Today, August 30, we celebrate the first National Press Freedom Day. But as much as this day is meant to acknowledge the importance of critical press in the country, Filipino journalists are often harassed and threatened for their work. Under the previous presidency, numerous media workers were killed and jailed.
The government also deprived the giant media outlet ABS-CBN of their franchise despite the lack of evidence to prove the baseless accusation against the company. It was also during Duterte’s term that the internet saw the proliferation of disinformation through fake news, and the vilification of standard journalism as biased.
Few months under the new Marcos presidency was not any better. Independent newspapers such Altermidya, Bulatlat, and Pinoy Weekly were shut down on the basis of their commitment to cover the plight of the marginalized. One might think that these attacks against the press are insular. But they have far-reaching implications for every Filipino’s right to information, self-expression, and free speech.
In this 2020 report, FMA surveyed the laws that are supposed to protect these fundamental freedoms, which are also the cornerstones of critical and fearless press. The report found how these laws are designed to limit our right to express, and how there are little to no safeguards to protect journalists from harassment both online and offline.
Read more about the report here.