Pope Francis has underscored the need to protect and defend press freedom as countries marked World Press Freedom Day on Friday.
“We need a journalism that is free, at the service of truth, goodness, and justice; a journalism that helps build a culture of encounter. #DefendMediaFreedom,” the Pope said in a tweet.
In the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, the Philippines placed 134th out of 180 countries.
Data of the group Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network showed that 12 journalists have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016.
Despite continuing attacks on media, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the government respects freedom of the press.
“The public can expect that the Duterte administration will continue to respect press freedom in the country contrary to the allegations of some,” Andanar said.