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Media groups: State agents behind 69 cases of attacks vs journalists

/ 04:51 PM December 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines—At least 69 attacks and threats against journalists were linked to government officials and uniformed personnel since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, a network of media organizations reported.

In its report published on Tuesday, the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network—a group composed of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), MindaNews, Philippine Press Institute (PPI), and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ)—documented 154 incidents of attacks and threats against news media from June 30, 2016 to December 5, 2019.

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The cases include 15 journalists killed during the Duterte administration.

“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,” the groups said.

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“Of these 69 state agents, about half or 27 are from national government agencies.”

The media groups also documented 28 incidents of intimidation, 20 events of online harassment, 12 threats by text messages, 12 libel cases, 10 website attacks, eight murder attempts, and eight cases of journalists being barred from coverage.

Sixty cases of attacks were made against online media — the highest by media platform — apart from 41 cases against radio networks, 33 against print media agencies, and 15 cases against television networks.

The groups likewise reported cases of red-tagging or red-baiting of journalists by police and the military.

“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.

The report came a week after Duterte reiterated his threat to block the franchise renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise for not airing his 2016 presidential election advertisement and for alleged biased reporting.

The Philippines placed 134th out of 180 countries on the 2019 World Press Freedom Index of media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

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It is also home to the touted deadliest attacks on members of the media anywhere in the world, the Maguindanao massacre, wherein 32 out of the 58 victims were media workers.

Edited by MUF
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TAGS: CMFR, Impunity, Media killings, NUJP, PCIJ, Rodrigo Duterte
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