MANILA - Various media groups on Thursday, World Press Freedom Day, said they have recorded 85 cases of attacks against journalists since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.
The figure came from a joint report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).
The report includes the killing of 9 journalists, 16 libel cases, 14 cases of online harassment, 11 death threats, 6 slay attempts, 6 cases of harassment, 5 cases of intimidation, 4 cases of website attack, revoked registration or denied franchise renewal, verbal abuse, strafing, and police surveillance of journalists and media agencies.
“The number far exceeds those recorded under four presidents before him. Separately and together, these 85 cases have made the practice of journalism an even more dangerous endeavor under Duterte,” Malou Mangahas, executive director of the PCIJ, said in a forum.
To compare the 9 media killings under Duterte's administration, the media groups also showed the numbers of slays during the first 22 months of other presidents: 5 during Benigno Aquino III's time, 5 under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 5 cases under Fidel Ramos and 3 cases under Joseph Estrada.
NUJP Director Raymund Villanueva said it was also ironic that most of the cases against journalists occurred in Mindanao, where Duterte hails.
The CMFR called on other journalists to unite, in order to keep press freedom alive.
“I think we should think of ourselves as one community, when one is hurt, we should help” said Melinda Quintos De Jesus, Executive Director of CMFR.