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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

UN Rapid Response Team Should Investigate Attacks on Activists

(New York) – Philippine security force raids that killed nine activists on March 7, 2021, highlight the need for United Nations member countries to decisively address the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch said…
Protesters display slogans condemning the recent government attacks on activists during a rally near the Malacanang presidential palace on March 8, 2021 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

Upsurge in Attacks on Activists, Community Leaders, Rights Defenders

(Manila, January 13, 2021) – The Philippine government’s “drug war” killings intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, as did unnecessary arrests during lockdowns, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Attacks by the police,…
Detainees sleep in an open basketball court inside the Quezon City Jail in Quezon City, Philippines on July 24, 2020. 
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
As a former journalist in the Philippines, I was deeply angered and saddened when Maria Ressa, the founder of the crusading journalism outlet Rappler, and Reynaldo Santos Jr., a former writer there, were sentenced on Monday to up to six years in…
Maria Ressa arrives at court in Manila, June 15, 2020.
News

Manila Court Convicts Duterte Critic Maria Ressa for Libel

(Manila) – The conviction of a prominent journalist for criminal libel is a devastating blow to media freedom in the Philippines, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 15, 2020, a Manila court issued a guilty verdict for Maria Ressa, the founder and…
Maria Ressa arrives at court in Manila, June 15, 2020.
News

Duterte Should Rescind ABS-CBN Shutdown; Congress Should Renew License

(Manila) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should rescind an order to shut down ABS-CBN, the country’s largest broadcast television and radio network, Human Rights Watch said today. The House of Representatives, whose inaction on…
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 Critic Leila de Lima Held 3 Years on Fabricated Charges

(Manila) – Philippine authorities should immediately release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for three years, and drop the politically motivated charges against her, Amnesty International, FORUM-ASIA, and Human Rights Watch…
Jailed Senator Leila de Lima votes during the midterm elections in Paranaque, Philippines, May 13, 2019.
News

Case Against ABS-CBN Attacks Media Freedom

(Manila) – The Philippine Congress should reject President Rodrigo Duterte’s apparent misuse of regulatory powers against the country’s largest broadcast network, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 10, 2020, the Office of the Solicitor…
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

Upsurge in Attacks on Activists, Environmentalists

(Manila) – The Philippine government’s murderous “war on drugs” remained the Philippines’ gravest human rights concern in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2020. Security forces were also implicated in often deadly…
Veiled protesters, mostly relatives of victims of alleged extra-judicial killings, display placards during a protest outside the Philippine military and police camps
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

‘Drug War’ Killings Continue; Attacks on Activists, Journalists Rise

(New York) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration heightened its repression in 2018, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. The government’s murderous “war on drugs” expanded to cities outside Manila.…
Activists hold a candle light vigil for victims of the extra judicial killings in the drug war of the government in front of a church in Manila on September 16, 2016
News
As a former journalist, I often find myself straining to explain press freedom in the Philippines. Many people I meet seem to have a rather straightforward view: Either the press is free or it is not. I wish it were that simple, I tell…
A member of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines protests outside the presidential palace in Metro Manila, Philippines, January 17, 2018.
News

Duterte Government Retaliates for Critical Coverage of ‘Drug War’

(New York) – Philippine authorities should drop politically motivated criminal charges against the news website Rappler and its editor, Maria Ressa, Human Rights Watch said today. Authorities are using tax laws in the latest attempt to…
Journalists work at the Rappler office in Metro Manila, Philippines, January 15, 2018.
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.