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Attacks on the Press in 2011 - Philippines

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 22 February 2012
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2011 - Philippines, 22 February 2012, available at: [accessed 25 April 2017]
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

  • Prosecution stalls in landmark Maguindanao massacre case.

  • Provincial journalists face persistent violence; two murders reported.

Despite high levels of press and Internet freedom, provincial journalists worked under constant threat of reprisal. Two broadcast journalists, Gerardo Ortega and Romeo Olea, were shot and killed for their reporting. Both cases were unsolved by year's end, underscoring the country's third worst ranking on CPJ's 2011 Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country's population. The vow of President Benigno S. Aquino III to reverse the trend went unfulfilled as legal proceedings in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, in which 32 media workers were ambushed and slain, stalled amid numerous defense motions to disqualify witnesses and suppress outside scrutiny. In another high-profile case, an appeals court denied a dismissal motion filed by two government officials accused of plotting the 2005 murder of reporter Marlene Garcia-Esperat. Although the decision cleared the way for arrests, the long-running prosecution has been beset by delays. Press advocates were critical of a new freedom of information bill, which they said would curtail access to official documents.

Analysis: Undue Process in Maguindanao Massacre Trial

Nearly two years since 32 journalists were murdered, the fight for justice has both intensified in rhetoric and bogged down in technicalities. Without a greater commitment of resources, the litmus test is one the Philippines could fail. Analysis by Shawn W. Crispin

[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 graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2011.]

Impunity Index rating: 3rd

At least 56 journalist murders have gone unsolved over the past decade, making the Philippines the world's third worst nation in bringing the perpetrators of media killings to justice, CPJ's Impunity Index shows.

CPJ's 2011 Impunity index:

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

Killed in 2011: 2

Two radio journalists were killed in direct relation to their reporting in 2011, according to CPJ research. Half of the 72 Philippine journalists killed since 1992 worked in radio, CPJ data show. The 2011 killings add to the country's long record of deadly anti-press violence.

Deadliest country: 2nd

At least 72 journalists have been killed for their work since 1992, making the Philippines the second deadliest country in the world for journalists, CPJ research shows. Fatalities include murders, along with deaths on dangerous assignments.

Deadlinest countries for journalists since 1992:

1. Iraq: 151
2: Philippines: 72
3: Algeria: 60
4: Russia: 53
5: Colombia: 43
6: Pakistan: 41
7: Somalia: 36
8: India: 27
9: Mexico: 27
10: Afghanistan: 24

Internet penetration, 2010: 25%

With its far-flung island geography and underdeveloped landline systems, Internet penetration has lagged behind several of the country's Asian neighbors, according to data compiled by the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU.

Highest Facebook use: 8th

Although the country has lagged in Internet penetration, its residents have quickly adopted social media platforms. The Philippines ranks among the world's top 10 in total Facebook users, according to social media statistics aggregator Socialbakers.

Top 10 in Facebook use as of November 1, 2011:

1. United States: 156 million
2. Indonesia: 40.8 million
3. India: 38 million
4. United Kingdom: 30.5 million
5. Turkey: 30.4 million
6. Brazil: 30.4 million
7. Mexico: 30.1 million
8. Philippines: 26.7 million
9. France: 23.2 million
10. Germany: 21.6 million

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

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