Press Release
November 2, 2019


With the duty to uphold truth and freedom, journalists serve as society's watchdog. They report to check abuses and expose wrongdoings in government. This is why press freedom is a pillar of democracy.

Three weeks from now, our nation will mark a decade since the Maguindanao massacre, and yet the court case remains to be concluded. This worst election-related violence in our country on 23 November 2009 was also the single deadliest attack on journalists in history. Of the 58 people killed, 32 were media workers.

With many unsolved media killings, and counting, the Philippines ranks fifth in the latest Global Impunity Index by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

On the International Day to End Impunity on Crimes against Journalists, let us go beyond condemning the attacks against journalists and demand justice. With the Duterte administration discrediting anyone it perceives as critical, even branding independent media as "presstitutes", Filipinos need to be vigilant in defending journalists against all forms of threat and intimidation.

No less than an uncouth President called investigative journalist Ellen Tordesillas a "prostitute", and wolf-whistled at Mariz Umali. He also unleashed angry tirades at Pia Ranada for asking about corruption allegations. Gretchen Malalad and Jamela Alindogan, who reported the truth about Duterte's murderous war on drugs, were harassed with insults and grave threats such as rape by an army of Internet trolls supportive of the President.

For their integrity and advocacies, Maria Ressa and Inday Espina Varona are among the highly-esteemed journalists in the world. Yet here, Ressa faces a slew of harassment cases, while Varona is accused of being a propagandist of communist rebels. This increasingly gendered violence against women in media is appalling and should end now.

Together, let us respond to the impunity with a strong clamor for accountability. Let us ensure the safety of journalists, uphold their freedom of expression, and protect their rights and dignity. We need to enable them to seek the truth without fear or risk of reprisal.


PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame

2 November 2019

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