The History of Press Freedom in the Philippines

Topics: Corazon Aquino, Ferdinand Marcos, Philippines Pages: 7 (2155 words) Published: June 24, 2013
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The History of Press freedom in the Philippines
Press freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution of the Philippines, where it is enshrined in Article III, Section 4. Although the Philippines is said to have one of the freest press in Asia, Philippine press and news media, from the campus, local, and national levels have suffered censorship, prosecution, intimidation, and attacks, particularly during Martial Law. Currently, the Philippines is ranked 140th in the 2011 Reporters Withour Borders' Press Freedom Index and third in Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) Press Freedom Index. -------------------------------------------------

Spanish colonial rule
Philippine press started with the establishment of the Spanish Del Superior Govierno, known as the first newspaper published in the Philippines. Like subsequent newspapers published by Spaniards, Del Superior Govierno catered to the Philippine-based Spanish elite and reported about government affairs and religion. Nationalist newspapers critical to the Spanish regime were published in Europe, such as La Solidaridad, or underground, such as the Kalayaan and La Independenca. However, these newspapers were not legally and openly allowed to be circulated in the Philippines. Nonetheless, these newspapers contributed to the nationalist ferment and the expansion of thePhilippine revolution against Spanish rule. -------------------------------------------------

American colonial rule
The modern newspaper in the Philippines was pioneered by the American colonial regime. Two currently existing newspapers--The Manila Times and the Manila Bulletin--were established during this regime. Though the Americans introduced the concept of democracy and free press to the Philippines, their colonial regime was said to have suppressed nationalist papers such as El Nuevo Dia, El Renacimiento, and Sakdal. -------------------------------------------------

Japanese colonial rule
The press, as well as radio, was suppressed and attacked during the Japanese occupation as all media were controlled by the Japanese imperial army. However, underground publications by anti-Japanese forces were disseminated. -------------------------------------------------

Third Republic
The years 1946 to 1972 was dubbed as the “Golden Age of Philippine Journalism” for it enjoyed freedom, which was guaranteed by the government. It also spawned a breed of scholarly writers such as Armando Malay, Salvador P. Lopez, Arsenio Lacson, among many others. During that time, the press was viewed as the watchdog of the government, but mainstream media organizations then were owned by big corporations. -------------------------------------------------

Martial Law
Press freedom in the Philippines suffered its biggest blow a day after the proclamation of Martial Law by the late president Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos' first order on the first day of Martial Law was the immediate closure of all news organizations and on the next day, he ordered the arrest and interrogation of publishers, editors, journalists, and broadcasters identified to be critical against the government. From 21 to 23 September 1972, publication of newspapers were suspended, and radio and television broadcasts went off air. On 25 September 1972, the Department of Public Information (DPI) censored all media organizations by virtue of order number one and two, which required all media outlets to seek clearance from the DPI before publishing or airing news and information. Some news organizations resumed operations on said date. From 1972 to 1981, the Marcos administration issued several decrees ordering the censorship of media and the prohibition of disseminating information that were deemed to undermine the government. Censorship did not only cover local and national media organizations, but international media as well. Campus-based publications, which were known for its radical practice of journalism. were...
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