PHILIPPINES

ATTACKS AND HARASSMENT: WOMEN JOURNALISTS ON THE COST OF TRUTH TELLING

Since President Rodrigo Duterte rose to power in 2016, the attacks against the press in the Philippines have increased dramatically. And the storytellers, bruised with threats and legal charges left and right, have become a story of their own. In an interview for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom-Philippines, six of the most prominent and fearless women journalists talk about the threats to truth telling and how the Philippine media can survive. Women journalists have been particularly prone to attacks online.

Women journalists on the cost of truth telling: A short film by FNF Philippines.

Camille Diola of Philstar.com said, “many political actors took advantage of social media's power and potential”. Those critical of the President have borne the brunt of threats to the freedom of the press as well as to their life as a female individual. “The threat, the blow, and the jubilation are all out on record," according to ABS-CBN journalist, Chiara Zambarano.

Anchor Karen Davila, who moderated the ABS-CBN Presidential Debates in 2016, was deluged by hate messages and harassment from Duterte supporters for asking then presidential candidate Duterte about his spotty human rights record as mayor of Davao City. In 2018, Pia Ranada, Rappler reporter covering the Presidential beat, was banned from covering Duterte’s events in person. A month later, Duterte called out Rappler in a press conference and claimed its headlines were "ripe with innuendos and pregnant with falsity.” In the same year, 11 cases were filed against Rappler and its CEO and president Maria Ressa.

Veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona has been accused of being part of the communist front for her story on the September 1, 2015 killings of Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur by paramilitia allegedly linked to the military. Press freedom advocates say these are just some of the most devastating blows to democracy in the Philippines so far since Martial Law, and the timing couldn't be worse than during a global pandemic.

MORE ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS WORK OF THE FRIEDRICH NAUMANN FOUNDATION FOR FREEDOM:

humanrights.freiheit.org