[From the web] A new weapon against press freedom in the Philippines -www.theglobeandmail.com

A new weapon against press freedom in the Philippines

Carlos Conde, former correspondent for The New York Times in Manila, is the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch.

As a former journalist, I often find myself straining to explain press freedom in the Philippines. Many people I meet seem to have a rather straightforward view: Either the press is free or it is not. I wish it were that simple, I tell them.

The Philippines, officially, does not have prior restraint regulations that prevent journalists from publishing. Pretty much anything goes, which is why the Philippine press has been classified as free, rambunctious even. Filipino journalists struggled quite a lot, particularly during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship, when many paid with their lives to make sure the press stayed that way.

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