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Philippines remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists

The Philippines have climbed 11 places in the rankings this year, but remains firmly in the red zone

The Philippines remains one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists, the Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontieres, RSF) said today (Wednesday, April 26).

The Philippines ranked 127th out of 180 countries in its annual survey of press freedom. This is an improvement on last year, when it ranked 138th.

The Philippines was placed in the “red” category, which indicates a “bad” press freedom situation.

“Although fewer journalists have been killed in connection to their work in recent years, Philippines continues to be one of the most dangerous countries for the media,” the RSF report said. “Private militias, often hired by local politicians, silence journalists with complete impunity.”

The RSF also expressed concern overPresident Duterte’s verbal attacks on the media. “The media are fairly free and diverse, but Rodrigo Duterte, who was sworn in as President in June 2016, has alarmed media freedom defenders with his unveiled encouragement of violence against journalists,” it said.

The top ten countries are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium and Iceland.

At the other end of the scale is North Korea, firmly in the “black” category, denoting a “very bad” press freedom situation.

Published annually since 2002, the World Freedom Index ranks 180 countries according to the level of freedom available to journalists.

RSF secretary general Christophe Deloire said: “The 2017 World Press Freedom Index reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms – especially in democracies.

“The rate at which democracies are approaching the tipping point is alarming for all those who understand that, if media freedom is not secure, then none of the other freedoms can be guaranteed. Where will this downward spiral take us?”

1 Comment on "Philippines remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists"

  1. Among the many times that Duterte has given death threats to drug suspects, he also has encouraged or threatened violence against law-abiding political opponents:

    On media people whom he says are not fair to him: “See how they slant. I don’t know. But someday – I’m not scaring them – but someday, karma will come.”
    “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a b**ch. Most of those killed, to be frank, have done something. You won’t be killed if you don’t do anything wrong. If you are an upright journalist, nothing will happen to you. The example here is Pala. I do not want to diminish his memory but he was a rotten son of a b**ch. He deserved it.”

    After repeating death threats to criminal suspects, he said, “Even their lawyers, I will include them.”

    To EU officials who disagree with him: “I will just be happy to hang you. If I have the preference, I’ll hang all of you.”

    To human rights activists: “Fine, let’s stop and let the number of drug personalities increase. When harvest time comes and there are many of them, I will include you — because you made the problem bigger.”

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