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Nonoy Espina Was at Forefront of Struggle Against Attacks on the Media

The Philippines lost one of its foremost press freedom fighters Wednesday night. Jose Jaime Espina, popularly known as “Nonoy,” died from liver cancer just days after recovering from Covid-19, his family said. He was 59. A longtime journalist based…
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines chairman Nonoy Espina speaks to other journalists and activists as they gather to hold a vigil on the eve of the promulgation of the Maguindanao massacre trial on December 18, 2019 in Manila, Philippines.
News

President Says He’ll Block ABS-CBN Even with New Franchise

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared this week that he would not recognize any new license granted by Congress to ABS-CBN, the major television network that the government forced off the air in July 2020. Duterte repeated his claim – already…
Employees light candles outside the headquarters of broadcast network ABS-CBN corp. on May 5, 2020, after the network was ordered to halt operations after its congressional franchise expired, in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines.
News

Duterte Government Should Stop Threatening Activists

A longstanding human rights organization in the Philippines disclosed on Monday that two of its officers, along with several activists working for other groups, had received death threats. In a series of tweets, Karapatan, a left-wing political group…
Zara Alvarez
News

Duterte Administration Had Once ‘Red-Tagged’ Both as Insurgents

On August 17 in the central Philippine island of Negros, unidentified gunmen fatally shot Zara Alvarez, a legal worker for the human rights group Karapatan. Alvarez, 39, was the thirteenth human rights defender killed in the Philippines in the past…
Zara Alvarez
News

Closing ABS-CBN Would Degrade Philippines Press Freedom

President Rodrigo Duterte ramped up his attack on the Philippine media, vowing to block the renewal of ABS-CBN, the country’s largest and most influential broadcast network. “Your franchise will end next year,” the president said on Tuesday. “If…
Journalists and supporters, wearing black, display their messages during a protest against the recent Securities and Exchange Commission's revocation of the registration of Rappler, an online news outfit, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, northeast of Manila, Philip
News

Criminal Libel Case is Latest Attack on Maria Ressa, Rappler

Update: on February 14, Maria Ressa was released on bail but still faces prosecution. Her arraignment is on March 1. On Wednesday, Philippine National Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Maria Ressa, the founding editor…
201902asia_philippines_ressa
News

Legal Restrictions, Intimidation Seek to Suppress Criticism

Filipino journalists will spend World Press Freedom Day on May 3 under government attack. New draft regulations issued by the Philippine House of Representatives would allow Congress to ban reporters who “besmirch” the reputation of lawmakers from…
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the resident Filipino community at a convention hall in Singapore, April 28, 2018. REUTERS/Feline Lim
News

Locking Out Rappler News Site Threatens Media Freedoms

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration renewed its assault on the media by banning a reporter and the executive editor from the news site Rappler from entering the executive office at Malacañang Palace. The ban followed a Senate hearing on…
Journalists work at the Rappler office in Metro Manila, Philippines, January 15, 2018.
News

Foreign Ownership Allegations Mask Vendetta Against Critical Website

The Philippine government has ratcheted up its attack on media freedom, threatening the closure of Rappler.com. Rappler is a start-up media platform founded in 2012 that has published numerous investigative stories, including many…
Journalists work at the Rappler office in Metro Manila, Philippines, January 15, 2018.
News

Duterte Task Force Should Promptly Investigate

It’s not just suspected drug users and dealers at risk of targeted killing in the Philippines. The murders last week of two radio journalists, and the attack on a newspaper columnist Thursday, highlight the need for the Duterte…
Filipino journalists escort the coffin of slain news reporter Alex Balcoba during his funeral in metro Manila, Philippines June 1, 2016.
News

A Chilling Warning to Supporters and Dissidents

A Vietnam court sentenced activist Tran Thi Nga on Tuesday to nine years in prison followed by five years under house arrest for spreading “anti-State propaganda.” The conviction was handed down during a one-day trial – a swift and…
Tran Thi Nga protests against the arrest of blogger “Mother Mushroom” in October 2016.
News

Central Luzon Counterterrorism Initiative Discriminatory

Philippine authorities are threatening to further single out Muslims as part of official counterterrorism efforts. This week, authorities in Central Luzon in the northern Philippines proposed imposing a mandatory…
Displaced families stay at an evacuation centre outside the city, as army troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi city, Philippines, July 3, 2017.
News

How Everyone Can Address Such Threats, Help Protect Activists

Over the past week, two human rights colleagues of mine received rape and death threats over social media. One, who works with refugees, was sent a Facebook message saying, “I am gonna rape you to death fuckin darkies lover fucking traitor!” The other,…
Screengrabs of social media threats sent to activists
News

Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
News

Lack of Accountability Fuels Impunity

The Philippine National Police have suspended nine officers involved in the violent dispersal of protesters – some of whom were bearing batons and throwing stones – demonstrating in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “independent foreign policy” in…
Various activists and indigenous people's groups clash with anti-riot policemen during an anti-U.S. protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Metro Manila.
News
Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
News
Ed Henry of Fox News asked the – literally – killer question of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III during his April 28, 2014 joint news conference with visiting US President Barack Obama: “President Aquino, as a journalist, I’d like to ask you why 26…
News
John Kerry begins a three-day trip to Vietnam Saturday, his first trip there as US Secretary of State. Accounts of the visit are sure to mention the historical significance: as a young man, Kerry served in combat during the Vietnam War and later…