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154 attacks, threats vs. journalists recorded from 2016 to 2019 —report

A total of 154 attacks or threats against journalists were recorded between the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in June 2016 and December 5, 2019, according to a report by a network of media entities.

In a report released on International Human Rights Day, the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network said the figure includes 15 journalists who were killed, while other cases involved slay attempts, intimidation, online harassment, threats via text messages, libel cases, website attacks, and the barring of reporters from coverage.

The network is formed by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, MindaNews, Philippine Press Institute, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

“The situation highlights the unyielding reign of impunity, and the shrinking democratic space in the country,” the group said.

The network said online media bore the brunt of harassment, with 60 cases of attacks recorded against them, trailed by 41 cases against radio networks, 33 against print media, and 15 against television networks.

The group added that out of the 154 cases, at least 69 involved state agents ranging from public officials, uniformed personnel, and Cabinet appointees.

The report also noted the increase in cases of red-tagging or red-baiting of journalists by the police or the military.

“Those who had been targeted include journalists from Mindanao Gold Star Daily, MindaNews, Visayan Daily Star, Davao Today, Radyo Natin Gumaca,  the PNP Press Corps, Rappler, Vera Files, the NUJP chapter members in Cagayan de Oro, and PCIJ,” the group explained.

The report comes ahead of the long-awaited promulgation of judgment on the Maguindanao Massacre on November 23, 2009, where 58 people including 32 media workers were killed. The decision in the 10-year-old case will be revealed on December 19. — MDM, GMA News