Meanwhile, in Colombia, which has actually seen its standing improve, they actually created a joint partnership between the government and local press freedom group the Committee to Protect Journalists (not to be confused with us). It’s a quasi-governmental mechanism. If you go to them and say you’ve been threatened, for the most part they respond. The case has to be vetted by the journalism groups and approved and if a determination is made that you’re a legitimate journalist under threat, they will help to relocate you and provide basic things like cell phones and emergency numbers. And it has made a difference.

One of the things another participant in the discussion brought up was that in the Philippines, for a long time, the threat was sort of a badge of honor. “Yeah, I got a threat, I must be getting to them.” It was a bit like a lawsuit—if someone threatens you with a lawsuit, in some instances that means you’ve done your job, because someone’s pissed off. But a lawsuit is one thing; a death threat is something else entirely. That culture is changing in the Philippines. People do take these threats seriously and they’re more likely to take action and I think that’s one of the lessons from the research: threats do need to be taken seriously.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.