Holding the line against Duterte’s attacks


When sworn in as president in June 2016, Rodrigo Duterte issued this cryptic but grim warning: “Just because you're a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination, if you're a son of a bitch. Freedom of expression cannot help you if you have done something wrong." Three Philippine journalists were killed in 2019, most likely by agents working for local politicians, who can have reporters silenced with complete impunity. The government, for its part, has developed several ways to pressure journalists who dare to be overly critical of the summary methods adopted by “Punisher” Duterte and his notorious “war on drugs.” After targeting the Daily Philippines Inquirer and the TV network ABS-CBN in 2017, the tempermental president and his staff waged a grotesque judicial harassment campaign against the news website Rappler and its editor, Maria Ressa, in 2018. The persecution was accompanied by online harassment campaigns waged by pro-Duterte troll armies, which also launched cyber-attacks on alternative news websites and the site of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in order to block them. In response to all these attacks, the Philippine independent media have rallied to the call to “Hold the line.”

in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index



133 in 2018

Global score


42.53 in 2018


  • 0
    journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2020
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2020
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