World Press Freedom Day: Where the PH stands

Reynaldo Santos Jr
World Press Freedom Day: Where the PH stands
As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day on Saturday, May 3, let's take a look at how some organizations assess the Philippine media

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is regarded as having one of the world’s freest media, as the 1987 Constitution guarantees the freedom of the press.

But some media practitioners remain at risk, having to face various threats from subjects they write about and criticize. It comes with the territory.

Cases of slain journalists have increased through the years, many of them still unsolved.

Also, access to public documents, through the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI), has remained difficult as Congress has yet to approve the law.

As we celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day on Saturday, May 3, let’s look at how some organizations assess the Philippine media, and how it compares to those in other countries.

PRESS FREEDOM. A protester in front of the Supreme Court is against the SC ruling declaring most provisions of the Cybercrime law constitutional. Photo by Jose Del/Rappler

1. Global Impunity Index

The Global Impunity Index is an annual report of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) which highlights “countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free.”

It ranks countries based on danger to journalists, based on the number of slain practitioners and based on how fast the cases are solved.

The Philippines ranked in CPJ’s 2014 report as the 3rd most dangerous place for journalists – a ranking that the country holds for the 4th consecutive year – with 0.527 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants.

2014 Global Impunity Index. Click on image to view full report.

Here’s the Philippine ranking in CPJ’s annual reports. Click on the years below to see the group’s report.

Year Rank Unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
2014 3rd 0.527
2013 3rd 0.580
2012 3rd 0.589
2011 3rd 0.609
2010 3rd 0.609
2009 6th 0.273
2008 6th 0.289

2. Freedom of the Press Score

The US-based organization Freedom House released it annual Freedom of the Press report, where the level of media freedom and editorial independence of each country are measured.

Each of the countries are slotted in 3 categories: free, partly free, and not free.

From 2004 to 2014, the Philippines was labeled “partly free.”

Click on image to enlarge

For this year, the country was given a score of 44. The lower the score, the better the status is of the nation’s press freedom.

Freedom House hasn’t provided yet a description of the Philippine media in its latest report. But in its report last year, the organization described it as “largely stable…despite continued inertia in dealing with the ongoing issue of impunity in cases of violence against journalists, as well as the introduction of potentially restrictive Internet legislation.”

Here’s the annual Philippine score given by Freedom House. Click on the years below to see the group’s report.

Year Score Classification
2014 44 partly free
2013 43 partly free
2012 42 partly free
2011 46 partly free
2010 48 partly free
2009 45 partly free
2008 45 partly free
2007 46 partly free
2006 40 partly free
2005 35 partly free
2004 34 partly free
2003 30 free
2002 30 free

3. World Press Freedom Index

The World Press Freedom Index is annually published by Reporters Without Borders, a France-based organization.

This index ranks countries based on their press freedom records.

In its 2010 report, the group began categorizing countries into 5 stages, depending on the status of the country’s media: good situation, satisfactory situation, noticeable problems, difficult situation, very serious situation.

From 2010 up to 2014, Philippine media was put under the “difficult situation” category.

Click on image to enlarge

The group didn’t describe the Philippine media in its 2014 report. The country was last mentioned in the 2010 report, as its score increased significantly due to the Maguindanao massacre in 2009.

A lower score in the index corresponds to greater press freedom.

Here’s the score and ranking of the country through the years. Click on the years below to see the group’s report.

Year Rank Score
2014 149 43.69
2013 147 43.11
2011-2012 140 64.5
2010 156 60
2009 122 38.25
2008 139 45
2007 128 44.75
2006 142 51
2005 139 50
2004 111 36.63
2003 118 35.25
2002 89 29


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