed recently.

Shawn Crispin, the group's Southeast Asia representative, said in a statement Tuesday the killings show "how the lack of progress in ending impunity has emboldened those bent on silencing the press in the Philippines."

Over the past two weeks, unidentified gunmen killed radio broadcasters Cosme Maestrado and Teodoro Escanilla and columnist and publisher Gregorio Ybanez.

The Philippine media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility says if all three murders were determined to be work-related, the number of journalists killed in the country since 1986 would rise to 150.