Philippines a 'flawed democracy with partly free press': The Economist


Posted at Jan 31 2018 12:42 PM

MANILA - The Philippines is a "flawed democracy" with a "partly free" press, a US-based magazine said in its report released Wednesday (Manila time).

The Economist published a report on the "importance of free speech for advancing and strengthening democracy and examines the constraints on exercising freedom of expression around the world."

The Philippines scored 7 out of 10, ranking 49 alongside the likes of Bangladesh, South Korea and India among others under the classification of a "partly free" country in The Economist's Media Freedom Index.

"The president, Rodrigo Duterte, has castigated journalists and even issued death threats. The country has a history of repression of the media and violence against journalists," it said.

"Mr Duterte has managed to make an already bad situation even worse for the media in the Philippines," it added.

Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Sweden, United States all scored 10 in this category, with a "fully free" media status.

The Philippines also scored 6.71 points and ranked 51st among 167 countries. It was clumped together with South Korea, the United States, Sri Lanka, and Singapore among others under the category of "flawed democracies." 

Its 2017 score was a dip from the 6.94 it received in 2016 and 6.84 in 2015.

The magazine noted that in countries like the Philippines, Japan and China, there was a "consolidation of power" by their respective leaders.

"The indefinite declaration of martial law in the southern state of Mindanao in the Philippines, and the rule of country’s strongman leader, Rodrigo Duterte, adversely affected the quality of democracy in the Philippines," it said.

"Mr Duterte has led the way among the many Asian countries that are infringing democratic values," it added.

Norway was ranked on top of this list, with a score of 9.87.