PRESS FREEDOM

President’s Message: Welcome to Focap.ph

When the Philippines imposed quarantine restrictions in mid-March to contain the coronavirus contagion, the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) shifted our news forums online. As millions of Filipinos hunkered down, Zoom’s virtual environment replaced hotels and restaurants in hosting our regular media forums with high-level officials and policy experts. We have broadened its reach by streaming most forums live on Facebook.  Since then, we have hosted around 40 virtual briefings tackling key aspects of the coronavirus pandemic and longstanding policy issues...

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FOCAP on ABS-CBN shutdown: We’ll never flinch and never cower – July 10, 2020

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) condemns the vote of the House of Representatives' committee on legislative franchises to reject the license renewal of ABS-CBN, the country's largest broadcaster, as a painful stab at press freedom. The decision deprives the Filipino people of an independent source of information when millions are grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. It obliterates the livelihood of thousands of journalists and media workers who risk their lives each day to keep the public informed. FOCAP stands by its ABS-CBN colleagues in this...

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Flashback Friday: What PNoy said during his last forum with FOCAP

"I have always been able to speak very candidly here, so let me admit that I have mixed feelings about my last presidential forum. On the one hand, I face our gathering with a little bit of sadness—may I emphasize ‘a little bit’—after all, I have never been shy about expressing my admiration for your organization and its history of principled journalism. During Martial Law, when the dictatorship sought to suppress information and took over local media, the members of your organization stood up to the dictator, and paid the price for it continuously. FOCAP became guardians of the truth during...

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Statement on the closure of ABS-CBN regional channels – August 28, 2020

It’s a black day for independent media across the Philippines as ABS-CBN News airs its final TV Patrol newscasts in provincial stations then pulls the plug for good after more than three decades. The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines dreads the repercussions of this latest offshoot of the network’s shutdown amid an unprecedented pandemic. Other ABS-CBN news programs, which have been a daily staple of Filipino households for a generation, have gone off air. Millions of Filipinos outside Metro-Manila will lose a fast and credible source of news today as they struggle...

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Statement on the libel conviction of Rappler CEO Ressa and former reporter Santos – June 15, 2020

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines is extremely alarmed over the conviction of journalist Maria Ressa and former Rappler reporter Reynaldo Santos Jr. It’s a menacing blow to press freedom in the Philippines and adds a new weapon in a growing legal arsenal against constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties in an Asian outpost of democracy. FOCAP journalists will press on with their courageous, fair, accurate and independent journalism. We have fought to stay independent since the dark Martial Law days. We will fight on every time, threat after threat. We stand with...

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Statement on the order by NTC for ABS-CBN to stop broadcast operations – May 5, 2020

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines condemns the National Telecommunications Commission’s order to shut down the television and radio stations of ABS-CBN Corp., the country’s largest broadcaster. The order threatens press freedom at a time when the public needs an unfettered press the most. As the Philippines reels from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, ABS-CBN’s critical eye is needed now more than ever to help inform the public. ABS-CBN's indefatigable journalists have fully embraced their role to provide the public with vital information on the pandemic...

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Statement on media coverage of COVID-19 community quarantine – March 14, 2020

We at the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines are closely monitoring and covering the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the government’s response to contain the spread of the virus. In order to keep our coverage in harmony with the community quarantine and other containment steps announced by the government, we, working journalists at FOCAP, would like to clarify some concerns that are crucial in performing our job properly. We’ll appreciate an official and clear government response in the interest of the public, the government and the media in this time of crisis. 1) Are...

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Statement on pressure against ABS-CBN – February 10, 2020

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines denounces moves by the government to shutter the country’s largest broadcaster, ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary. The moves follow Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated public tirade against the TV network. ABS-CBN is a cornerstone of Philippine democracy and the free press for its independent and critical reportage and massive following in the country and abroad. The constitutional violation and other legal infractions raised by the Solicitor General in his Quo Warranto petition before the Supreme Court have been denied by ABS-CBN and...

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Statement on 2019 SEA Games coverage issues – November 28, 2019

The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines denounces remarks by Southeast Asian Games organizers blaming the media partly for the flurry of negative reports on logistical issues that were raised publicly by Philippine and Southeast Asian athletes and officials themselves. Independent journalists report problems and issues imbued with public interest as they happen and become evident and do not delay the time to press for accountability. We report defeats and victories, failures and triumphs. We specially take exception to insinuations by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who...

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Statement on the expected Ampatuan massacre case ruling – November 21, 2019

After a decade of prosecution and trial, a court decision is expected on the gruesome Ampatuan massacre case next month. The Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines renews its call for a closure that will bring all perpetrators, especially the masterminds, to justice. No other outcome is acceptable. Not one more day of delay can be justified. The horrific display of impunity that claimed 58 lives, including 32 Philippine media workers, on November 23, 2009 underscored the deadly mix of political abuse and government failures that remains a threat we face today. Our colleagues...

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