47 years after the instauration of Martial Law and the harsh curtailing of press freedoms, 33 years after the ousting of dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ rule, which marked the rebirth of an independent press in the country, the Philippine democracy is now at crossroads again. President Rodrigo Duterte regularly scorns and criticizes the media, publicly calling them “garbage”. His administration has waged a war against media establishments it deems critical of its administration. Rappler news website and its staff are currently the targets of proceedings in at least 11 cases, each as spurious as the other. The Philippine Daily Inquirer was threatened to be sued due to unpaid taxes, and President Duterte warned tv giant ABS-CBN that he would like to block the renewal of its franchise. Alternative online media like Bulatlat or Kodao production are censored due to government-sponsored DDoS attacks. Even the Catholic Media Network was threatened with licence renewal denying. Fake news and propaganda have also flourished online with pro-government automated bot accounts swarming in social media. This is even a worse kind of censorship than government’s stifling critical media, undermining journalism and truth-seeking through manipulation and distortion of information.
In these troubling times, Reporters Without Borders stands alongside the Philippine community and the Malaya movement to fight for a free press in the archipelago. Tumayo kami kasama mo!
REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS
Interim Executive Director