Philippines | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Status change explanation: The Philippines' status changed from Free to Partly Free to reflect the continuing impunity enjoyed by those who threaten and kill journalists.

Freedom of the press, provided for in the constitution, is generally respected by the present government. Although Filipino media experience few legal restrictions, the editor-in-chief of an opposition newspaper was arrested on libel charges in August 2003. Most media are privately owned and reflect the political orientations of their owners, including powerful business interests or those with ties to political parties or officials. Nevertheless, the press is vibrant and outspoken, with a tendency toward innuendo and sensationalism. The greatest threat to the media remains the intimidation and violence directed at journalists, particularly those in the provinces. At least six journalists were murdered in 2003; most were killed after they criticized powerful local political leaders or reported on corruption issues. Other journalists received death threats, and media outlets were attacked during the year. According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility in Manila, 17 journalists have been killed since 1998, and those responsible have not been identified or convicted, leading to a climate of impunity. In November, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that the government was offering a monetary reward for the capture of the killers of these journalists.