PH ranks 134th in 2019 World Press Freedom Index
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines ranked 134th out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, an international organization reported Thursday.
According to the index released by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, the Philippines dropped one spot from its rank in the 2018 index.
Citing three journalism-related deaths in 2019, the report noted that “the government has developed several ways to pressure journalists who dare to be overly critical of the summary methods adopted by [President Rodrigo] “Punisher” Duterte and his notorious ‘war on drugs.’”
The journalists were most likely killed by agents of politicians “who can have reporters silenced with complete impunity,” the report added.
It also mentioned the prevalence of “troll armies” who launch “online harassment campaign” against alternative news websites as well as the 2018 arrest of Rappler CEO and editor Maria Ressa.
Ressa was arrested the second time on March 29 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) shortly after arriving from San Francisco, California. She was arrested over a case for alleged violation of the Anti-Dummy Law.
“After targeting the Daily Philippines Inquirer (Philippine Daily Inquirer) and the TV network ABS-CBN in 2017, the temperamental president and his staff waged a grotesque judicial harassment campaign against the news website Rappler and its editor, Maria Ressa,” the report stated.
Following the arrests, the report stated that “Philippine independent media have rallied to the call to ‘Hold the line.’”
Norway ranked first in the index for the third year, followed by Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
At the bottom of the index are Vietnam, China, Eritrea, North Korea, and Turkmenistan. /ee
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