Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Philippines

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 14 February 2013
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Philippines, 14 February 2013, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Key Developments

  • Maguindanao massacre trial stalls as witness is murdered.

  • Repressive Internet law draws outcry, high court injunction.

The Philippines remained one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. At least one journalist, Christopher Guarin, a broadcaster and newspaper publisher, was killed in relation to his work. Four others were killed under unclear circumstances, and at least two more were attacked by unidentified gunmen. Despite President Benigno Aquino III's vow to achieve justice in journalist murders, the Philippines ranked third-worst worldwide on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free. The landmark prosecution of suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre moved at a sluggish pace and was dealt a severe setback with the killing of a key witness. A new Cybercrime Prevention Act gave officials discretionary power to shut down websites and impose prison terms of up to 12 years for online defamation. Amid an outcry by press freedom and civil society groups, as well as legal challenges by petitioners, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the law's implementation.

[Refworld note: The sections that follow represent a best effort to transcribe onto a single page information that appears in tabs on the CPJ's own pages, which also include a number of dynamically-generated graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2012.]

Killed in 2012: 1

At least 73 Philippine journalists have been killed since 1992, making the Philippines the second deadliest country in the world for the press.

Internet penetration: 29%

With Internet penetration increasing significantly since 2007, more Filipinos are going online to access news reports and use social media, according to the most recent data by the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU.

Impunity Index ranking: 3rd

At least 55 journalist murders have gone unsolved over the past decade, making the Philippines one of the world's worst nations at combating deadly, anti-press violence, according to CPJ's Impunity Index.

CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index:

1. Iraq
2. Somalia
3. Philippines
4. Sri Lanka
5. Colombia
6. Nepal
7. Afghanistan
8. Mexico
9. Russia
10. Pakistan
11. Brazil
12. India

Highest Facebook use: 8th

The government is seeking to limit online freedom at a time when social media use is growing in popularity. The Philippines ranked among the world's top 10 in the number of Facebook users, according to November 2012 data compiled by Socialbakers, the social media statistics aggregator.

Facebook use worldwide:

167.5 million: United States
60.7 million: Brazil
60.5 million: India
50.5 million: Indonesia
39.4 million: Mexico
33.3 million: United Kingdom
31.4 million: Turkey
29.9 million: Philippines
25.3 million: France
25 million: Germany

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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