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Press release

Director-General calls for justice following assassination of journalist Jesus Yutrago Malabanan in the Philippines


UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has condemned the murder of Jesus “Jess” Malabanan who was shot on 8 December in Calbayog City, on the island of Samar, to which he had relocated following threats related to his reporting on the war on drugs.

I condemn the killing of Jesus Malabanan. Mr Malabanan’s outstanding investigative journalism brought valuable information to readers at home and abroad. I call on the Philippine authorities to spare no effort in bringing his killers to justice. This is essential to create a safe environment for journalists whose work matters to the whole of society.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

Malabanan, a highly regarded national and international news reporter, was killed by an unknown assassin while watching television in his family shop. He had notably contributed to Reuters news agency articles about the war on drugs, which were awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2018.

Malabanan is the third journalist killed in connection with his work in the Philippines this year. 

UNESCO promotes the safety of journalists through global awareness-raising, capacity building and a range of actions, notably in the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.


See also: UNESCO observatory of killed journalists

Media contact: Guilherme Canela de Souza Godoi, g.godoi@unesco.org