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The Fight for Press Freedom Is Local

National leaders who attack independent media attract most of the attention. But powerful authoritarian subnational elites, and a local political milieu that all but guarantees them impunity, pose the deadliest threat to journalists.

AMSTERDAM – A macabre political thriller recently unfolded in the Philippine province of Palawan, an island known mostly for its rich biodiversity and pristine beaches. On May 9, Joel T. Reyes, the alleged mastermind of the 2011 murder of well-known radio broadcaster Gerry Ortega, ran again for governor. Had Reyes won, the possibilities for Ortega’s family to obtain justice for the killing would have dwindled. Fortunately for them, he lost.