Shekinah Jedidiah M. Alima

A day after the World Press Freedom Day was celebrated, the Philippines dipped its press freedom index from 132nd to 134th out of 180 countries, categorizing it as ‘difficult’ for journalists, media watchdog reports.

Photo Manipulation by Melinda Reyes. Photos Courtesy of Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism/Kodao Productions

The 2024 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders yesterday showed the Philippines’ score for press freedom was 43.36 from the previous record of 46.21 out of 100.
Enable for a country’s press freedom to be labeled “good”, a score above 85 is required; for “satisfactory” is 70 to 85’; for “problematic” is 55 to 70; and for “very serious” is below 40.

“Since Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. – the son of former dictator and historic press freedom predator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. – became president in June 2022, there seem to have been fewer and less violent attacks of this kind, but they are still worrisome. Harassment by means of threats and ‘red-tagging’ persists, while defamation and cyber-defamation are still punishable by prison sentences,” the report said.

From July 1, 2022 to April 30, 2024, around 135 incidents of attacks and threats against journalists and media practitioners were recorded by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMRF) last May 2 in Quezon City in honor of the 31st World Press Freedom Day.
This exceeded the recorded attacks and threats in former President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s first 22 months of term.

Last year, threats and killings against journalists include the shooting of broadcaster Juan Jumalon while he was on air via Facebook in November.
Since the implementation of democracy in the country in 1986, at least 199 media reporters have been killed, as per the Reporters Without Borders.