Philippines slips 6 places at World Press Freedom ranking

Marje Pelayo   •   April 26, 2018   •   1773

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines slipped by six notches at this year’s World Press Freedom Index.

This was revealed by Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF,) an international media watchdog that promotes and defends freedom of the press.

From 127th out of 180 countries, the Philippines is now 133rd on the list with a score of 42.53.

According to the group, the Philippines is one of the most “dangerous” places for journalists in Asia following the killing of four mediamen in 2017.

Nordic country Norway remains the safest place for journalists while isolated North Korea remains the most dangerous. – UNTV News and Rescue



Amal Clooney attends press freedom conference

Robie de Guzman   •   July 11, 2019

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney speaking at Freedom of Media Conference, London, England, United Kingdom | Courtesy: Reuters

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said on Wednesday (July 10) that nations including Australia, Britain and the U.S. set an example for other world leaders in their handling of media freedom cases.

Clooney was speaking in London at a conference for media freedom attended by delegations from more than 100 countries.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland joined Clooney on stage at the event which was hosted by Britain with the Canadian government.

During her speech, Clooney spoke of assaults on media freedom including Australian police raiding the offices of the national broadcaster in June over allegations it had published classified material.

Clooney also noted the ongoing case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the arrest of two Northern Ireland journalists in the U.K. The pair were arrested over the alleged theft of documents used in a documentary; however British police have since dropped their case.

The conference aimed to defend media freedom from restrictive practices by governments, encourage participants to develop plans to legislate for a free press, help improve journalists’ safety and counter disinformation. (REUTERS)

(Production: Soraya Ali)

Int’l journalists hit Duterte admin for Maria Ressa’s arrest

Marje Pelayo   •   February 14, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Rappler’s CEO Maria Ressa

MANILA, Philippines – The Duterte administration is hit by international journalists and personalities for the recent arrest of online news website Rappler’s CEO, Maria Ressa due to cyber libel.

Several comments on social media slammed the administration for what they believe is “suppression” of Ressa’s freedom of expression.

CNN’s chief international anchor Christiane Amnpour called the arrest a “desperate move” by the government.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, a former journalist, condemned the arrest and said she is “deeply troubled” by the report.

The director of the Global Press Freedom of Expression and United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard, meanwhile, expressed support for Ressa.

Other press freedom advocates also expressed dismay over what they claim as unjust treatment to the Ressa of the Duterte government.

“We call on Filipino authorities to immediately release Ressa. Drop this spurious cyberlibel charge and cease and desist this campaign of intimidation aimed at silencing Rappler,” said the international media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalist.

Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo accused the administration of “political harassment” in an attempt to curtail press freedom.

“Isa na namang yugto na nagpapakita sa atin kung gaano iniipit iyong mga naglalakas-loob na makapagsalita laban sa mga polisiya ng administrasyong ito. Napakalaking dagok sa press freedom. Napakalaking warning na ibinibigay to anyone na magkakaroon ng lakas ng loob na magpahayag ng kanilang saloobin, ay napaparusahan,” Robredo said.

For its part, the Palace maintained that Ressa’s case should not be linked to press freedom.

“Ms. Ressa being a media practitioner and a high ranking officer of a media outfit critical of the President’s programs and policies has nothing to do with the present circumstances she is currently in,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Panelo said the Executive branch respects the decision of the judiciary and it has no reason to meddle with the court’s ruling on Ressa’s case.

Panelo stressed that no one is above the law and any citizen should abide by the Constitution regardless of their status or position. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Newspaper editorials across U.S. rebuke Trump for attacks on press

admin   •   August 17, 2018

Boston Globe newspaper. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Hundreds of U.S. newspapers on Thursday (August 16) launched a coordinated defense of press freedom and a rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump for denouncing some media organizations as enemies of the American people.

The Boston Globe and the New York Times took part along with more than 350 other newspapers of all sizes, including some in states that Trump won during the 2016 presidential election.

The Globe said it coordinated publication among the newspapers and carried details of it on a database on its website.

Each paper ran an editorial, which is usually an unsigned article that reflects the opinion of an editorial board and is separate from the news and other sections in a paper.

The Globe’s editorial accused Trump of carrying out a “sustained assault on the free press.”

“The greatness of America is dependent on the role of a free press to speak the truth to the powerful,” it said. “To label the press ‘the enemy of the people’ is as un-American as it is dangerous to the civic compact we have shared for more than two centuries.”

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the press.

Trump has frequently criticized journalists and described news reports that contradict his opinion or policy positions as fake news.

On Thursday, he tweeted “There is nothing that I would want more for our Country than true FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.” — Reuters


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