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International Federation of Journalists: PH worst places in Southeast Asia for journalists

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With the Ampatuan Massacre that remains unsolved for 9 years and claimed 58 lives and 32 of which are journalists, the Philippines is now dubbed as the worst in impunity in Southeast Asia, based on the Southeast Asia Media Freedom report published by the International Federation of Journalists.
 
According to the report. “There are no signs of any government willingness to stop the targeting of journalist and media organizations who believe this official apathy, or even open hostility. It has bred a culture of impunity which has emboldened those seeking to silence the press.”
 
The IFJ ranked the Philippines a 7.7 out of 10 on the media impunity scale, with 10 being the worst and ranked the country’s justice system a 7.5 out of 10.
 
But on other countries, they ranked the impunity scale include accordingly: Cambodia (6.1), Indonesia (7.4), Malaysia (6.3), Myanmar (7.5), Thailand (N/A) and Timor-Leste (4.1).
 
Bases on their study, the following aspects are he key threats to journalists’ safety and these are: cyber attacks, poor wages, censorship, and government attacks on the workplace.
 
The said report detailed that 12 journalists have been killed in relation to their work since the beginning of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, with 11 of the killings happening in the president’s first year in office.
 

Meanwhile. Reporters Without Borders said that this year,  the Philippines is no longer in the top five deadliest countries for journalists.

According to RSF, they recorded three journalist deaths in the Philippines this year, compared to four in 2017. But the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism recorded four journalists’ deaths this year.

The Philippines dropping out of the deadliest countries for journalists was not because killings decreased in the country, but because killings of journalists increased in other countries.

The IFJ called the Philippines the “deadliest peacetime country for journalists,” with a total of 185 killed since the People Power Revolution in 1986.

However, apart from killing, the harassment and trolling have become prevalent under Duterte’s administration.

Based on the record of IFJ, there are around 85 cases on assault on the media from June 2016 to May 2018. These cases include murders, death threats, online harassment, police surveillance and the revocation of operating licenses.

They also highlighted Duterte’s “troll centers” as a threat and said it was “well-funded and professionally managed, and hurled insults at the media accusing detractors of corruption and misconduct, without basis in fact or in law.”

For several occasions, Duterte administration sponsored a “misinformation” using various social media platform that even led to the Senate investigation.

But even former Presidential Spokesperson now senatorial candidate Harry Roque said that there should be ‘a free marketplace of ideas” in defense of the fake news. Furthermore, he even justified the presence of the state sponsored fake news that “If there’s no fake news, we wouldn’t know what’s true”. 

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