‘A painful but necessary watch’: Filipinos laud ‘A Thousand Cuts’

Gaby Baizas
‘A painful but necessary watch’: Filipinos laud ‘A Thousand Cuts’
(UPDATED) The online screening of ‘A Thousand Cuts,’ a documentary on the struggles of the free press under the Duterte administration, was met with praise all over social media

MANILA, Philippines – Filipinos all over the country praised director Ramona Diaz’s documentary, A Thousand Cuts, for portraying the “eye-opening” realities of Philippine democracy and press freedom under President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Ramona Diaz’s ‘A Thousand Cuts’: ‘A risky film on free press, lawless regime’)

The film streamed for free in the Philippines on Friday, June 12, and was available for 24 hours.

A Thousand Cuts focused on Rappler’s Maria Ressa along with several of this news organization’s writers and editors as they discussed the struggles of a free press under Duterte. Duterte has openly criticized Rappler and its reporters since he was elected in 2016, and even outright banned Malacañang reporter Pia Ranada from entering the compound.

The documentary also followed several key government officials, including Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Mocha Uson, and then candidate Samira Gutoc as they campaigned during the 2019 Philippine midterm elections. 

A Thousand Cuts gained around 233,000 views on Youtube in the 24 hours it was available for streaming.

Ressa and #AThousandCuts also trended on Twitter Saturday afternoon, June 13.

While watching the documentary, several Filipinos were angered by the Duterte administration and its moves to stifle the press. A number of users stated it was a necessary, albeit difficult watch.

A number of users screencapped certain scenes of the film involving government officials, including House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s controversial exchange with Uson about “buying interviews” from the media.

Other Filipinos commended journalists for their strength and resilience.

Ang hirap maging journalist. You need not to fear, so kailangan malaman mo yung worst-case scenario and embrace it,” user @sabenimitch said.

“It’s not just about Rappler. It reflects the situation of every journalist who speak for truth,” user @cloudybazookas said.


Marvin Tomandao, events host and former GMA reporter highlighted how the film spoke not just about Rappler’s issues and press freedom, but also for Philippine democracy.

“Offhand, this is about the thousand cuts [Ressa] and Rappler take in the fight for press freedom. But really it’s about the thousand cuts our democracy takes under a fascist regime,” Tomandao said.

Celebrities and personalities also thanked Ressa and other Rapplers for their bravery and dedication.

Here’s what other Filipinos had to say about the documentary:

After the film’s streaming, PBS documentary series FRONTLINE will be presenting an exclusive conversation with Ressa and Diaz on the importance of press freedom on Saturday, June 13, at 8 pm, Philippine time. – Rappler.com

Gaby Baizas

Gaby Baizas is a digital forensics researcher at Rappler. She first joined Rappler straight out of college as a digital communications specialist. She hopes people learn to read past headlines the same way she hopes punk never dies.