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Current state of PH media

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There’s good news and bad news on the state of Philippine media in the 2023 report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Its assessment of the popularity of the major news outlets and platforms noted that radio and television “remain the most popular media overall,” with GMA Network having the “dominant audience share,” while “many of the longest established media brands, such as GMA Network and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, have relatively high levels of trust.”

The report said trust in the news has been boosted “to some extent” by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many Filipinos coming to rely more on news media.

Philippine media as a whole gained an overall trust rating of 38 percent in 2023 from 27 percent in 2020.

Based on the trust scores per brand, GMA Network got the highest at 74 percent, followed by newspapers Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, and the Philippine Star and radio stations dzRH and dzBB, and TV5 network all at 68 percent.

However, the report observed that certain independent media outlets, “respected for their reporting” on people in power, were “often actively” distrusted by supporters of powerful politicians. These media organizations were also subjected to coordinated harassment, the report said.

An example cited was the online news site Rappler, which obtained a trust rating of 47 percent and a distrust rating of 11 percent.

Online sites and social media, the Reuters report added, were the “most popular” sources of news in the country while TV and radio news “remain important” to those who were not online.

TikTok has “grown the fastest” among social media platforms, being accessed now by 21 percent of news consumers compared to only 2 percent in 2020.

But there’s also bad news, with the report saying that Red-tagging, killings, and the use of “lawfare” against journalists have not abated in the country even with the change in the country’s leadership.

The country’s media landscape remained “largely grim” despite the change of administration.

“Attacks on journalists, which escalated during the six-year presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, have not let up since Ferdinand Marcos Jr.”

According to the report, dozens of violations of press freedom have been recorded under the current administration, with 75 cases monitored between June 2022 and April 2023.

The “systematic Red-tagging” of journalists also persisted, according to the report, targeting those in mainstream and alternative media organizations.

The use of “lawfare” or legal action against Filipino reporters, has also increased, the report said, prompting journalists to seek help from lawyers’ groups in launching “Project Lawfare” to defend journalists from lawsuits.


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