RP’s 2008 Press Freedom Rank: 142nd out of 173 nations

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The Reporters Without Borders’ Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index for 2008 had the Philippines ranked 142nd out of 173 countries in the order of decreasing press freedom. This is a sharp drop from number 128 in the previous year, indicating the continued deterioration of press freedom in the country.

High in the index list are Iceland, Luxembourg, and Norway which share 1st place. Countries like Turkmenistan (171st), North Korea (172nd), and Eritrea (173rd) are in the bottom heap. Corruption, according to the international watchdog, is mainly to blame for the decline of press freedom which “eats away democracies…”

Sec. Cerge Remonde, chief of the presidential management staff, thinks this is just a matter perception not reality— even if from year 2001 more than 50 journalists have been murdered in the Philippines. Another 800 civilians disappeared (desaparecidos) or died from premeditated killings. The perpetrators of these crimes including those done by the military remained unpunished. (See my blog entitled “Deteriorating Human Rights Record: another journalist shot dead in Camarines Sur, 08/16/08.)

Remonde says press freedom is very lively, aggressive and free in the country, but he didn’t look into the dangers which cause journalists to die on the job. Such distorted pronouncements on the plight of journalists and media men (Inquirer, 10/25/08, Burgonio, TJ) aggravates the lack of trust and cynicism of Filipinos towards government authority. Some sectors dismiss Remonde’s statement as a lie, part of the reasons why human rights don’t improve in the country. (pkj_jason) Photo Credit:=0=

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