MANILA, Philippines - The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based media watchdog, on Tuesday lashed back at Malacañang for claiming that the CPJ's report on the media killings in the Philippines was exaggerated.

"The data-based report belies the claim of exaggeration. In the period the index covers, Jan. 1, 1999, through Dec. 31, 2008, the Philippines has had 24 murders of journalists in connection with their work in which no suspects have been convicted. The Philippines ranks sixth out of 14 countries on the list," Shawn Crispin, CPJ Southeast Asia Representative, and Elisabeth Witchel, Coordinator of the Impunity Campaign & Journalist Assistance Program, said on the CPJ Web site.