MANILA—The Philippines dropped by one spot in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, ranking 134th out of 180 countries.
The Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF, Reporters Without Borders) said the Philippines had a global score of 43.91. The list was topped by Norway, while Turkmenistan ranked last.
RSF cited the killings of three Philippine journalists in 2019, “most likely by agents working for local politicians, who can have reporters silenced with complete impunity.”
It also noted how the government “has developed several ways to pressure journalists who dare to be overly critical of the summary methods adopted” by the chief executive.
The organization also hit the government’s “judicial harassment” of news website Rappler and its chief executive officer, Maria Ressa. The government has denied harassing the news outfit.
It added, the government’s persecution of the media “was accompanied by online harassment campaigns waged by pro-Duterte troll armies, which also launched cyber-attacks on alternative news websites and the site of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in order to block them.”