MANILA, Philippines – At least 154 incidents of attacks and threats against Philippine media have been recorded since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016, a network of journalist organizations said on Tuesday, December 10.
The Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network said this number includes 15 journalists killed, 28 incidents of intimidation, 20 events of online harassment, 12 threats via text messages, 12 libel cases, 10 website attacks, 8 murder attempts, and 8 cases of journalists barred from coverage.
Online news organizations suffered from 60 cases out of the 154, while 41 of these incidents involved radio outfits, and 33 print.
“Of the 154 cases, at least 69 had linked state agents – public officials from the executive and legislative branches, uniformed personnel, and Cabinet appointees of President Duterte – as known or alleged perpetrators. Of these 69 state agents, about half or 27 are from national government agencies,” the network said.
There have also been more recorded cases of red-tagging or red-baiting of journalists by police, military officers, or their intelligence assets and allies.
“On multiple occasions, various state agents and pro-Duterte groups have tagged independent and critical journalists and media agencies as supposed fronts or supporters of the leftist and communist groups, via social media posts and in press statements,” the network said.
Journalists from Mindanao Gold Star Daily, MindaNews, Visayan Daily Star, Davao Today, Radyo Natin Gumaca, the PNP Press Corps, Rappler, Vera Files, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) chapter members in Cagayan de Oro, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) were among those who had been targeted, according to the network’s records.
“The sorry state of media freedom in the country highlights the unyielding reign of impunity, and the shrinking democratic space in the country, even as the nation awaits next week, on December 19, 2019, the promulgation of judgment on the Ampatuan massacre case that claimed the lives of 58 persons, including 32 journalists and media workers,” the network said.
The Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network is composed of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, NUJP, MindaNews, Philippine Press Institute, and PCIJ. Read their full report here. – Rappler.com