We are not the first to say this, nor are we the last: the media is under threat. Globally and locally, the media are being targeted by many sides. Just this week, in Afghanistan, suicide bombings have claimed the lives of at least eight journalists. Here in the Philippines, a radio journalist, Edmund Sestoso from Dumaguete, died from his wounds after being shot several times  by a motorcycle gunman the previous day.

In this day an age of social media and what was thought to be the democratization of information, we are bombarded by state-sponsored fake news peddled by personalities and characters with questionable intentions.  Our right to know is being twisted, with throngs of lies and half-truths being thrown upon us, smokescreens to prevent us from seeking accountability and responsibility from officials who were supposed to be answerable to the people they serve.

A sad reality that we should face is that here, in the Philippines, consistent with EJK and criminalization of dissent, our freedom is slipping down a slippery slope. Democratic spaces are under threat and is shrinking at an alarming rate. We have fallen six places in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index ranking 133rd out of 180 countries, just a notch higher than Palestine and a few steps further than Myanmar. When bearers of truth have guns pointed to their heads and their access to government functions and documents are restricted, one can only ask, what is it that the powerful are trying to hide?

The attacks on press freedom is not an isolated case, nor is it just a wave of attacks that happen here and there. We see how journalists are disparaged by the powers-that-be on a daily basis. We see how fake news and systematic online trolling have divided us as a nation. We see government officials who spew lies with impunity. We have seen enough, and now is the time to act.

We at the environmental sector are more than alarmed, and it is time that we raise our voice and close ranks with our brothers and sisters in the media in defending our right to information and our right to know. In the process of defending our environment and our people, the media plays an important role in helping us expose the names and deeds of those who plunder our planet. Without a free media, one that is biased to the truth and to the people, we cannot imagine how we, as a sector and as part of a democratic society, can defend our constitutional right to a healthful environment.

The freedom we enjoy is not free. Let us protect our freedom with vigilance, by speaking truth to power, and resisting the seemingly sweet promise of autocracy. We have to unite in the face of tyranny and in times like these, dissent is a responsibility.

Angelica Pago is a Media Campaigner and Vince Cinches is the Oceans and Political Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines.