Cover Story
 Democracy Under Attack


IT WAS a tumultuous year for Philippine democracy as the Duterte administration pushed its own brand of social order by undermining the democratic principles that the country has upheld over the years. Barefaced attacks rained on critical voices. Congressmen wrestled for power. Accused plunderers walked away scot-free.

Multiple allegations hounded Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s nine-year presidency. These included electoral sabotage, plunder, a record-high number of human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings of activists and the massacre of 52 civilians in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.  She was detained for four years under hospital arrest because of charges filed against her after her term. The scandals continue to cast its shadow over her current political triumphs.

It was surely not an easy feat for a 73-year-old president to travel to 21 countries during his first year in office, and to assume the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during his second. The experience provided President Rodrigo Duterte multiple opportunities to learn the ropes of diplomacy and international affairs. Yet halfway through his term, Duterte’s foreign policy remains nebulous and incoherent and still leaves much to be desired.

The Silence and Noise of 2018

Disasters often arrive in terrifying sounds — the super typhoon’s blaring monster wind, the tsunami’s rumbling roar as it nears unsuspecting villages, the earthquake’s surging vibration coupled with the shattering of glass and falling objects.

To Boldly Go

“Probe on ahead or turn back.”

It’s a question Captain James T. Kirk asks himself in a 1966 episode of the sci-fi classic Star Trek. An alien entity, spinning and swirling like an August cyclone, had just attacked the starship USS Enterprise. Defenses are down. Destruction is imminent.

Hitting the Reset Button

It is easy for managers, in the effort to regain the public’s trust in journalism, to recite a litany of woes of a modern newsroom. What is hard is to take a step back and devise solutions to them.

Less than Adequate

EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS dominated media coverage in the Visayas in 2018 as journalists grappled with the unprecedented frequency of the killing of suspected drug personalities and the surge in the number of attacks against activists and human rights defenders.

Media Times is an annual digital microsite which contains the findings of the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility’s (CMFR) journalism review on media and press performance.