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?”