A Study in ,Contradict;,ons

Pub~ i shed by the

Oenterfor Media 'freedom and Responsilbil'iity

in cooperation with the SClI!Lllth:east Asia,nl Press .AIII mance:

~ ~

. sMA

0:-: FA!';! NIE!TH i: ttLAND$

Phil~~ppjnes 2004


COMrig'ht@ 2004 by~he OelilterfbrlMedlia Freedom and Responsibtlil,y, Phiiippil1l8S,

All rigil1s reserved. No part of this report may 'be re;pmdlloed ~n any form or by eleclwf'I&c or mocti,fllnical means il1dlJding informalion s.tor,ag~ and retrieval systems, without permission in wmiflg from the Ipublisher, except til( 21 roeviewer who may quote briel passaqes in a je,view,


The Center for Media Freedom and Respomiibillity (CMIFR) published thilS study in cooperation with the Southeast ASian Press Alliance (SEAPA) wlth financial

. .

support: giiven Iby the Netherl!andls Organization for Internetlonal Development

Gaoperati:on (INovib).

This study was prepered by CMFR Executive Director Melinda Quintos die Jesus with CMFR. researchlwritingstaff. Luis V, 'Iendcrc provided editmiall assistance: and wrote chapters on ":Survey of the Mediafland "taws on Phillippline Mass Media,"

Rese.arcihers/writers :

S~.oree!t M(ilryJ. CawiLai3i'1 Hector Bryant L. 1'-1acale

IEditoria I assistance :

Jeanne C cang tara Q. de Jesus IEveliyn o, KOI~ig bak Marlchu A. ucson

Co,ver and Ilay-oui!: design:

IEdgardo p, Le.gaspi Mariial Fe Villella


This volume is one of three sibudies on pressfreedom in Southeast Asia sponsored by the N etherlands Organiizatiolil for I ntemaoonal Development cooperatton (Novilb) .. :It lis. a'f11,eff'olt undertaken by free press based in So uthsast Asi a to descjbe Ohe broad a nd profound Iy complex landscape of jioumalistic prn.cti:ce in tbree democracies in ~he region.

Less tJharn ,211 decade agor ]OU rnal fists from three Sourtheast AsilSiln countries joined to fermi i!ll net\iVork [hat would enable them 00, w'olikoogether to nurture 2Ilnd strenigthen the gaIns 011' democranzetlon in, the erea of the press media. The Philippines toppled the Mamas dictatorship in 1986. Thailand broke the chain ,of millil;fl,!y reglimes in 1992 ... And six years later;. in 199.8, Indonesians forced Suharto, to Com Ing from thrree countries where democracy had taken hold as a s)tstem of ,government, these groups ~elt thet iit was time to create "an Asian Ferce for Press ffeooom." The Southeast Asian Press Alliance or SEAPA. was born, a jolnt enterprise among rned~.a-oriented organizaUons and ther relPli',esentabre leaders, alU of whom had challenged the status CI uo in periods of centrol ..

None of the social and poltticel changes ln the three countries have been as dramatic or as visible as the radtcal shift that took place in the press. INews 0 rga n lzatlo n 50 prol iferated an d thrived ina corn petitlve market. Journallsts were quick to take the sharp cnttcel stance of the proverbial watchdog (If ruJllingl parties and incumbent political powers. But these changes did not guarantee full protection from various p ressures, SEAP A. pled ged to watch the th reats an daltlaciks i nst ttl e press; to, report om these and to exe rt pressure fo r glreater in dependen ce


of the news process,

Change in the region has been complex., In the Ah:ililippines, we are reporting on Cli press that remains besieged by forces in a society that has pledged legal

- -

protection of press freedom. T~'H;,;! 921lns a re si mple 8'11Q u'gih to document. But

these see m 1@5'S ~ ntrli9ui ng than the d ifferentways and means by 'Wh~ch the p ress rernet ns ccmtroHed. A~so 'the [Dress ha s. been vul nera ole rn 'I'egliti mate criticism as incompetence, commercia I ism, and even cornjptl on mar its condu ct and service. Fireedo m h as not ,glua fa nteed q ua Ilit)' journ a Usm. ThiS study touches on the problemsa In dl issues ra lsed by freedom.

lb study press freedom in a oountry like the Philliippines is to enter a fie'ld that may be easy enough to observe but takes more effort to understand. The siOLJa~ion suggests a lack of appredetlon even wijthin the press of the burdens and responsi bHiHes imposeell by freedom. The u nderlyirng iron~es a nd colflilnldlrucms irn tile practice of journalism force us to, revIew aliso the prevamng socio-economic as wen as paliaca I aspects of pu bl ic Ufe."

This slim volume does not pretend to bea comprehensive or definitive discussion of the' theme. Rather, it hopes. to present a starting point from which we can move toward Qlre,ater understanding 'of the challenge of press freedom and democra,cy in Southeast Asi'E'I.

IMeUnda qUli,nhls de Jesus Executive Director

Center forMedia Freedom and Re-sponsibi//ty




()verview .' , ., ", ", ", " ,,, ,,", ,, ,., ,, " , " " " ' "., 6

History of the Ph~ I ipp~ne Priess: Tradmon of PrESS Freedom , 13

Med~a Issues .", "' " ", "" ., ,, ", " ", , ", ""'" .. ,, " ,21

Attacks and Threats " " .. " "" .. "', .. " ', ', .. ,, .. " "" '" '''" ' '".' 27

Snallshots "" "."' "''' , "' "' , ue a 50

SILHve:y ofthe Media.""." "" .. " "" .. " " .. "" " " .. " """'" "'". " ".". 56

Laws on PhmpiP~ 1'1113 IMass M~ed~a." , 10,,2

AibQUlt CMfR .", •. " ...... " ... ""."" ...... " " "" .. ""."" "" "" ",."'"."' .. ,, ' .• 77



by Melinda QuintDs de Jesus

In thecontext Q,f thecou ntryrs~rag~ le d!em:ocracy, press freedom in the Philippines desellVeS a:mltinuedl study. ~egarr:ledas a k"eY piHar of d@moaracv, the COUlltry'S fn~e press/ a term that ,enoom r;laSSecS radio ,andl~e~evis~io:n news, m@diia, remalins a signmcant realli.ure of publtc ~Iifel one so vrsHJ~ean;dI vigorOU!5 thart lit often defines 'Ith@ natlona II situatron.

It is-a press tl1at is protectedl by no less tI1\jJn~l1e COnstituijonfrom government intel"\J'€!t1tinn, whf,rn states tlnat'~no ~a,w may be passed trhat would abridge freedom of expf'!!!s5iol1l:' Philippiine Ilibel lawad'dresses the rignts of those aggrrieved by :defamatory reports. Other issues have g~ven rise to other ~aw5 fjhat do interfere with the oo:ndudt oftlhe press and other med fal such as those protecting 1tihe r~gh1ts ,of women v,lctims ohrlo!€noo. But the courts have establlf~hed a record of deesions liberally ililterpreti~g the law ,in favQr of the press.

Tn;e power of tihe press to ~!1!f1u:eniCe pdll;iiCc$ is proven. IPolicy issues .:lInd the imp~emenmth:m of govemm.ent progra ms req uiltingl 9 reater public d i:souss·fon ere sometimes dmspllaced in the govemmeil1't agenda by matters that have been given more importance i n the news, Pu b! Ie offiicia,ls a Fe ob~ig:ed to attelld to mooia queries even riff these a re not necessan Iy the most important questions of the day. lMowhere Ii n Southeafst AsJaare govemmelii't offiCia ls so ClCGessible ti:{I the press. Ca blnet mi nisters are ava i Ilab~e from the earl lest 11 ours to answelr quesUo:ns from radio: show hosts on the news of the dial! involving thel r responsi bWli es,

Furtlhermore1 television news prog rams have spawned media oelebniities whnS€: popu larity Wiithl the masses has alitapu~ted their entry into politics .• IMOO ia's focus on celebrity has infected IDe pol~tical culture wi~h exaggerated concern for



PRESS FREEDOM IN THE PHIUWIN I:S A Study in Contnldictions

perS'onallity and color, and the IkJind of II m pact: essodeted wirth sports and entertainment. Political pa rtles have tended to recru [t popula rfiguries from these fieldls toassure they ~a\!I@ winners in the race for seats, in Congress.

At the same time, diissatisfaction over th@ flallNs and we\:! I\;.nesses .of the press has risen. A. more knowing IPU bile has become cyniCil~ about what they mad In the press. Stories Of corrupt media Ipr,actiUon~rs have tainted the image off the press whose bette r m embers have worked ha rd to pWvild@ tmtlhfull reports about wro ngdoing ii n high places,

cefta iin veaHtles ra tse serious oOj,UestiOIllS a bout. the qua I;ity of freedom enjoyed by Fili pi no jou rnelists, The impunity with which Fnlipino jouma lists have been killed since 1986 when the press was Iii berated from offidal control mars thl;! boa/sltul cia im that the press ~n the rffiLU ntry is free, The 'extr~O!rdii ~ary num ber of jo urna lists and mediCi practittoners Ikilll'edl in the "'Ii ne of d tlty" and the failru re to prosecute these Id'lling,s tn court oonstitu~e a cnsls end scandal ~hat oooupies a oontral concern ,ofthis report.

Other concerns indude the commercl,alism 'H1at dlaracteriizes tile press as an enterprise, the pradtlooQf "paiVOla" that IbuiYS coverage, and the ownership of the press. by vested interests. Onanother level, questionsebout tne quality of its service' confront the press, Does the press lin the Phillippines provtde relevant liiIe'LI'II'S ,and information so tJhaUhe lPub!~c can pEl rttdpate in publl icallairs? noes the press, treat their audience as citizens who have righ~s as well as duties and obligations?

This study reviews the history of the press ln the Philipp'lnes and dlscusses tile present state of the press end im practice a ndl tile 1iJhrlea,ts and attacks a.gainst press freedom. It al~S:o reports. 0111 the efforts of mea i:a advoeates to protect and to uphold the' i nstltutlonand its a ut-onomy. The study includes a section featu ir~ng Ibrie'f sketches of the lives endwork of journalists who, were IkJiiled "in the line of duty." A cIleSOfiiptiive in!Ventory 'OF medilal organ~zation5 in fbhe COlH"lI[ry end a compendl urn of laws, affectin91 the pressare included in this study.

This study also recognizes thet certain ,colldiliiions in developing countries affect the: state and quality of the press. These 'i ndu:dle: ~overtya nd the rPi3I,~city of resources, weak institutions, courts, and Ilaw erforcernent; poor ~mdi bad

PRESSFREIEOOM IN mlE IPmln.:II?PUJ ES A StJudy In Coo'ilrooi:ctiQJls

lin developirilg democractes, press freedom studies ma~e upe r,elativ,~liy ne\Nfileld., As" @mergililg d~mocrades have sprouted a'll! around A5i~, press freeoom has b~ossomedf ,even wh€ii:l seeded ~1iI the most d!ilifiault and hostlirre terratin. The OOMlitions ,e:rul!me~alted ;9lbovealfect the ~ram@!!hl'ork of publi:coommunication. Bad press. praoooe: eould ,easily be dismlissed as, a lre11ledtion of problems houndingl ~roubled sod eties, In developing demoera cles, the press, thrnves on the preponderance of bad news as, corrupt and ~nept governments invite g reater IPublic scrutiny. tnthe Ph Uippines, perhaps bece use the press enjoys br,o.::l;dI' Ip,roteooon from QffiCial1 restrictiions, me!ilY c:ompia ~nabout 'the a buss of press freedom and bla me the press for engendering 'C'YInici'sm a nd des:pair.

In AsiiaT tne stul~ ns of cllUtho:ritarJa Iilisrn a nd Une one-party system remain Hke a potent VI~fI.lIlS li'n the bO<!y pontic. [ronically~ some of the stetes with these systemiS are elso oountedarnong the mosteeonom vealily s~cressfiul; ,€mha IiIcing the op~ionfor~hose direnchOililtedM~h def1l1ocra,ey or ~elmed by its dl!al:lenge. tn recent yea rs~ the dsbate ~1iI ASEAN has rellised the qu:estlion 'of whether there can be roo much del1rlOcracy that cou I~a inrterfelle wrlth gOI!,l'€lirli1mEmt's\!\I'(jril<. Same haw:;: gone as far as to question whefuer diem,oc:racy invohr,es a clash lbei:w,e€!1iII W~m and Aisfian val~u@:s. Thisoofiltaf: reveals how the reg~ora remains Viulnevab1e t:o, the awraction of stronq-ma n rl!J~e, even ss democracy gai[lfIs 11:5 ad herents aroundl the region.

In ,e;nviFonmenl:s dralstf:ca~ liy diflferent from those to be found in the West.t mhe groMh of the press in de¥e:lop~ng countries miC'l'y calli fora d lifmr,@nl:: cm:lllyttc:a II frame. This is no ca III to revi\lle the "Asian v,all ties" di5c~ssion, B!.!!t there ~s a need to alppreciate 'ollierways ,of eva'l"-liSlting freedom and lits ptracNoe lin Asia. The quick classiflcatlTon !Qf title press as either free or con1brollool d'epe:nding 0111 how m uch government contral thereis, ts neat; but it hardly gets at the rea~ity 1tlhlilt prevai~s in emer~~ng demeerades. It does not touch on mhe stmggl€ Q,f joumaHsts to challenge the :system end'to upgrade standsrdsforthernsebes. Rat1'ngthe quality of fmednm from title motif: fr@€loo th€ least free lealVes out from, the picture manlY eritreall aspeetsvTh ~5 does not measure: til,!! c:ommitmenit of jouma ~ists andi the pubJiic to uphord the \t,3lue d€.5lPime the pressures agaftnst it. Haw "does· one rHOOrpor:a1:e in the ranking the fad 1tIhat precssures from p01!fimrfrul forces d!o not neGes5ariiy "chill'i the rea ~ of jeu mel Usts tt.o cOI'llt!l nue 'being 'omiijcall, ,dleSipite the da ngers to' life and livelil1ood.




It has also been found ttlatthe absence of regulatolY press laws does not guarantee tnet the press win be a source of trut~r wf'1i,ch 15 an objective of its freedomi nor does non-l rnt@rmrel"'loe by government assure the protection of 'the press from other forms ,of private control, In fact, we have seen how tlhe practice of' press freedom is affeoted by vested intere"sts who, own and manage the news. Experience has also showin how the free market imposes Its own requirements" Sen,satlonalism ,and inro-ta~nment cJiistort the news but ,attract; a wlider audi@nce" These distract the press from the point of the practice and from lIr'gent pUI,olk concerns. In c'ellta'ln erees, the lack of economic development does not assure markets large enough to susta I n press autonomy from forces of SOCiety.

Consider then the difficulties of j!oumalists work~l1Ig un Ea,st Timor and Carnbodla. Contrast these to the well paid joumalists. of Mall.aysia, where despite tnelr comtort zones, certain journali'sts hav,e pushed the ,enveloapefor more eutonomous reporting. The contradictions and ironies characterizing the region seem to be more present in the lendsca pe of the Ph~ I i pplnes where the press has been described as the "fr,ee-ese' press in Asia but was a lso ra nked among the "most dangerous aeSSggnments" in the world 'forjoumalists.

So, should press freedom studies be limited to the counting of attacks and lOhreats to the practice of the press? Shouldn't these studies Include the context in whic:n jouma I ~sts wm'k ii n rna ny perts of the worl'd',. the inherernt vulnerabililty shared wirth other d'evelopment workers such as rights advocates, the paucfty of resources, the absence of the rule of law, a patronage system that provides perks and p:rivilleg.e 00' j,o~ma'lists who will 9 uarantee favorable coverage of news subjects? Shoul'an't the adlvocacy 'for press freedom protection also assess the performance of journalism lin the dissemination of relevant and meaflingiful news?

The brevity of th~:s study does not make it poss~blle to ,give, sat~sfying snswers, Rather, the study is deS11gned to ilnvlte more retlecnon, and probe ,of 'the' press in one of the oldest cernocrades in Asi,a. It shall I attempt to provide a more comprehensive framework of analvsls of press freedom in developing societies,

lh,e Role O,ftbB IPlres!; iln Society

Despite the affirmation of the vallue In law alnd in tradition, there Is no expressed consensus in Philippine socfetyabout the role of the press.

No document a rticull(lltes; this i 111 the man ner ofthe Hutchins Comm ission in the L.J n ited States whose aim was "toO study the role of the ,1:Igencies of mass

PRESS IFPJEEDm", ] N TH,c IPHILTPP1NES A Stu:dlV iin Contradictions

oommunicatliol'1l in the education of~h€! people i,n publi,c affalrs." The studv also set ~ortn what the! American sooietyshlould expect from the press. as "common earners of public dlseussion," [f there is no consensus on how a fr,ee press serves socl:etyl tlheli'l other C:OI1l~id€irati:ons win @.Sta,ibUsih other Ikindls of purposes for ~heactivity.

Other f,ealiitl es ~nd i,care sodet~ls ~ack of oommTIDmel"lt to its fullness.

The fiilfst I les i n the lm maturity of case law iina c"Ountry Ii l!Qe the Un ited Statesl t~e courts lresolve the claims ofoomlpeting rnghts and artiiClulate the value wiith the strer1iQl~11 of 1(lIW, There' l1ave been few cases raised i n Ph~ I ippj ne courts to resolve questions of com petnng rig hts or to probe legliUmate cilalleng:es tc the, ~ i m iit'S of press, freedom This may be interpreted a's a til unquesncned acceptance of the vallue. It aISlO5!Llgg:ests however a lack of inteiliectu(lil ~iglor andl irlstiturtiorilllll tffllns!ation of the meaning of press ']om; ilii whindn case, tt can be intoerpreted aiS2I weakness in IPhi~ippillesoolety's commitment to the value.

Mean ling, Fi,Upinos, m.ay s-ee pressfreedom as part of democr-atic tu Ii, But what p~ace do 1ll1ey give to press freedom in ,a hi:erarcfly of nationa~ va'i ues? P[@'ss freedom issues in court invo~ mootLy I~bell., or the grievancesurffure:l by individL!a~i b.lJit these do !not probe thel m PI(l;dt of pressfreedom abuse on the qua I ity of poliijcs and the other aspects of pu bllc ~ ire. The! courts have not been the v,enue for the dash of id'eas~hat ()ou~d auNlenil:icate the va'l ue in SOQiety's cam::luct,. oUll:loo,lj( ClliiId ~nstituUonaT 'g ro\!Vl::h.. COUIrt decisions have been simple declalrations oJ bellef iin press freedom, ri nging Ii ke motherhood stat:emeni:s witil sea nt reflection on the com plex [iSSJUes that a rise when the press ~s (lIn olfmlf"ld~ ngandl ofi1@inslv@ palrty.

"!"hie (I asnbetween press freedomand other forces is mOFE' q LJliddy pl'ayed out not as aoompetition of pr~noi ples and ldeas, but as a contest of power, of mig ht and means. lihe casesllf"l~hls s~udy musbate the intimf:dlat~onand coercion efthe press and the Si1iencing' of Its members.

Someof these problems wU II be resolved as soc~ety develops stronqer irtlstututlions andlachieves grea~er edl!.!lcation of its dUlzens. IBUIt in the Philippines, the exerdse of lpress freedom is so robust as to demonstrste !:he (iritlcall1l€l@d tn democratizing counmes forsodety to, oalfecbivefy understand the bu rtien of freedom. As i In other em:elrgi ng demoerades, freedom an d demm:racy evo~e sepa ra~ely,. They are not II1I0ce5salil11ly ~nltertw~nedl. rh~s is arg Uledi we~ I by Far,eedZa:lkaria in hf5

~ Lee C. BQllit1ger.lDl!agt.s uf A Free Press, Chica:g,Q: University of'Chieago Press, 1.'991., pp, 2:7-2!l




PRESS FREeDOM IN il'HE PHllUP\P[N ES ,A Stud;ll in CoI1~r,adlicthOii'lS

book The Future' o,fFreedom. Ail1ld good gOWlm m€!n1t ~s not a necsssa ry r~Ullt of the! t\IvO. Quiite often, demoQratiization as a soci'a~ and! politica'l ~ recess occu rs more qui:ddy 1th2lnthc€ d@v~lopmf!nt O'f an eff~~ive 19ovemme:nt

Btatlllsrningi alworI!J[liiIg IDf8SS beoOl'i!'l€S part of'l:t"te \Wrk of d~mOCl"a1lic ~eties. ,Assu Iiill1'ilQ a press that is autonomQUS of gov,ernmefllt control is af Irs!: step. Tam i ng the ~nfilueoce of ot~e~ vesteci ~nterests on the press is dififi!t:u~t rN!ote' the OOITU~tiol1l a nd ooFoptal1ilo:r1 of j,oumaUsts. ThE! pressures of a free market invollve even more werle The mom developed democraoies nowadknowledg,e that m!arke1!: dema I'1Ids hav~ ereated press oongl~Q:m@lIiCit€!:Sll!a'l:: a re not so much ,abO!JJIE ~rIIfc():nming cirti:zens as cf1earll1n1g pre'f1~; ~or co'~porate poa:etsand for seleot group.s ofjoll.milalists"

Press ~ IprotooiOnl snoull:l expand effOri!iS for greater pliJIlJmc umideliSt1.lnd ing of the rol!e of the lD:ress in the sQCie,tv in whfch ,o;perates. DemooraJtilc d@velopm,enlt ~ [wolves complex prob~emsand issues that need to be resolved f not just be the passage of law but tOOnfirm>8d in I:h8 val1u@ system.

WithQ!JJI'I:: gmamr approoati:arl ro:r 1the mqui rem,8nts of d8imocracy am:! the responSij ~j Uties 1JMt aecom pany freeCil~om,~t1e system IUnleas~es forces tMt undermine~e va'I~U:8S O'f 'freedom, equa1lity, and ru~8' of law.

And! so ~n the P~'iliPipinesj pm-SIS freedom is wrfiItE:n in ~alV!J and is praedeed wrdh~ly; but joumalistsand ne'l!\lS organizationls c-ontinl!.!!e to be ii mperiled. The press nself is guilty' ofsubverlllliilQ the goals of al fll'ee pres5"whicltnl iliS an informBd :society. ]cu.Jmnlansts win a ugue 8 mOlligs,t 1lhemselv,es ,about wtli'illltlll'nese' 'g;oa'lis, are or s!1Jou~dI be. The PihilippJIiile5 is Oiile oftlliJose plooes wlhere pre-ssfreedom 1:iJ(l5 OO€nim,posedi 5b1ueturailYI as part of a desired politi:cal S'yStem. But it has not yet become al core v,alue 'Qip@<ra1lil1lg in 1ih8 lim ofa peopl1e" IMuch ~i ke ell@cl:ions (3lnd U1€! €!> of wti ngj ,estaill isfningl press freedom from govemment ,ooril~rol is only tl1e first step in a long and ('mjou,sstruggle'.

Press fr'eeoom ,advocacy must begin to (l;cknowledge the com pllexjty of~hil5 task: a ndl a ppreci;ate the differing oornem otthe au'b:Onomous practice. Thalt context must i I1Ivol'oJe promo'lli 1119 a shared understandl~ng ,o:F the PU'1POs€! of ]'0 umelism in na~jona'l develQpme~ cokJnowiledged by sta k.eholdern who will commit thernselves 00 the' va!ue,

~tiI1out sudtl undertalk:ingl~, press freedom iii£;, a sl'ogan withouil: sub-stance in lroolity.



A (01'0 ny of Spai I'll sii nee 152t the Phili pplnes dsda red its i ndepende nee on June 12/ 1898., Philippine revolutl,onary leaders also established the first Asian republic on January 23, 1899. At the end of the Sparush-Amencan war, the usilalnds were ceded by Spain to tine United Sta~es'r accord'ung to the terms of the Treaty of Paris. The terms of that treaty ignor-ed the fact that Spal n no longer controlled tIMe islands.

It took the Un~ted Stares thr,ee years to det:eat the same Fii I ipino fo ross who ha:d won the colony's freedom from Spain. A million Fiilipino soldiers died in the war against Ameriica~ ~o!llow.ed by a period of colonlzetlon of nearly 50 y.ears. It was 'Only on July 4, 1946, after its occupetion hy Japanese troops, during World WaIF III did tile country become sovereign again,

The I egacy of press freedom is oft-en credited to the America ns, who a I so estebl ished the pu bllic school and pu bnc heallth systems in the Phil] ppines, While the Amettlca n colonia I administration instiltuti'Onalizea th e I ~berta ri'2il n I'egacy; the tr.adition has a much longer h[lStOry \MltJ11 deeper roots embedded in the oountry's

stn..Jggl€ fo r independence. '

La So/idarldad, the best known paper of propaganda against Spanish rule, S(lIW publDcartioon on February 15, 1889. It estebhshsd the model for the press as a venue for the expression .of popular grievance and public outrage. In such periods, the press provldes alii outlet for views and fee1lings Which Filipinos, keep in check, 9iven certain cond lnons ThiS wastrue ()nhe~r su bju.gation under Spain, in the camlpaign for independence, dUffi 1'lI9 the Amer~caf1l period, the u ndergrOLl!nd press dutil1g~he Japanese OorupatJlon and later the 'I'Imosqu'ibi' press under Martial


PRiESS IFREIEDCl'M IN THE PIHILIPP]NES A. Study in Co:rrtr~dlctloFl5

law. As suChl' the press brings toqethertne disparate groups and individuals in society who are jai ned b,y thel r common concerns, a purpose observed b,y Alexis d'ToGqltJ€!Ville about democracy in America in the 183015.

Through the period of American C:ommonweal~h (1935-1942), wil:h the prornse of independence at hand, a lively press provided a forum for the debate and discussion of ideas aboutthe options, oHhe' nation, 1taking up the compet~ng tdsss of federa hsm a nd com p lete independence. TIl ro ugh th e Japanese Occupation (1942-1945), an underground press kept aliive a level of resistance against collaboration wirth oCCUlpyiing forces and support for the guerilla movement,

E\j\enbua~ IYI Phm p pi ne law would susta I n press freedom as a natiena I va lue.

The Malolos Constitutf:on goveming the Rirs,t Philippine Republic in 1899 enshrinecl it. The fundamental commitment also found expression throu,gh the pol'iUcal passages that. produced the 1935 constltutlcn and the 1987 charter; In jurispruderncs, Phl~ippine jurisprudence followed .American court cases wi"! lchfurther footed the doetrl ne i tlI law.

IMarUa Illaw P'Bri:od

Pemaps, IMartiall1 Law IPr,e~empted the progressive ij nstirlJutionalization of a free press. as al pOllar of democracv There was. profound struggle on various levels durin9 the 14 years of MarcOcs' repressve regime.

Fr,om 1972 to 1986, requlatlon 'took various forms. At flrst, military censors were established to check reports agaiinst g'uidellines for the press. Then, a 'golVem ment agency;. the Media Advisony Gouncii~ (MlAC}1 made sure that tile' press observed the gu~delines., The media OVII'ners were well select€!d a mong the 'M'ends a nd fa mUy members of IMa rcos and hiS w'lfe" Imelda. Wihen the MAC was dismantled, the press assodstlons themselves submitted to a mechanism of selfoonsOrShipl' making sure that only favorable reports were published or aired.

But with the consolrd'atiorl of tile regl~mler the m~ I it.ary's conn n uij ng coercive power served as the u'lti mate guarant,ee of control. Sti III, u nder'g round activdties spread news that the crony press suppressed .

.Aflter some time, Marcos, wjsh~ rng to court 'World a pprov.a~J a Il'owed certa ~n venues for the criil:ical press. In May 1'977~ the publication orveteren investigative



PRES.S mEEDOM ]N Ti-! E PHIUPPUiES A SbUdly ln Con1;tr;]ldidlia:ns

reporter Jose Burgos, Jr., We Forum, Ibega n critICal I repo rts about human rights abuses and corruptlo 111, as we~ I as thef rst all h;giaUOrtS made ,about Ma rces' fa ke war medalls" When the paper bega n to gai n atteflltion, MaiPcos U 111 eeshsd the power of the courts to aonrnin their iimpact,as gO'V'Eimment fil~ed subversion charges against editors anol some wlumnists of the paper.

The shocking murder of former senator and! opposition leader, Benigno Aq LJin:o Jr, on August 21, ][,'983, b!lew the I i'd off the fenment of publ ic dissatistactiol1 atJout rile regi me, The glfowi I1g infl uen.ce of his extrava gant wifie and the ~mpact of or(my~ism on the economy had become subject of' qluiet complaints. Filipinos may hav.e been willing to trade off thelrfreedom but expected somethin g ii n exchange. Despirte subm ittingl to controls, I:hey were not getlli 119 g:ood government nor good economic programs. The klill~ng of AqiUino was un-precedented ~n Phil ippine, natioml politics The killing of a leading naUona,1 ~igure alWa,lkienoo Filipinos to Mlarcos' unbridled use of power and gave Filipinos common cause, Qonsollidating the diliferent fronts wag~ 1119 s~ruggle against tile regime.

The challenqe of the: eommunTst arid Mu~Hm insurgents and other cause". oriented groups combined in a massive protest movement, the strel1lgtlh of which gaim~d frornwidespread folilowing amongl on::limuy people.

The "alternati¥e" press was no smalllPart of tllis, movement When the crony media falled teo report on the gatherll1lg crowds which attended Aquino's wake and followed the funerall corteqeto the plac-e of burial, many Rllipinos turned to the dutoh of newspapers wh kh giav@ them such information. These publlicoltions began~o, filii the gap iin public awereness about Issues of concern among! a larg;er population. We Forum, Ma/ayat Mr. &. Mrs. Spedaf Edition" and Vel1tas: NeWSVlleekfy published news esehewed by the ,cr,ony press. BlJSiness Day, ,afiive-dlay newspaper speoiaUzing om business and economic news! also Qi2lve cnncel news about the' faltering economy. In 211 1211nger sense, these rJev\i'spapers embodied the aspiraticm of Filii pi nos Tor free' expression thmug h open political excha nge.

While most of these were weeklies,they quiddy captured an impressIve readership, which exil:ended to the urban centers in tihe provmres,,, In !:hi,s manner, readers aU aroundthe aounmry became mor,eactive,!y engaged in 1bhe protest movement and formed the oore forces of what wouldilater be called People Power:


From Felmja~ 22. to 26r ~ese groLllp.sand othersWiho w@r@ not: alffiUalted 'vviH1 any ,organizations took to the streets and faced down the miUtary tanks Oli'l ~e main iliorougnrnre on Metro Manila,Epifaniodeioo Santos Avenue (EDSA)I bringing down the giOVel"nment..IP,eolP~e Po~r irilstalloo the p~id@m:y OfCOrCl!ZO:n C. Aqu~no, the w~dO'Wof the silain forrner senator Benigll10 AqL!!ino ]r; The hauoowifewil)h no DOl itical ex~rience was persuaded to lead th@ nppositi;o:n in the "s:na p" elections called by Ferdinand! IMarcos. The period ushered iin tne reco,ve;ry of demooracy and tts ~riIslj~lJljans, the most quickly esta,blisnedl of whidh wCI!51ihe Phill~ppine press.

Once aga~n,. the press beca me an iniStl'lum:enit fur reform a nd ITa nsformatlon, arUcu~at~ng a lPE'o~le's aspirations to be free cfil;ijzens, ,engagedandi inIVo~lved Tn the issues of gov€rrllanoo and talk~n g part ~n public a1Ta~rs.

IRrom the "a ltellm~th/e'l mode, lOU rnsllsts ~n 198i6 quidk!lyadjUisted tQ~e n~w press envlrofllment The press quickly oocame"eStrablishment" in rrt:s approoch~o and o'!J~loo1k on ri18WS. 'News W(l1S a bout the promin@nt and pow€!rful, t:he~r issues and affairs. There was mini mali in~erest in ,and coverag:e of the poor a nd the marg~nalized"

The j:nstitution quickly reverted to its previous form, operating as free enterprise and competing ~111 the free market. The political dYl1ialm~c g:ov@m~ng the P:IieSS q utckly em erg:ed. News org,anizatio:ns sprcutedand proI1iferated!jf:or PF01fit or for pi)wer. Thl'€!.€! high'ly(jrcu~atOO daily liiIewspa,pers domlnated the broodsheel: marl~t. These were: the IMa n'i 1'21 Bulletfnl 1jjl1e Phil i ppine Dalil~y Inquir:erl and! ~he Phil~ !'pine Star. Sma~ ler newspaper:s also daimed national c~rmllattoril.

llhe PhHippine market isacbllaUy too smaU to support such a large press industry, a'l1d1~he exi$l:ence of a good number O'f lI1el/1J'cspapers has not been based on circu!atJlon I adivel1Jl!5ingl revenues, but em eoonomic/pol ntical subsid les, The mfll1tinued fljs:ion of eOOii!lomlcand IPoli1tic,(l1 iliilr@r,ests ~nr PhilippTIiI€! polittcs m:nt~n!J€!'S to rnske a news oli\g:anizatbn em attradiivei nvestment fur many bus! nessrnen wanllrnngl a platfbrmto, push for their interests. Given QI srna III market, theJr@ were q uidk rewards for the~ first comers: wM eventL!!al~ly dom i lI1ated the medial malriket. Outs:ide of M~etro IMaliil~la, the IPmviinc~1:l1 press captured a strong msrket niche, In p1laces: like cebl!.!lJ 1jjhe local press esta b~ i shed ~ew levels of circula~i'l')1l1I as well as ed~rorial quail ilty.


PRESS FREEDOM lIN THE PiH]I.I~prN ES .A Study in Contrad'idtion~

Wi1thlJhe ooa~mo:n ofanti-Maroos; foroes !..mraveIWng soon alteli' 1!:he'l1i lISt elediolll! in i 987~ news orga I'iIllzationts d Ie not represent a diVilded press b8tWElElll1 M'aroos and Aqu~no sl!!pporters. In certain news: o.rganilzatiorlls,. Joumansts frorn what uiSOO t\O be called 'OI"Oliily papers took their place to work. along1 wi~lhl1l0se W~D used to, V!lri~e'firQm the! ,othef sjde of tne nne·,

Broadcast mecllia gained grot:! nd. Rlldio ma~ ntai riledl its wide reGIol1 ana relevl~sion beglan to s~ow IIts unique Impa;ct. 'GO¥emm:ent conti ri! ued to manage and oon1iml the nI nehwliik man:a;ged ~hrougllh apIPQiFlood li"lominoos.tvIl'o tv nel;vilorlks sSQl!Iestered from M'alrcJ[)s cronles-tRPN-9 and IBC-13. 'Gover'rIIment else retal ned the bureaucracy of what used to serve: as the IMan::;os propaga I1Ida machme,

lBut desplit€! SlJIcim com mUlilicatfon a-ssets~ ,gove~nm:erllt liS (onstantly 1roiUlnc:ed ~G1i the ,commumkatllan giame'. llhe press took on the mre as "watchdog" of power and heed an adversanalll stance towa rd govemment.


IMo, acceunt of t1he role of the· Plhill i PlPine med fai n the pOlitical crf,sis of 200[)" ~OOl w()u!dllbe complete wlthout at lea5l!: no~i ngilhe rol~e mlllileEntemetandi ot~e~ new media, Mtlhou:g h the 'Phm ppines has a Ilow level of computer access In Asia (at cum3rit '9stlmatesl ,only four m imon out of theoota~ population of84 mm,ion or 4.8 percent anile' totall po,pulaijon), 'iJhEl: 2.000~200ill PQlit~cal rnsis PIi10VOkM~h€! cr'satiorll'o;f ell n.u mber of po~ itical, alm,ost: un ifurmiy antH:stra.dal websites.

The PhHipprt1e JoumaJism Review (PJR) identified ov·e:r 20 such websites characterized by a high deg.ree of imerndfv~1y ~111 its lDe:aember 200m ooiblOrli. TiheS€! sported such names as Erap re~~g, Impeach E~.ap .. com, Iskandalo. corn, G:Ulenti~lla Infmma1iion rNietw.ork, aiM r1~otManila ..

. in tim€! PlMillippines, as ef,seWherer Intemet access: has provoked demands for lI~ul!atllon. TM'ijld\"ully1lhe government's response, in keepfliilg 'witlh tn€ senNm€lnts of its ~nrormedl C()l1cstlruentrs:r haiS ~n fad: aggr'!ssiiVe1y pushoolJhe! ool.!!nlry to become competimive in terms of inform:alijon arid oomrmu l'iIica~ion,

PRESS 'FR.EEDOM IN' THE PHILIflPiN ES A Study in ContradicUons

In 2000, the regulatuon of the Internet to prevent children's access to pomogra phy was debated in Con gress, Du rl rig that debate the liberal members of thal[ body ,argu'ed for self-r€g'tJ I at~on by Internet service provtders, some of whom nave instituted measures precisely to protect minors from accessing pornography sites .. LnFocom Technologies, oneotthe largest ISP's iin the country, fur exam plel now has SafeNet for children, as do a number of othe r providers.

Also on the year 2000, the Phillippine Congr'ess passed Republic Act 8972, or the Electronics Commerce Act of 2000, which protects transactions over the Internet by recognizing the authentldtv of electronic documents! particLllarly email, and at the same time penalizes the hacking of such documents with a fine of PI00!OOO and a prise n term of fro m six months to th ree yea rs. This ~aw recoQln [Ze5 the validity of@lectroniccontracts and sign8'turn:s as the functlenal equivalent of an individual's actuall Signature, and makes cvber documents adrmssible as. court evidence i n, say, a libel suirt.


The most significant ,growlih in Phillippin@tel'eGo.mmul1ilcations has been in ooIlulalr phone subscriptions-from 1,3431'62:0 in 19~,n to 6,454,359 in 2000. Thfs growoh has sparked free exoresscn and political mmmunfcatfon thrrough this media in the Philippines, primalrUy thruugh ''texting'' or short message service (SMS). fi liplnos use textl ng for ordl nary a nd routine messages; but it has proven the quickest way to organl.ze meetings and ml hes as, well as spread the word a DO ut pdlijUcal matters.

The Inquirer report-ed on Febma ry 21 2004 that aLIt of 113 Dill ron SM S rnessaqes sent around the world in 2otB,30 percentor almost 34 bill! ion ca meflrom the Phm IplOines. An estimated 100

Dt/Iing ~Power 2, mobile phones were usecllOgtllher poople !O pt'eS'S !OrtlJeOWleraf' Presid8nl Joseph Estrada,


~s FREIC:OOM [N' THE PHlUFlPINE.s A StlUd'iy tn Contradict toms

millio!1l text messages were· sent'yldiay Ilast'l/.ea!r from aoout .20 million cellular phone sl!J'bscribers:.

Wit!h up to 100 Imimon SMS messages genb~verydayJ the PhllliipPlne5 is dl!.ibbedl as the "texlJi n>g ca pital of ~heV!iOrld .. "

Tihe ,Poopf.e PiOVIIer II (or ED5A. DOS) e¥en1t in 20DlshowOO how Alipinos used mobj I'e phones in sending poUijca~ rnessaqssfcr '~h€! ouster of Pr,@std!ent Josepih ES~l'"a:dal.

AIm artidle in the· Mamh 2001 iissu@:ofthe PJR liiIoTIOO how text me-ssages proViided inroli1lil1lSl1!iO[1J during IEstrada's impeamment at: lig'hming speed. "The celiphanes on me evenl ng of ]lam.!a:ry :l.61l' (when 11 senawrs voted to su,ppress the bank records that had! lP~belntiCiiny d!amag~rng~nJform!CItiOit121gaTliiliSt Estrada) preempted 1nhe newspa pers and even some rad~o stations in b'rii ngi 119 mile news of the vote to a verry w~de audience, a~1iJhou:g h the event it~€'lf ~aJdlf[rst been rnv~red I iv€: by 'IDh@! televiS'lon statJioli1s."l

"In re~poli1se~l) the c1:IIIs for prot@& acti'ons r,eooilved vilCl th@~r oonlJi~ar phones, a hug€! number of peep/leal! over the count!)' held noise tJa.rragesandl flooded fhe streets," PJR' reported,

Cellular phone service !providers: p~ace~t1e volume of ~ !'!less.agessent ds i Iry during the four~day 'Ed sa n=vo~t at L60 mTillionl, enartide in [he i maga!ll:ine of the IPhUippJne C:ei!lte:r fur .Investf:gatDve ]OL:!rnaUsm (PCU) fi'lsported,.q

For @V@lry PQllil:ical ~ u@sttQriI Wlk@n up in eli~lih'~r Congrl€Ss or Tn the tm@dI~21/ IDe: S'MS expandts communication lines, allowinglany ceili-pMne o,wnelr to be pa!lt of ,a II'arger GOIiiIV€!rscDon.

} Ederic Pefiaflot Eder. "P,eQP]e PQW~ H Undelf1loored Issues QfN'L;:w Med:i;'l. Aeeess," I'llIimip,ine Jourm,a'Iism.v~ew. WIII.Im:e.xmI No.1 (M'arcll. 200 l}.pp. 23~:2~.

4 A:1ecks P,. P~fu<ioo. "Hypmexl," L 'Vo]urn;eV1l1 Nmnbe~ I (JaJl'ffi!ilry - MM'C~b 200])~ pi, 33.



Press Iftedom Embodiedllin Law

In the Center ~or Media freedom and RespoliIsiib~litY' I~CMIFR) report for the London-based Artidle XIX1 lUlis V:. Teodoro described the legal envimnment of the IPhi ll ppi ne press. Teodo~o points out that as the COnstiitu~ion ,embod les the fuUness of protection given to press freedom, there are no press ~aws iln the PhTllippines, Instead there are certain laws that apply to the mass media as weill as to other groups and persons. Teodoro col1unuesl"There is a~:so ;31 substantial body of jurlsprudence, part of the law of the Ilandirwhicn uphotds, limitsl modifles and otherwise iint,erpmts the constitutionalpnJvisions on freedom of the' press, free expression, the riight to' ~liIrormation (A:rtiCie III Sedjon 7) and the right to privacy (Article m Section 3).5

"In add~tion to the: Gonstitli.iltlolil, the o1lher sources of! ~aws afFedli ng the mass media in tine Pl1ili pplnes are the Revilsed Penall Code wl1!:h its provisions on national security, libel, and ,obisoonirLy; Chapter 2 or the OMI Code (whl'ich contains MO artf:des on privacy); the Ru~es of Court (fair .administration O'f jlJsll1ce and crontempt)~ and! unrepealed presi:dentia!deorees. There is also 211 "shield law"-Republic Act 53 as amended by ItA 1477-whidl1 pr,ovides protection for non-dlsdosure of sources of ~flIro:timaijon,.G

s Teodoro, Luis V. "free Bxpressionin the Philippines: A situati oner," Article XDC. s Teodoro, Ibid ..



For a long time, libel had favored the complement bY' plaCilng the burden of proof for the absence of malice on the joumal [,St. .A recent rul i I'1Ig of the Supreme Court has turned this around. Butthe hold ,of ttJ is mew" interpretartion has yet: to be tested with more cases ..

L1lIhe1y, bills fil~ed ttl counter terronsrn have iincorporated checks on the rnsdla.

These are still I being dI~sCli.J:ss@di i1I Congress.

The oonstiU.li1!ional protection has not been found to assure full prevention of laws that do in~erfere' with press practice as society requires I,egal protection of O'~her rights as: weill as other needs such as naijonall seounlty" (Seechapter on Laws on Philippine Mass Medfa, p'. 62)

Central to the concern for press, freedom protection is, me performance of the press a nd the underlvl ng va I ues that govern the cone uct of its mem bers, As the press enJoys nothing less than the protecnon of the Constitutuan, ~t: she uld provide quality service, gUided by editorial criteria that address the needs of all stakehdldersj not juS!: ~he more prominent and powerfiull members, of sooiety. The first amendment doctrine does not require this, as it protects all kinds of speech and (lIn kinds of pressfrorn centrol alnd lnterterence: except where challenged by Ilaws on libel a no pr[lVacy. For this reason, the press oomm unity is '0 bl iged to set ethics II and professional standards to govern the practice.

Eth iced and Pr~h!ssional Issues

111ereare a number of crlitical issues that couoteretnlcal as well as professlona I consideratt ons, These are other sets of criteria by which newsorqanizati ons measure their success, Among these a re the circulation levels that attest to the ac,c.eptalruoe of the service and '~he r,atings of news programs, These are the measures whidh determine the usefulness of the news media as advertlstnq vebldes, Howeve~ these commerdel issues have nothing to do wnh tne quality of the journalistic prcdw:t:; as quite often popular followi ng depend Oil sensationalist tne,atment oftnvta and enterta'itilijng stones.

Mainly a commerce

Ute their counterparts in most other couotrles, the Phmppine mass media are first of all oommerdall enterprises conrtrolled by poliU:ca I and econom Ie Interest groups. As comme rda I enterprise's, they ar€! focused on profitabil ity, or at least Itle rutting down of fillf1anciallosses."lhls obviously creates a Qonl'lict betweenme


PRESS FREIEDOM IN 1lHE i?HlIl[PP[N ES A S~L!Id¥ in Co.rr~radli[t[olils.

private ~n~8rnsts of~e m!1:ISIS med ~a and their pubnc servlee fu nct~on. Among other conssquerces, the (Jommen:::~a~~m pera~lve has d riven the mass rned la into sensanona I ilsm, c~oosn IiiIg n that will :s@111 n€WSpap@ii"S or boost fat[ngcS, and into trhe5uppress~ollll of mean i liiI.gfll.!!'l, bl!.lt less Ipapula r :soo:n1es.

Lack of competence and UB#ling for the n~ws oUlle 21st century

problems of com peteno:e pllague press IperfonmallOe and rause C!uesl:iOniiS a bout tile relevenceand the qU\;ljityofj~l.!IrnaliiSmeducatiO!1 irllJhe ~niiversffiesand coilleges, Journahsrn courses, subS!LJmed wi!Lhin mess com munication pmgra ms, ce III for rev[ewand reeva I:uatfofiil at tli'n~s point.

PJR highligtrredllJ'ne llack oh:om;perefilcei3n:cbiai ning of joumC!li'sts ln C!I lIIIum'ber of ~SSlJJles., In ~trs April-Ma)!, 2003 issue. P1R said, "The lad< of rnasseommurncenen graduates worklll'i1lj i n di,rect mass media whlo ,are tralnsd in m@diG @d !JJca'~l():nl especially an etJnics, Iraisesqu6tfo,ns: about the p~ofessional and ethical pmct1ioes of the' IPhilippine media .~'

, Hector Bry3tU .[.. Maook "J olU'ul.ism Bd'uiclliUO:I1I: Not: a Walk ruB the Park .• "Pbilw,p'.rne JotlJ:1D1l1!llism Ikll'i.ew. Vol]l!nl]c XlV Number 2 {Ap:ri~ -May 2,0(3). p, 25.



One community journalist wrote in PJR: 'lIn many newspapers and radio, statrons i n the provinces, it is not uncommon that jiu:St: ,anybodiy can pass n i mself oflf as a 'mediamanfmed~a'ViJoman'." These "'j:o:umalists" aeoond, he seld, "due to the remiptailtion of lPoW€r and theperks' accom pa nyi I1Ig the protessicn," Hie also noted that"even utility workers i 11 some radio srnlltions €\I\enrwailly become' media' persons when they are tapped to pinch hit for an absent if,sgular anclhor.""l

Even the most soccessfui news O'rganl!Z(ltions have been held back by tradirtional cotwentions of \Nhat makes news and are unable to provide backgroundi nfo:rmation all events, especi.aUy those fnvo1vlng controversial issues. As tne newslrwolve more comp'le:xity, the framing! of the news stories often 'faHs to hell p the pu bl i;c to evaluate polley questlonsthat involve them.


The persistent practice of "enveloprnenta I journa I lsm" contlnu es, There are 110 VtJholesale Ipayoffs instl1JJ~iQn1'lIimd by govemment, as i'll the ti me of the Marroses. But journalists acknowledge that the pracnee continues in a rampant way. linstitubional efforts tv ~ nvestigate cases and to impose sancbions have fizzled ourt w~th 110 satisfying results. The IPhmppine Press Institl.!te (PPI), a national association ,of I'll blishers, promoted a system of ombudsmen, but these press officers have I ltne clout in their orqa Ii1 lzatlon s, The National Press Club formed aneth lcs committee to probe chargies of payoff'S to members, but its, reco mmendetions have been Ilarr-gely ignored.

There are newspapers which have made efforts to clean up their own backyards. And there are enough examples ,of journalists who have kept tl"i@mselV€!S above reproach a nd who conduct themselves with professlona I ism and i nteglr~tv.

On a nether level, the notion of jo!umal ism as an econc mica Uy endangered profsssion is welh~sta lhl iished in press lore. Slut the, picture of the poorly paid journaUst does not always .apply. IBroadcast media personalities are' paid well aM many editors enjoy salaries, and benefits that ere comparable to other corporate enterprises.

8 Robert Jaworski L Abai'io, "Joumalism Learning: A Condnulng Process."Phirn~p'pine Jeurnallsm Review. Volume XIVNumlber 1 (April ~ May 2(M)3). p. ::m~31 .



PRESS fR£iEDOM IN THE PIlIILJPP]INES A .stll!ld~y il'l C()nbradicbl~

T~e gap bef:!ween ce!ebr~ty saJilaries a,l1Idtlle salaries ,ofwork~ng s~iffs who, 'fiun me! new,Sf100ms in print 'Of in llJroad!ca,st: d ivfdles· the com m IJn~ty ~nit:() ~aves and have-nets, Some! emltJy levels of hiringl fril newspap@iI'S ':lIr,e now be10w teaclher sa,llar~es. Arnd they do not g:et any kindis of benefits tMt come wutha job in the bureauomcy.

These inequi3 Ilities can only be sch:lressed by some kind of i ndustry-hased reviev\il oflhow publishers, run Haeir n:@'Ws:papersclr1Id p@:rlha:psthe reagan tl'IElY run m:lw~palpers,



IIn the e'amiJy peMOOI afrer 1986, a tlran6!t[ot1!~t1at hig'h~[gh,ted contradT~ry fo:rces at pl1ay ln Philippine society, the :press gn~w to becomea most: powerJi'ul force. The competition am,olflg powerful foroes wa~s not tamed by coniSens,usa nd by coherent appreolati:on of shered va~ ues and goolls.

There were few venues for medlatienand :arbitrartlon amo:n,gl opponents, The tmp!ementatblon of law relied QIfI fitawed insttn"tJ ments. Th@ polica and m flliiltalry W€ffi not 'oredib!e entereers as too many cases, shewed them ~mplltca~ed in the br,ea'king of 1iJhe' 'l'aw. Th€: ClOIJJIi1: Ipn)(J@SS was too slow1'Ind reqlJl~r,edfi~Cincial resources. llhese conditions, halve conijm.!oo up to 1lihe presentz Jeeding a cl!.!,lture of viol:enae'.

[ronica~liyl the press hasted on the conflicts d ivi'clli ng society. Newsrafter aUf Uilli1iv,~s: on oonlflidtan:d highlights Uile d~v[lSt(miS in poliNcs and title gQwmm€!rnt~:s war wNt.h ~nSiurrgernli: ill m:l secession iSli: forces .. Front: pages Slefilsaltiorrla'li~ stories of brood a!rld gom. In the ro!@ of \'watdndog/'~e press d id natacoommomt€! the needfor ooriistructiVie notice ,oli' ~h ~rngs 1iJhat a lie done right or weill.

Suoh Iilegativics'm il1l the press feeds IDe peroep.ti'on ·1Jhat those ~110 are aggrieved cannot get a fair nearing from the press. Suchl n€ga~ivism subverts a fmu:liion of the press in a democracy; wtHcl1 ls to provide a public feru m to es,tabllish the "facts," ~l) a~Jow the '~~'IG IiIge of dUif~ren~ even opposingl posuti ens.

The kilililiilgs of joumallislts make UrJ the most visWb~e ,among the !1'llttacks and trhl1ealts agalilllst the press, These various asseults are an affront to the netlonal

PRESS FREEDOM iN THE PH ILIPfU>J ES A study in CoJl'tr,oor:C~I~i1I5,

cornm IJ nlity's convli cti on that press freedom lsa necessa IiY mechanism ~or democratic development and must be protected.

In May 1994, freedom IH ouse ranked the PhUippl[lJes as ornly "partlly wee" in a sUlVey,of 186 oountries. Wi!:h one (1» a's the highest rartingt tihe Philippines a~ol1g with Thailand was r1'lnked 55tnl only a few points hiiglMr than Indonesia and IMa I'aysia which were both ranked 58th., Indonesla, as Malaysia still is now, was under an euthonta ria n reg i me at the ti me.

The low rating was explained as halVing been due tc the violence tlhat threar1tened journallists, and the kill.i ~g

of members of the presswhl Ie in the Med ia IDeatitJ,s by IMloUv,e '''rline of duty". Filiipino journalists hav·e

been qUick to point out thaI: the kililings

have not cowed them intoSlUbmission, Insl!Jrge:nGy-re'aled 11

and that they have.1 time endaqain p roven thel r ca pac ity to ex pose

Job-related Media Deaths


4 4 2




Unconfi nned

SoUrD8'; F'flifJfl'flineJorJwlism Review Se;ptemoor 1991, p, 20

~nsurigerncy t illegal g'amblirag I illegalloggtllg / human rights


IllSurgency I person 111

Graft aJildl oormp~i(f!l


Illega' gambling


Illegal gambling I or persooai


3, 3

R'ighl wing coup attempl



Source: PhilJppirJ9 J<wma/ism Review Septermer 1991 , p .. 20


PRESS FREE'DOM lIN TIH E PH]UIPPINES A SbLidy ~n Contrad ictions

wrong!dol ng ~n high places, to ch eck~he2lb~Js@ of pO\N'€r, and to do th,eir d i!Jty as tlhe "watdiGoglSl' of' government But the kiI'll i ngs and assaults do have an effect ~n tne c():mmuniitiesJ in terms of the chlll ing effect they have on thefree exercise of the jouma I ~SJtic enterprise,

[in 1991, tlhe ~Inling of 32 Fm~jno joumaUsts 51 nee 1986 set off en alarm ,among adlvocacy gll'OUPS around the world" WulJh~he ascendancy of Corazrm C.,~uino to power in 19186, a I'ibe,ral g:o,vernmernt had repea~ed the represslve measures opef'atiilllg dl!.lriing the period 'Of Martial Law. There had been no count of j:oumalists

IFill]phll0 Journalists KJl~lled it]l tille' liineof DiUlt.ys'ince 11986 (as of presstir1lle)

Date o~ De\1lth

11 ,ga!B-Ap r-24

:2 19186·A!pr·:24

3 ? 1986

4 1987"Apr"t2

5 1987-Aug·27

6 1987-Aug-27

I 1981 -Aug-27


9 1987 ·A!Jg-28

10 1 :i}88·Mar·:29

11 1988-Al1Ig-12

12 i 98:B·OCl-30

13 1989·0d·17

14 ~ !mg!-Dec-O'll

15 199{,"May-15

Name Pe~e IF .. Mabazza Wilfreda, Viooy

flmante· "Boy" de Cas,tro Di.o:n.isio PerpeilJJo Joaquin Narpis{l Bahl,ni

Rogie Zag ado

too Pa_lo

Martin Castor

Ramon Mobr&jas

Nool Miir:a.lld8!

Ru:iJern R. Mallirique

Josef Aldeguer Na~a Severino ,Ar,ooM~

Eddie Telan

Reynaldo Catindf:g, Sr.

Hi 1990.J ul'·OS Jean Ladril'1lgan
117 1991·Ap,r·H N~$in(l Paulin Toling
18 19'92·Jul·O 1 l)aJnilo V~f'9ara
~9 1 992-Se'f1·21 Rev. Greg! Hapalla
:2(1 199i,2·Dec-SCI Glorifli Manin
21 11993-J1an-111 Romeo .Andrada ~pi
2.2 1996-Fe'tJ-1.2 F,er1dimmd Reyes
23 1996·D~l(>15 /!Ilberlo Be~bon
24 , '997 -J un-03 Dani.el J. Hernendez 30

News 0 rgaln~:za.(i:on.

Manilla BuIJeHJI R,eulers

OIOfl:fl8!PO New'S DKRA



Pi lillino Nga.yon

DWL I T:acfobM Caty

Mtindat'Jao Scoofiler

Luzon Tribl.:lne I !3a,i'aatl

Vi$~illl Li~e Tottayl Iloi 10 OYIFM-Radyo B!ljffibo I Iloi~o New$c:as~er 1 Ma!nila

Nor1lhem, Sierra Madre Express I lsabela

Soulhern SU:1r f Gene-ral Santos Gity

Pangllil Bay Moo itor t Ozamflz


DXXX I isab~la B.a};flan Voke of Zambales

Prt>ss Freedom t Dipolog City DZMM

People's. JOllma.1 Tonig11lt

PRESS FRE.EDOM[N THE PH Il[pr.lN ES .A S~udy i n Contradj,[~ions

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 :32 83 34 35

IrJail:e O,f IOe,ath 1997 -oec- ~ 7

? 1996 '1998"Miar-29 - 199a"Oct -30 1999-Apr-25 2000-May·2.3 2'000- N 0\1-17 20Cl1-J ari-03 2.Dm·IFeb·24 2 001i·M ay·30 2002-Mi'lY- 1.3

Name Regalado Mabat:za Odilufl Mall1liri

Rey Bancal rin

Dam inador "Dol'll" Bent1[J~an ~~i;'IJrlk Palma

Vfi'lcent Rodriguez

Olimpio Jalapil

Rolando Ureta

Mullammad 1'iUiSOp

Candela rio· Jhu,r1~ Cayona Edg,i3!r Damalerio

IRhode SOJH-.y IEsguenra Aloarntara

,Jdh n lBe!ef'l VI1ll:~l_rJueva, Jr:

ApdliflarUo apolly" P,ob@da lBoolJa_cio Gmgorio

Noel VIUar.a:Fl't,e

Rioo Aamitrez

Ju.:m "Ji!.Jn" PaJa

Ne~son Nadum

Ruel fndritilal

:News: 0 rga n iz:articm Polariscabja netwo.rk DXCP







DXKP" 2amboang\i3! $aribe, MinaiJJl1lao Gold SffiIr

Kokui5, Celestron Cale TV


Oyaryo B~mat

Th€! 'Laguna Soore ! DZJV DXSF



DXRC Metro News



37 3,8 39 40 4.] 42 43 441

:2'00~·Apr·:28 2'003-Ma_y·17' 2iOO~..J uli'{.g !:W0I3-A.IJQ-9 2003·AIlJW20 2003-Sept-6 2!D03-Dec-2 2Dn4-Fe b-11i

IN!ulm ber O,fJ'DIU rnallrns1:s IKiilledi in tih,e ILine ()if Il)UI~ by Medii UI1

Fil!!~Q Plim

PMnl t fiarlio P~init/N lR:adio/TV TV

Sauroe: Cenler Jor MEliIia Freedom ood R:espnnsi1lilily (CiMFR)

Idned during the per~od' c!.f Ma,mafl Law as it was, dose to im pOSSi] ble to. ~nlVesbigalte cases dUh ng~he tlme, The number of killings after M'artlial Law called for some ana lysis. What was goin~' on 7'

It was p:resumed that the kilili rl'gs ~ ndicated afaUure of the new government to commit to h u ma n r~glhrts and identiff ed the military as the major culprit. [1'1! its September tssue of! ] 99], the

44 PJR e:xa mi ned tih,e cases end


PRESS FREEDOM! ] N Tin E PHILIPPINIES .A S~L1Idy in Contnld ictions

S1ta1i1isti cs, (lInd compiled the ~ lst of deaths (limong journal i sts, bveakio91 down the 32 cases as to the cause!motivejreasorlj whether ut WEllS personal orwork-related; whether the fi nger OIf bla me pointed to ~ nS!Jrgent and rebel groups, the polliceJ mUi itary; business a:r pol itical figures. PJR also included an IUpdiate on 1:I1e prosecutlon otcases ..

The CMIFR has rna i ntainedUl is data-base a nd pulled out of the list, cases, when tlhe-se werefou nd to have i nvoli\!@d! liIon-lP'ro~esslo,nall rsesons. The eM FR list aCided mope cases as these oecurred,

tlst 0,1 f'i'liip!i no Joumal lsts KilUied i n~liIe Li ne of Duty by Is land Group


t. Pete F. Mabaua

2. Wilfr, Vf'£,(jlj

~'l D[otill$io ~etpetuo Joaquin!

4. !'luben ~, Manrique

5. !'Iey!narrlo Catindig, Sr.

6. Romeo Aoorada legaspi

7'. Alberto Be:rooti1

,EI. Regal3do Matllazza

9.. Viti1oe:nl Rodrtgue:l

10. Rhode S0nny I:sg;uerrtl AIGain,iara '1. John Be'lelll Villam.Jeva

'2. Apolillario "Rolly" P'obecia

13. Brnnifficio Gregmio

14. Noel Villaranle

15. NeriSon NadliFa , 6. Al.Jel Eoor~l1al


1. R'amo:n NOOleJas

2~ Josei' AMeg uer Nava

3.. Severino Arc:aones

4, Urel8i

Nlati~m[lJ1 C<llpi~ill Reg ion ~ NCFO

L Marlin Cas<10r

2. Eddf:e'Te!aJ!

8, IDaniel J. H eTrnlJndez

4, Fran'k PaJm~.


1. Floranle "BO"f die GaWo

2.. Narciso B.alani

3, ~~Zagado

4. leoParo

5.. NGel Miranda

6. Jean lOOrligan

7. Nesioo P'aljlinToltng

8. !).;milo V;ergar:a

g. Bel,'. Greg Hapalli3!

in" Grmtla Mat1in

it Fe~dini3!nd Re~re5 ~2" OdilJon MallS!ri 13. Rey Ba.ncairin

N. Dooriitllador 'Dom Sentulan ~5. OI~plo Jalapit

~6 Muhtlimmad YUGOp

17 Candelario "Jhu n" Cayorli3!

18 Edgar Darmleno

19 'FliGO Ramirez.

:;D J'uan "Jun" Porras P.ala, Jr.


PRESS FIRIEElDG~~ IN THE PHmpPIN~5 A S'wdy in Gonlr;;ldictiDfilS

York:~bai5ed Comm~tm@ to Pcmrect Jou rnalists (CPJ) have been assalSSinatedso rn r inoormect~onwi1t!h their work! im11:fV€r:age rGiit€ of three a year. CM FR puts the count at a lower thhty six. SOme names ln the CIPJ 'list are not in the CMFR database and vice-versa because of the differ'enceSin tlhe two or,gan~zations' interpretatioll of the ,eV,EMlts sljlrrolmdiing their kill ing. This itS also the case wii1bh the Niati:Ol1!al Union of Jo:umallists in the Pl1iHplPir'les (f\iJUJP) list. In addition, CMFR did not Include some nolmes inllhe NWP I~st, ('Wih~ch puts the count at 51) because the NILJJP illdl.l!ded studenlt~writers",

The CMIFR data -base shows that more the n hallfl or 23 r of the journa I tsts kmlledi were workJi ng in radio. Only one of~he fad 10 reporters/ anWilouncers worked fora Manilla radio station; the rest wefe c"OmmUllity~based or provmce-based.

Of tlhe44 slaiin journa~islts killed in the 11~lriIe of duty since 19861 20 were worlkir'lg in M'indlan8o, 16 iln Luzon; and four in the VisayaLs; indicating how dangerous irt is to be a joums I isti n the com m unity-based press.esoeela I'ly ill Mllnda 1i1I.:l;O.

Four of those ki II~ed were from the Nationa ~ Ca p3ta.l R€g ton (rNICR). NCR is the country's capital~of Malrn~llal and its surrounding suburban dti:es. The 'low numbe:rin tM N OR. is Ex-pia ined by the fad that jou rna Usts in the capita ~enjoy nationall exposure and! ere a lso better IkllliOlNn by the natlonel a uthonnes. Two of the jcmnnalists kiUed fn the NCR diedwihile covering the b!loody roup attempts ~in1987 and 1989. Two others were reporUng onthe illl€g,al drlJJg trade when they were klled,

The I~ke!y sus:pects in the ~<iill:~ngs have boon local Ik:fngp~ns" politictians or businessmen, a nd their retained! pel icemen.

En Pagl8d ra~, witnesses rden~ified a policeman accused of \fa nous other crimes as the Il\!iiller 'of j.oumal~ist Edgar D~ rna lerlo, In Silii n lPab!lo OW, ~he masrelnm~nd was ailleged to be a Ilocal pollitiJicicm who h ~redl a loca I killler to 5~ lence jOUlm( Rhode Son !flY Alcanwlm. Both kUlings w.ef€! almost certainly 01 response to crmelsm of !ocal govemm:entofficia lis made in the media by these ]o~rna lists.

local pmsecut:(),rs haveoonressed to being fearful about p:roseouting cases.

But they an;~ aliso !aJrge~y seen to be iineffedtuaiIL As a result, it has ta ken in ~tiai1tives bry mediia ,ofgani~altio:lls based in Melil1! r~a to prod the D€!pclil1Jm@nt of Int€ltliorand


PRESS IFlR:EEIDOM ]N TlHIlc PtH]UPP']INES Po SDudly inl CofltradldJims

Loca~ GO¥enlment (DUG), which has leg"ll authority ever the pollee, for the il'llvestig,atcons 00 continue.

The kfl!l~ngs oonsI:ittJiItre a ,SCZIl1Idiflllous assault t:hGit m~n1ts; WJth I'nypocliisy ~hmpphllesf claim to a free press. But iit doesn't stop there.

'[MifR adds to tn@ dassJflrnNo:n (l.f attaciks QfII the press. used by the N~ Ymk~ based medial ,o~gafil iilation OP].

A. Phtysi:c:a'l; aSia 1111'1:

Woumded or as&aLllllt:edl•

Television cameta:man tJeate.n

Edmund Andes. Lasslla.1 atelEviis;lolil ,c;ameramalilof the A!BS~CB!N ~ews Channel (AN:C), was beat€n on November9, :J![){l] by ibadyguatTd'5andi supporters m.CI :loca:1 ~alndo:wner in La cas,t:el:~anal Negros Ocddentall wthille coveting the taltloover by 2;00 'l'alrmer-beneflda ries of a porltiionof the salid ~andbwnerrs· property.

Acoorohilg to press reports, tasela W(lIS talking footag:€! of fann€t~oon€fiIdaries hom T~sk !Force IMa'palad (TFM) who wereenteri ng dlfirve-hectare portion of fa rmland Haci€fncJia V~1ez-Ma la:gal wlii.@r11 he wa,s M in t~e back, lrunning Glround, he Salw"iS!1 pack of bamboo andlsugslrcane-wiel'ding men reacry~o,assal!..!llt ~im,"

lDespite hils pleas tllat he was a media person1an.d even shQ\l!iingl h~s press liD, tile men, who were composed ·of Cuenca,'s bodiy9U!ardI5 and pro-O.tencslfarmers, took tums hItting IilIm, a,coorningb" a !Dress release ~rom TfMl ..

His: vtdeocameira was also fo:rdi'bly taken from him bu.t, WilS returned late in the dcy;~he Inquirer reported .. TFM satd"b/II·o po!ioom~rn refl,l)o:ndled but we,re ~ellpless agalirilst the mob," The inoident t1000k a !DO~ice mobile force groUIP, sent by Pir'>iJ P Provinoiall Chi:er Sr. Supt. Vile Po:n~eras\r to retrieve ANes eql!Ji prnent," the grolJl[p said.

A'lJmro i ngro, the TfM [pI"eSS ml.rulisill, tasa lar who, has, been w~th ANC since i1l995, "sustalnsd bruises and scraKhesolii hts arms and legsandl mntljSilons ~Iil the: head due, to' successive ~blows from bE\lmoooandi sJU@swcane: stidks, al~da swoUen rig ht handdlJJe to "c' 'QlJJt)lirom (,(I) shCirp-edlged SI/1l0,rd."

PRESS !FREEDOM lIN TIHE PHmPiP[NES .A. :S~LJdy i n C{)rI~~dicti'ons

The N'UJ'P condem ned the attack em ~he ANC csmera man and said tt wiC!s"Cm asseu It i nst the freedom of the press,"

lsabefa broadcasters hous@' bombed

A tcld[o CCIITlmernmror insantiagoO~ Isa~ rNatiherfil PlhI!lpprl1€S, Sl.J~ a 'grenade aI.t9:Ck on his house !by four unid@ntBftoo men 001 Fetm.!.ary l:4ir,2:GQ4 around 7: 50 p.m.

En an interviiew with the eM FR,. DW'SI nost-anchormen IModesto ~'Od~e" Gu1iijerrez said he and h us fa m uly were watdhin91 television when the inci'dent occurred.

Gu~errez told CiMIRR thiGlt he eeuld not pi npoint any reason forthe attadk".

·'Pa.Jag8y wpuij'l;ika 8t7g dahila,n nito 0 thi nk. PQJ'rrtrcs fs b@h~nd this T~cid1ent)/' Gutierrez said. "Baka may nadaafJan atooy pfJliti'ko, pero hindi ka a/8m kung sino (IMlaybe, I crit:idz:eclsome politiCI!an but I. do not I!::now who )/' he a;d~ed.

Guitierrez ~oslttsa daHy oo:mm@Jntalty pmgralmf "P!iJ~SO Ngayo:n" (Pulse Now), from 7:00 to 8; 00 arn,

GuIDlerrezt oolllea,g!JJe a nd n€~ghbor Jost€! uma shared her Ophil ton with OMAR, bhat ~he attackWdiS due to hiis comme ntart!;s, but decliro;d to identify the persons who might halVe been inlVdved un ~he alltack.

Th e grenade blast destJroyed Gutierrez' v·eh rdler a jeep! and dama.ged the fa,~ade of his house. He: said some ofthe wH'liinesS€s saw men whom they described iei 5 "mestizo" or faii ~ dr,c!lingl his hou se before the ii ncjident happened.

Gutierrez said that some days Ibeff:orellhe (llttadk, hie had r@ooivoo severall text messages a nd phone calls tem ng him to stop m,aking negl2lUve cornmentarles, or \'something bad "wou~dllhapp@in to him. He did not take the m.essa.ges seri:o:us:ily at fii rst because he considered threats as ~!2IlrI: of h is job. He added that e,ven DVVSI stati o:n rna I1ICi;ger Art D'CIg,1U ro had lI"eceiiv,edi threats.

In J UJ ne 200 I, two unidentifled men flired at the! radio statlenat a row nd 5:00 13.m '/ before the station had g;j,gned on, GUi~jerrez was a I so at '~he statton at that time, but saidl he W(!IS not sure if hewas the talrget of that attack.

PRESS IFREEDOM liN TIH E PH]U PP]NE5 A Study ~n C.Qllbr~:di'tions

B. IliCfd l1Iappiill1,gl djsa~pealtance

IK~dnlapped or detained by non~governmel1ltfor,ce5fotat leasltrotS hours; d:i,sappeared .

R:ebel's abdtfCt reporter

!Reporter Carlo Lo'ren2o and! Co rneraman G~ I bert Oro i!a~es of GM!A 1tele:vision statiion on September 2B,1 2002 traveUedi to [nd!aJn2!or Jolo Island to lIiIEeMe\N three Indonesia n hostages beli ng held by .Amla Abubaka r,C! leader of the rebe I grou ~ Mo:ra Natllonall Uber,aUolil IFwont (M N IF)..

Trney we rIB illilrer,oopitOO by .A!bubakar and his men wiho lied! them on foot ~o their 'C(!lm,p. Th:ery were held at gu IIiIPQ~IiI'1l: and were m~bbed by the rebels,

Accora~ rng to PNP memorandum obtained by P:1R, negotialtlons sup,;portedl by r€.!SCue operations proved suc:cessf[rull. iLoremo and Olldla'les were released October 3~o vii e'lclers not far from where they were kidna ppoo endtu m€diov€r to govelfUl ment offida~s.

BrCJadcasmr k!dnap~ released

A com rnentetor-brcadeaster for a South@rn Pli'itillippine radio station was abductedi, beam n a nd then released after three dlays. INoe11 Es~~1 more commonly kinOlNnas Ndii Eoolf~el of Radio [)XBC otthe Ra(]llo r'~HflIdanao NeMork (~MN)t was found Olll Septemoor 3, 2001 in Buruafll City in Southem M indanao bli I n~lded and nogtlledi.. File had been badly beaten alnd was suf'feruliIg from dehydratro:n.

Ebarle was ab::lu:ctM on August 3 ill wh ile~raveling to ,a nee1rby dtty.. He Cal Imed the r~dio .stati!o:narol,llndi 7:40a.m. from a bus that WelS loading passenqers, A. l(jolleegiue, ,Plmeilloza.da, recalled! that he Mard CTt6 of "Agayl Agay!" (Ouch ~ Ouch~) will Ie spealk:ing to Eool~l:@ !b@ro:!"e beifllg ClJJt off. Attempts to contract Ebarle via his celli phone later that day fu~'led. He was reported miss!i I'Igl since S@pt::ember 1.

ILozada cia ims that he later reoehl8da re.xt message on hils ceUph one wh! rcl1, ma:dI, \\Noli iL5 ~1iI OIJJ r hands" in the locelll dia lect, while the radio g,tafuion lrec:e~'ed a phone cs n SEIyi ng, "No'i Ii ~s with us." 1ih:e station rlotirl1i@di the pol~Ge. !Pallice a lso


PRESS FREIEOO M IN TIH c P'HILIPiPU,I'ES A StilJdy ill Contradictions

dlaimed that 'I:hgy received 131 leiter from the group that allegedly kidnclpped Ebdil1e saying it wanted to pu nisin !h,i m tor h ts exposes.

Ebarle's exposes on iIIegallog9in9, drug~traffidkiing, the' illegal moonlighting of pelkemen as bodyg ua rds of local businessmen, and other crlm ina! adiV'it~es couldll1ave angered any of the said 'gj rcups, Ebil rle ,dalimed he had been r:ecefMing death threats prior to' hiisabducti:on.

Ace,olfdrl1g to newspaper reports, the most recellt death thr'eat Nolii Ebarle receved came alfter he did an expose 011 a dlrug syndicate based in BUltua,1'1 City called the "Bamboo Ga Irng~. Elbarle hinted that his exposes on iUega I logging, dru:g traffici<ing and policemen who illlegaUy moonlight as body,g uerds of businessmen were the motives ibelh,ind his abduction,

Ebatle has refused to pu bi iely name those who a bdudtecl hii m but coOllifirmed that he may be able to idientify his captors.

Jaumalist aixitid8d

Joumalist Arlyn dela Cruz. disappeiilred in Zamboanga City on January 19, 2002. Dela Cruz" ,a contrl butor to the Manna broadlsheet: lnqutref-emd a reporter for 1V station Net 2.S was Iknown for her scoops on the bendlt ga ng Abu Sayyaf. Sihe, had been trying to ili1teltview its I~eacfers and hostages when she, disappeared,

It was onlly 'Oil Aprill 8 that her krdnapping was confirmed. The Inquirer carried a r.etter wrftten by dela Cruz: in which she said she had been Iddnapped by some MINLF rebel- rntegrees.

She was. released onA:pril 27,after 98 days of being held in Joiol Su.11U isla M.

Co Death threats,

Menacecl' wiith p!hyskall harm or some other type ,of ret~ibution.

Correspondents ttweatef!fXi

l1he Inq.uirers Palflgasinan correspondent Yolanda Sote!o-Fuertes received death threats last December wh kh she seld could halve been the result of her reports onjuetel'7goperations in Pa ngasil1l!3 n, Jueteng is a popu rar iIIegalll1um bars ,game in the Philippines.


IPRESS FREeDOM IN THE PHlII.lPPINE5 A Study in Con~raDictiorl5

On Chrustmas DaYr Flilertes, had received a mysterious phone call. The caller told herthat she W'OIU ld not live u ntH New Ye.alr for supposed Iy destroy~n1g the llves of marny people. TWG days later {December 27')1' a funeral wreath was, delivered to her house. Written on the wreaths ribbon was "Condolence: Firom Your Friends." This happened a day aliter her latest story on juetengcame out in the Inquirer.

Another lnquirercorrespondent, Temette Orejas, received death threats, after she, submitted a news stony about Augusto SarlChez, the chief 0'1' staff of Pampa nga Vice GbV€lnrnOr M r:g uel Arroyo, son of President G lorta Macapagcll-Arroyn.. orejas covers Gentralluuzolil for the Inqutmr.

Omj.% cllaimed that she started receiving threats am Ma rch 15, 2003 1ilhrough phone call1ls, end SMS messages when she subm r,tted March 13 a news story regan:Hllg the fillingl of charges of acts of la!SdMousness ,agaiinst Sanchez •.

According to Orejas, the story had not. yet even seen print. She also added that: she did! not name Sanchez:, or the cilleged victim iin the story. On Marrdh 15, orejas r·@.Geh.redi a phone, call II from a person who &dentfrfied h ~mself as eli certain Don Av:i'ado, w~:mlling her not to wriit-e em the case .. As,rde from ,lab:1r carlls from Aviadlo, which she did not a I1ISV11',@Ir, 0 I'e]GI>s a 1:00 receIved numerous SMS messages from an unl<JilOWI1l person wil,ich threatened her for dicing the story and tried to bribe her to withd raw it.

Orejas, sa[d she wars puzzled because Aviado cllreadly knew that she was, "wolking on the story a nd reacted to a story that has yet to, see print," Orejals, however, safd tlhat she suspected that the caller was just usinq Avrado's name .. Aroo:tding to heir research, .Aviado is 60 'l"ea rs old, but sJle said the caller da lm ing to be A:viado sounded like a 40~¥ea r-eld man.

On IMa vw 19 Orejas said she asked her bu reau chief "to p'ull the story from the deskend exp'lained that she wou.ld not stake her Ilife on a story that; at that point, did not iinvolive national i!llterest.

Radio statton bombed

Iii R!d~o station in Btl:eolod Oty, Negll'OS Ocddent:a~ rill SQuthern Ph mp\pines was


PR~SS FREE:DOM' IN THE PHIIIJPPIrNlES A. :study i n CoIiI~radlud:ions

bombed in the early morning of Juns 6r 2001. Two people W€ire: inmuredl. The bomb e:x:~loded i!il the oompound housing th;e smtiion of DYHB Radyo .Agong of RMIN, leaving a three-meter hol!e iin enoutslde wa 1'1.

The blast nea r~ upmoteda 1tiree near the station Will I ls where the born b had been planted, The explesionslso shattered the '9 rass w~J1Ido'L'¥S ,of an ATM booth of the Bank. ef'the Phrllipp~l1le blan:ds (IBPI) and an apEutment ~:l'ui'ldiirlgl both near the sta1iTcm compound.

The polke exp'los~ves expert ai5signed to llie case described the bomb as tn1!imitalry issllle.~and said that the Iingredients usedto m~'illt€ the born b a r€ not:: availab1e commerdally, l~eEdngt al,llthor~t[esto suspect the ~li1IVOlvemelilt of the polioe ormmtary.

1Looa1~ journalists. condemnedthe allack~ which they have linked to ~he staNOrD'S CO!ntlinued repoiltingt on the police crackdOVll'n on drugs a nd loco I' crime syndicates involving rogue pdl i:c~men. On theother Mndil statiOIil manager Vf,c Mercado said that the stetlon's persistent coverage of the mlilitary IPursuit of the Dos Pa I mas kfdnappers oould be ths motlve beh ~liId the bom b:llfIg.. RM N rad lOr staltioras hcl\l@ been inrervuewing leaders .of the bandlflt group Ab!.!l Saivyafl paritkull.arl'y ~ spokesperson .Abu Sabarya, in view of the recent kidnappingiS ifll the region.

Eo. Closures

Mayor doses radio stations

Maym Cesar !Dy ordered the closu re of radio stations DZNC Bomha lRadyi;)~ Q!II.l(!,yanand lits sister Sti!lti',o:nl• Dwrr~IFMI in the pro~i nee of ES(!IOOMII alii Fe!JH!C!lry 17~ 20041io:r non-renewal ants busmess permits. On March 24, the stations we,re opened butwe:re agalinfooo@dto go off airaft€r five hours whelil city rg;oliJ€l'mment penionne·1 rut Cjrff lts power supp!ly. 'Bomba lRadyo offid,!IIs said tnst the city g:owmment vialal::ed Sedran 36 (c) of th.e Omnilbus Eilediioril Code, which says that rules that no bUSli'nessfra !i1dhises or permits sl1.oul(l be revoked'with~n the e~eotiolll perf:odi. February 10 was the olifbdall start o,f'I!h@campaIgn for elecnen to t'ICllllional posts .•

TheO:tmmisgion on Elections Ccomeloc) on Mard123 issued a status rCi,uO order wh~ch lied to the resurnptien of Oiperatio:ns of the sta~iof'lS to operate "untill fu rther orders from the oomm fission .IJ The :S'I1ltion resumed Its operatrons 01111 March 30.

PRESS !FREEOOM IN THE PHU.IPIP[NIES A Studiy in ,Contradictions

However;. a day before the eleenons (May 9)~ Gomeloc set ,aside its earlier directive, salying that the closure wafS not elecnen -releted artd thfilt ft:: waLS for 'lJhe ~a~ll!Jre elf the stetlonto s~'bmit dOQUm,@ll1ts req]uired jor the lssuanee ,of p(1l!rmits. Tile Commissioril safa the prohibition on cl~osure durrmlg elections did notalPply,

At midlliglhtofMaylO, Jefferson Soriano of~he PNII1 Cornellec R/,egltonal Director Hiilario Sag un Qlnd Senior Superi!1telldent Nelson IMario enferoed the order to dose the :statiol1l.

Cl1!army Sabigalil, IDZNC station manag,er sai:d the stamion's fuse bo,x WO'S paClilodked and its cable destroyed by someone descri bed a S ill n a U]@ of the maycrf who aa:omlPa nied the team to enforcoo the order;

This was not the' first time that IDZINC was closed" Two yea rs ag:o, on Febli~alry 12,2002, it wasalso dosed dOWl1, its effices and fuse boxes padlocked; and its !power lines cut to ensure that it would not:: be alble to broadcast. The reason then was the station's "lack of business permit." It resumed broadcasting IMary 11, :2002 after a Court ,of Appeals resokmcn om May 7.

Mayor targets' radio station

Bomba .Radyo DXBR in ButJuarn Qty inSo~them PhiiHpp~nes was ordered dosed on IFeDl'IlJa ry 200.2 !by Mayor teorsdes theresa \' Daisy" Pl1az:a fuo lack of a b usl ness, perm iii: to operate. The City-zoning administrator had ealrlie r refused' to, gra.nt the station clearance, a prerequlsltelnthe issuance' of their permits to operate,

The station belie'il~s that it wa,g; targeted because of its criticzlll reporting and comments.

Ma~or Plalza den led the accusattors, 'stat~n.g th at vio lanons of several dity ordi nenoss hsdforced the lssua nee orthe dosere orders. The ciil:y coonei I supported Mayor Plaza's recommendation to diose Bombo IRadyo.,

Re!lations behNeen IBombo Radyo-BlJtual1fl and Mayor Plaza had been straill1ed siilillce the rad lo station's commentators ,criticized the dtis expenditure of P50 0/0 00 for her ifil(luguration !last June 20tH.

F~ IHarassment

AclJess denied or Ilimit,ed; marewlials oonfiscclted or damaged; ,entry Of exit denied; family members, ettacked or thn:::atened; dismissed ordemoted (when it is ,dealrily the result of pc mea I or outsid!e pressure); freedom of movement


Annedme-n raid mrJlo.statkm

AImed me;nsliDl'imool~he Radiyo Nat:in (RNJOur Radio) statlon in LllI,Ixm t-OWllilr Davao o,Mi.ental. last Nmtemb~~ 23, 2003 end beat u P (II staffer alter he cilecUnecl to, reveal the whemallLlOuts of h [eS boss and a n anchor.

The Inquirer on Novem ber 2.6 I'€IJ]ortOO 1TIhali:aammingl to J un castro, ~he suspects wer,e a II armed with IM- m6 rifles and wealringl ski masts.

Castro [(lId tl1e po'l nce: that GiS soon as~ey amved:, the' suspects aimed' their g uns Cit him whiTile aiSk:~l1ig rot Rom,eo ~t>ef Jr., 1!tJ,e' owner of the statiOIli aFi:O ·ilInch.o:r IMalrh) Um IRoman. castro ad'oeCi, thetthe men took tlll ~UlS 'beating him U!5~ ng the butts QHheir fiiflear;ms when he fle~u5ed to t~1I them where Boteancll Roman were. The ~.m:ld,ent h.appened around 9:45. p.m,

Bote, who ~iS aloo the proviru~iial cha~ ~ of Ka:lJ)isanan Iilg mg,a BrOOka15~e;r riJ.g IPUip-inas (KBPI Assodiatto:n of IBroadcatSters 'of~he Finnli ~pine~s.J, told CMIFR that tihe attack hadl sometl1ling to do with po~ illiics ..

"It is politica'ily motivatedl,. Obv[ouslYI thereere politloiafil>s who ~r€: irked by OUI" hard-lhittilil9 oommeli1l:s./' Bo~e said, but dedlined to name tJhe~ pOili'l:icii~l'rls lool'limd ·liteal!ad~.

Bom C1id!d'ed~hCit tlhe iili1cid!ell1t might also be co!1lnededwith lttIe:fact ~hi3'1:: he was I~ramllfng to runas a councuor in the 2©04 elleooons.

OMfR WClIS not Cib~le to readh IRomanmr 'comment at tile time but the liUJuirer teportecll that he Mol rooe&ved tlnee:ts ,EI ~ew d!ays oofore tlhe a'tt:l.<:k .

. Almff1me-n destnJy radio ,eql1{pment

At least 1Dhree ·a mmeCiI men broke into a local radio :statiof1l in Surigao del SI1J Ii Southern Phil~pp~fIIes. and destroyedl alII its eq~ipmepjt before daiwn ,of March H, 2003.

Wearing ski msiSks and armed wnh prismls end alii M~l5 rme.the men arrived at: lie stmioollDmMl ROOyo Natin urno.'oselvoo. "They tied upt!lrnree :Sta!:!lOliill ernpl~f inclu:d1 rng ellii!1 andilo:nman and reperter; .AfIlerwCll1dis, th.ey destroyed the startimts ~l1Jipmer'l[ an.d spllaye<! Ihydrochl~o:ncachjl'on it..


PRESS FR.EEOOM liN lH11: PHIUPW[NII:S A S~!jdy in Omtrad1lctions

The Ph iUppine Starquoted Sutigao del Sur RadiQ and PIf€SS dub president IManny tumano as 5ayi'ng that the station might have incurred the lire of certetn govem rnent OffiCbGIIs because of itsarliticoll pmgra ms,

Unidentirtedma:nflre:s atradio station

An IJJ n~de!iltified men shot at title 9 ua rdhouse I\eadlingto a raid lo statlon in Angeles Citvl Pampan,gal I n the even I ng; (If Aug;!iJs.t ]21 200.2.

IMocIes,w \~Odyli Fabiani a c:ommel'ltMolr for GV-FM redio station, seld a wilmess saw a pidkup tlrudk drive up to the radie station's guardhousel as theshoowtj. who was onfcot, I'h',ed (lIt the structu re, The shooter then boa mea the truck a rid fled Ii nit. 111 e witness was a 1teChn lcia n wl1;o, slept iilll tM rao ro,staUon.

fabian, who is alIso the president of the Society of Pam ~,ngl'! COlumnistsl has ask€dI Angeles City Mlay,cw carmelo Lazaltin and Chief of Police Sr. Supt. GU P·ada to il1'oJ1estligalte wheth,er lPhe Sh,ootllllg was 11111 connecnon with the commentaries being aired over the station.

Pro~£st-rada ~()testors target media

nne rnedla were the ta rgets of~he su p porters of deposed IP resident Joseph Estrada last A!pril 2St 2001 when Eswda was arrested on cl1alrges of Iplurlldeif end colTiLlptJionand agalin on May' 1 during hits supporters' fa m!ed power gra1b attem pt.

Pro~ESitrada pmt:estm:s, gartheredloutside h~s San Juan residence, accused the medl a of biased reporttJ ng and proceeded to assault several members off va rio lJS medl a organizatfons at the site, Amold (1av~o of GMIA 71 who wasst E.strcdc's residence for an ~ nterview was CIW rsed, hitl and drenched witn water. il'iJe pr,otestors also th rew waloor at Ed Ungao of AJBS"CBN.

1"eleV!iSion news, ptog ra ms end newspape rs reportedthat even th€ veh nales of diN'erent stanonswere attacked. The vans of .ABS~CBN and PTV-4 teh;visr:o:n crews were pellted wiith rocks as it made its way to San Jua n.

Duringl1lhefa ilea pOlAl'er grab attemptotn May 1i bvo pkku p trucks off ABS-{:SrN were set on~i re w~ i I~e the w~liIdows af a 1'1 .ABC 5lV p~okiLJP were smashed aifter

PRESS FREEDOM IN THE IPHlILJPP1ME5 A :Study in CQ:[lt!·~ictiQll.!5

pro- Est ra d Cli

su IP po rte rs,

rstreatl ng from M staca lila rig! wer,e driivenout of the areal by l1iot police. Pirotestors aliso threw rods at repo rters a s they reported wh Ue on the SGe ne, Inquirer photog rap he r Jess YIU§OIfl and Jiggy Mlaltil~cad of GM!A 7 V!.tere wounded afte r bei ng hit in the head wi1i:h rooks thrown by Estrad,a supporters.

Go Censo:rs:'hip and ~onfiscatlolll

Officia'lly :supf;I:ressed or banned f ad! ibioJ1is conflscated.

Pollre C()l1fisrare publications

In h us eaMly ,days of presidency, Esmrada ordered the PNIP to 00 ndu:ct and p!.!IbHdy bum copies af talbl()idS~hatoon~ained sexua Ily s~gges~ive ma~einialls., One otthe publlrcGitlonstarg@,t@d for confiscation was 111It:(Heat)",

In the process of oonfilScating copies of Init; th,e IPotliicea!so a:miliisLalt-ed copes of ilieta,IbIQ1dls sr,ster publlfrall10n tsyu (lssue)1 which featurecioritical commentaries by noted media persons IiUes who were at thalli: time doing irllVestiga1bive pieces.

til, Ubel

Ubelr a cJ~m inal offense lin the Phili!ppines ,is prcvtded for ~ n Artides 353 to 362 of the ReviLsed P€na II Code. The penallttes. ra !lags from is! pnson term of one day to 30 Clays to six years, in addition to fines,

Unl ike Amerf:can ju rlsprudence, IPhiHppine Ilaws presume meillke ~n any dernmato:ry speech. Recent ru I ~ng of the SlJJlpreme COUI rt has tlJI moo thils a round.

The PJR published a speciial report on IHbe11 in its March ]9'93 issue, plrrmarUy based an a [libel roundtable discusston organized tly OMFiR, in the sam,eye'ar; At that time, the wid1@ily-c~r,oulatoo Mlanila new,spape~ the !nblufrer; had! 150 I~bel cases in court filed by gO"'!J"emment offilCials and oilier pu blk: figUlIi'eS whcfe~t tlh@y had been defam,ed [by reports cr eelum IiIS. In the rouli1dtable discuss:ionl Inquirer


publish@rs sharedl sampl€lS of tihe Idl1ld ,oT whiting that had dragged them to court. Most of ij1ejoi,llmal~sts r,l:res6Int feilt t~talt the olfen!Si~e~e:rms were needless; and that one ,couldl meke tihe~ same IPO~nl;s w~tho'Ut resomngl to' sueh excess" 1'l1ey' also tl'IOl.lglh1t thatt~e lack of ,etiit:Olria II discipline cheepenedthe press and reduced irl kl ~he r,e,vel of 1taib!or>dscand,1II sheets.

.€strada tries P101-M libel s.uit vs' Times

Former President Estrada rued a PiO Lm m~on libell esse aga ~l1Ist the Gokcmgwei,O'W:oodi Manrlla[ 77meso!ll Maro'h 9, 1999. 'The libe II S utt cemeatter the IMan Ua Times pu b!1 ished a stlOfY about a controversial 'gov,er n m ent contract awa rded to the Arfje:ntrl1i'F~ firm Endl!lstrras Meta[III!Ulrgica[s Peseermona Sm:::iedad Anonima[ OM PSA), tM S!ig ning cfw'hfch[ the tl1,en P~eside!1i1i: wirtn essed.Th e story labeled him the "unwitlJingl nlool1fi' (godfath@r) of the deal. ("iPalace in IP 1.7.,B contract rigging PresitJe.nt W8$ unwitting "ninong'" (SUI bheadl ~fIl italks),

Feibruary 16, ] 999) Estrada ,Iat:eir ,dlf1o'pped the suit am·1ihe Gaioongw"@iis. pu!DlidyapolOgizedtwJce fo~ the \lali'l_xfety" he suffered, A crony of the then PIN=:sident eventua Illy bought t:ihe newspaperfaorn th€ Go!rongwe1is that same ''!I@ar.

Repotter5 arrested for libel

Two cag!21y,an de Or:o n@W$IiJ1;E!n were GI[rresteda!lld ]~lillecl for a few hou rs on May 7~ 2{)03 tor II~bel weeks after their series of stoliiies that the Tarl~ IJJb orty mayor dlaimed rna I ig ~ed her rep'Utat~o:n".

Hetbte Gome~l exeoutrlVe edliwr otthe Gold Star Dar~ and 'Joey Nacella ban, a fermerphoto journallst ofr Gold 9tar(now with, were arrested based en a n arrest war,ra lilt issued by Judge iResllIrreoo1orrll nUllIgof Tang ub CRy ~ioli1a I[ l"rual GOUlril:. Br-a nch L6.. Another joumalistr MariFe 'Damna was a 1M induoiedl in the aha rg@.. IDamna is based iin Ozam~z City ..

Gomez~nd I~acalaban were released on the same day aft€:rIfiII~I1I.g 1IP:Il(l'/OOO bail bond each ..

PRIESS FREEDOM[N THiE I?HILlfP]IMES A S~udiy i n ,ContFOidiidtions

Mi!wor lennifer T~ nsccused the jou ma lists of bra nding her a "traitor" and "ju nketeer" ina ]u liy S, 2:002 S~OIiY ba nnered by ~he Gold StarDai!y.

,Gold Star Dally pub~is!he~ EmestQ Chu said the a:mb-o'versiial story never started fuat TEm was a rnem ber ofr the delegeltiion to G;emilcHilY' cmd neither dId iit stillt:e that the mayor Iila;d UISed her positiclIiI to availll of a free~rrpa broad,

t Ad'vertis~ng boycott

WitMrawal of adl:vertiis.emenG on a news outlerdue to g:o¥e.rnment pressure.

ftJqiJ!:t-er boyr:ott

In 1999'1 IEs1bradla expressed his anger over an Inquirersmry plJ.!lbHBhed 'on ] llIn~ 1[5 that mpomoo lit [5 son Jud€': leftsome PoO, 000 ~ iil I!Jtnpalld bUis an a V~sit to Gagaya!ll de Oro arty. Estwaclla aliso found! it malidoLis of the Jnquirer~o publiish a photoglraph showing h ~m wiith Ferdimmd Mel rcos .] r., du r~filg a visilt to naws Nort:e, These and other i !fIcf.dents were apparentlly eno'l.I9'h to lay ilie 101,11 ndations for the Mvetltis~ng ooyoa,tt th~t began on July :10. It was not only movie prodecers but aJ~ the distriburlrors ofr fQre~gn films in fue cou nl:ry tln1Jtwifud rew advertising from the fl1q:llJmr;

,3" C'orpo:rate takeover

Btmdifl crony buys paper

Former Pif€sfi1318nt Estrada d miPped~he Pim. -M Hbel sultagalinst the TImes after the Gokong\!\fels publid'y a polog lzed twice for the "a nXliety" he suffer-ed. A semies of events led to the "asset sale1f ():f~n@ paper. Reali @start€! developer lReglih is Romero II supposedly bought the paper for P20-miilllion. Howevell q uestlons on who the rffi'I~ bUY€l:r!s was!W€fe arose when reports. that Miark JImenez, a close ~necsid]entra! mend had a hand in the blJly-oll!t.

, -

On Jluty 23, 1999, the l1mes PU,t~llisi'noo its last Hss,ue under the, Goblmngwei ownership.

The !1!~pa per began plI!bUcatron under a ~ew manaqement on OctotJe~ 2.5.

ILater;. ~t was known ~hat the pu rchase of 60 percent ot'the pa per was led! by two g!WUl ps:: Onl€l by Me reel Crespo, Jiim,@nezf ron €lInd the other by bl1llflllker Eric Telglle and Palb!lo, de Bodal,


PRESS FREEDOM IN fH c PI9IIUPP]NES A. Study i n CorntradrCll0ils

Antf-mrrorism bIlls tiJretJten lreedmn of expression

Aniij-tenor~srn bUlls. \lV€te submittOO to the Philippine Senate and Hlollise of Represent:litiIvesiij .2002 .. Among these lNere: 1) 5B 2263 Anti~"errotism Act of 2.CUn; :2) 58 198JO Anti-"'f@:rrorism Aut of 2002;1:1 nd 3) SB 1458 Anti-Ierrorisrn Ad of 200][. Dirrerenlt organizd,tiol15, including CMfR. raiised concern that the biliis ~wi~1 unduly restrict freedom of expression," AU three define "terrorism" ill a broad and ofltenv.ague rna nn@f. ""As.a result, they are open to abuse, pa rticulla rfiy glwen that the definitions encompass not only actual atts of terrorism but a!lso threats of actilon.. The!',€! iSI in palrtrculal~ a danger that the Ilaw could be used to stifle criiti:dism cQl1Ilingfirom u npopulCi r or 'troublesome' politicall 9 roups," said a statement by eM FR ~ nd Ii nternationel ovga niizaUons ~orlJm A,sia and Artrde XIX.

Ali10ther blU, !House BUI 4980, is a particular concern as it pr,ohitJ'its the emplovees,afthe Ahtji",Money ulIUnderfrtg Gouncilfmm commlJf'lTcolting to the medial t~ata report has been made.

I1he gmups ca ned on tihe Cong r€:SS 'Ito review these bU Is very carefu lIy in orderto e nsure that a[!yanti-telTQ~~5m act that IS adopted is in accorda nice with int:ernat~ona II a nd consntutlorel stenderds of respectfor freedom Of ex:pressiolr! ."'



The Freedom Fundi roll" IFilipinolJoumali_, line

The Edgar Damaletio case in Pagadian hlgl1lJghted the need for 131 fundi aimed at hel'ping victims of Viiolence and the families they leave behind .. DamaleriO's, son was only a five-month olld baby when the journalist was klilled. Whi Ie there was a good chence to prosecute the suspect ~1i1 this case, es he' was immediately

identified by witnesses, the leglai process costs !money, and Gem mal IDamalerio's Widow, dtd not have the means to take the first steps in filing a case 11"'1 (au rt,

The Fre@dom Fund for Fi'liplno Journalists, Inc. (RFFJ) which was launched on January 7, 2003 ~s an aJttempt to seek support for cases like this as wen as to promote pubhc advocacy forthe protection otjoernalists,

The Dam1aleri 0 ki !lingl ooul d i1aV€! bee n a 'andmarl< case because the police hadwitnssses who pointed! to the killer SOOUI alter the murder The 'fai lure' of th IE' police to i nvestig ate and prosecute seemed too pOinted to i:g'l"Iore" Dam-alerio's I<ililing became a focal point fur advocate groups as thev exerted pressure on the police for acnon to protectjnurnalists ,in general; Unfortunately, despite dialogue withl police officials in pagadian at NaltionallPNP' headquarters in M1anilo, tile suspect remains at. large.

But FFFJ's commnm ent has sigll alec! a new level of advocacy that (OU Id turn a ne¥l page, il1 press freedom IProtectlon. Using CMFR's database OUi lkillings, the group has en~arged the ~nru m fur di:scussion of ttle problem and hopes to promote awareness about the problem wfthln the media community as well' as tine geliler,al public.

Among the objectives of the fund are to raise fundis and receive donations for the protection of journalists under threat; to prcvlde lmmed late assistance to tne farnl I res of journalists kJlled ,in the of duty~ to aetas a suppo:rt grm.Ipfor jou malHsts: in distress, by~ among others, forming qulck-responseteams to ~nvestigate aJnd report attacks againsl:journa,list5;



PRESS fREEOOM[N 'TlHE PH [Uppm~ A StlJdy lin Comral!jiriC~10IiI5

af'lC 00 fo~low up the prosecution of cases invoMng attacks a91a~ nst jou rna I ism.

fff J's advocacy pro motes responsible jo urnehsm as a way of protecti ng jou rnllllistrs. A credible and responsible press creates its own protective su pport from the wmmu n~ty it serves. lin the end, a publ ~c weill served by the press becomesthe most actfrve and a Ment protec~of' of press freedom,

flFFYs act~ons have been varied. 0111 May 19, fF1Fl sent a team from eM FR to attend! Apolinario Pobeda's walo:'ie in tucena Cirty to follow up the case" A report on the visit was publish@d in the PJR. It hasalso issued statements condemning the Killing of journaHsl;s. The IFund also wrote to alubhofiUes~o petilti on offidal orders on the fol:low up IQf cases.

On October 81 2003, FFfJ sent a letter to the Ombudsman to protest the p'aymen1t offuU retirement benefits to former Provlnoia I PaliGe Direcror Reyes, despite the fact that a case had been filled aga~ nst hii min the Office af the Mil italry ombudsman, Reyes is fa.cing ,a charge of "Infidel iity in the Custody of Prisoner, Evasion through Negligence:' The case was filed i Iii tihe Officeo,f the Mlilitary Om bud smen on Ma rch 3, 2003 by the wiidow of Darnaierlo.

Also li:h1rouglh the efforts of the FfFJ, F'residetnt Gloria Macapagal Arroy1o on No'\;'\ember 7 last year a nnouneed tnalt the g~O'V1€mmel1lt was Ciffeni ng a P il minion (appmxlimaJtely US$18,200) rew,ard for the Q1IPbure of the kU I ers of journaHsts in the last five years (from 19,98 to 2003). Anoyo made the a n no u ncement dluri n'g her ,5 peech at the 29tll management: conference ofthe KElP in l'agaytay City.

The Ma!acaf1iang Plresidenti2l1 N:ew'S Desk: 0111 November 8 reported! that the PreSident had also ordered PNP Ch ief Herrnoqenes Ebdane ~D be more resolute i Iil the investigation of1:l11 unsolved murder cases.

Om Marc~ 8, 20041 the Office of the Presiooli1t issued 1:1 mernorandarn addressed to the secretarv of th€ inter~Orand local government and the

filRESS FREEDOM IN Tin E PH1UfP]NES A .5tlldy in 'ContJad'icbions

d~rectm"\genera! 'Of the 1'1 ational polke to ~ ntel'ilsiry hunt for the kllilers (If brCl'(l,dcasrerr.5 (lInd! j~o umall i sts,

On september 2003, fFF J relecsed Staying' AIi'll€!, a handbook which IProvides sa~ety i II1rormationror jou rnehsts which was distri buted to journalists, d'u r~ I11ga jol nt CMlm~ KElP wor~hap on monitnring attacks on press freedom and repc rtl In 9 alerts. The handbook ~nGlud@s inS!J1uction on precaution ary measures to take wh€!1flI reporting in co:nmctareas and \IW1!flt one can do in the face of p hvslca lattacks and



em phaslzes the!

ilmlPo:rtance of sth ieall reporti ng"

Hf] else works fn ooordination with ~l'1Item1:ltional groups such es In~emational Freedom of f:x:p:resslon eXchs'nge (IREX), Rieporters sans Fmntieres (RSF), Miele .XIX, and Sou~heast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA). providing'~hem [nrormailjon on cases ~n~he Philippunes wh~dh they fonow and ta Ike up as 'cases fo r specie II advocacy~

The members of lite RFfJ are: the Center for Comm unity JQlJI nf1lcJirsm and De'Ve~op:ment (caD); CMFR; KBPr Philippine Genter for Investigative 10 urnahsm (POJ); the PPI; and Phi.lippl FIe rN~ews.



(A,ugust 9" 1969- May 13j 2002)

IEdga r Dama lerto was killled mth e ea rly e¥snlng of M!ay 131 2:00..205 he rushed home from a press corference. He was managi lilig editor of the \!Veekly newspaper ZamboongaScrl~ com mentator fur radio station DXKP-Pag:ac1 ian, host of theca br,e TV proqram "Enkwentro" ("Erwounter"), and 1:1 correspondent for the Mindanao ,Geld Star. He was a mullt~-awa rded jouma I lst and We!S wellHm,own f-or h is reports expos! n:gl corruption a mong government offidialS.

IH€l died of a :$:i ngle 91.11 rshot wound iin the chest aJS lM:e waiS lbe:i ng dr~ven home by companion Edgar Amaro,. He had just attended a press conference Olfglcln nzed by the Za mboa nga de~ SWill Rlil ra I ElecfDr~c COOperatli1;,l\e when motorcyo1e-ridi men drove upallong the ve~h r,c~e he was riding Cline! shot lhI~m at dose l'alin.gce. He cHed on Clnriival at: the hospital.

Before hls dei:';llih Damalierio had written: an ·expose on the mlilu lie ,af the Lanao del Sur E!~TrcCOOperative (tasureco) to completea:ny of ~ts projects dlUl ring the administration ,of former President Rldel Ramos •. Tne stDry,. which appeared in the Mindanao Gold Slar,on Apni ~ 19., daimed tmat mIMe oompa ny ,llied wih,en it re;portecl thai! ten:e pmjiedts :Ih:ad been compll'eted.

PRESS IFRlE1EOOM IN mlE PH[ILIPlPn~'ES A S~l.!Idy in CGI1I~t'iildicti ens

The Nat~of'la II BIU rea lUI of Irnvesti'gation (N Ell) arrested a S uspect in Da m:al!erio'!i; 1<Ji111 ~l1Igi., policeman G u Ullermo Wa pU I,e, O!l'1! May 17~ 2002, Wapill!e was posntively~dentlilfied try AmOIFU' and another wi~ness, lEdge r On:gUle! wn,o was also with Oamal~erio at the time otthe ki Ii ilng . Howevel;. Wapn1le 'esCiDlpedl from pollee custody before a warrant of anest c:cdell be issued. Walpilne, wno escaped 01'11 January .28'1,2003, n,adl been under the OUIstody ofthen Pmvinoiall IPo!1 ioe Director P,oorito Reyes.

Two years after Da ma iencls dea~ht Vila pine is stlll at I!alrge. Dam:a lierh:Ys widowl, Gemma, is s,b1il in hldiltllgJ forfear that heir husband's killer woul'd go cllrter her:


(December 1) 1962 ~ Fe.bruary12r 1996)

Feminancl Rey€S,ElI humar:i nights: Ia\!\!YEF and edul:or~iill1!-dhlef of the lD,lpologbased weeklly ne,wspapelr Press Freedom" was s hot dead by a IO'Fl:e glultll mE! n wn,o entered his ()ffioe~resid€lnc€! on .t€!bruary 12, Jl996. The tlr~ggerma!iil posed asa d~ent;. .and shot the jCH.:Imalllist as Reyes was ,i3I00Ut to smlrt wo:rk ali fWs corn puter, Reyes was shot at close ~ange ~n frQnt of Ihis thrn€!~€!ar'"old dallJlgihmr.

The a ssallant fled ln a mot-orcyd e d riven by a mmparili:on whoserved as a Ilook"-ol!JiI:.

illnitial suspects iMid uded a foume:r miUtary gerge~~ml a laVIiIYer and a rmm@r oolito.r of a local pubUca1DTol1l1 a blllSH1.e5SW'oman anda dEy munci~mf a~ ~ of whom denied irr'll\llolvem.ent Ii n Reyes' death.

IBelT(m~ his death, Reyes wa slnto h~ s n:i ntih yea ras

editor of .Press Froedom. The paper was a virtuall one- !-- ...,jl

man affa~ r wi~h IRey,es ,at its hell m. He w:rote th€! IpallP6r~S

editoria lis .a nd a weefkly QO~ umnen1tntl'ecl "Vish:llnl sand lR.evis~ons .. "

Rey€s' dooicatiolli'Jl to h~s media pr.a.d1ice was tes~ed, When hts wife gave b~rthoo their 111 rst ch~ I!clr I&le was: nowihere near the hospita rs de~i!Very mom. He wasiin the pri nti n,g press IbuiSU Ily slLI'pBli'Vising the press run O'f Ohe paper.


PRESS PRlEEDQM IN lHIE PHILIPPINES /l" Stwty in 0ontradiotions

A'I: the time of his d€lathr a number of stories were ,I ,eft at nilS desk wamng for fuillow~up. Among these were an allegecl gliin-smuggl~ng case irilvolviing a mUilW ry man, an expose on elecnon campaig Ii1r eXlPendlirtures,a dh ild abuse ease, and vanoUlS, exposes on 91 raft and corruption,

Reyes was: girven a heros buriia ~ in D~ pol!og City on februa ry 22, 1996.

His death led to the fOIU!i1eJliingl of the Felbruary 12 Movemtlnt for Press Fre€do:mr a gmUip of jou rnalists WlflO banded I:og€l'bher to effect cha nge$~n media pradJlce in M iindialt1lClo.

NIES~NO PAULI N rc LING (September 18" 1944 ~ April 14,1991)

Nesililo Pa uU n l"oU ng, owner;. pu blisheu, ed itm, a nd chief reporter of the panguil BayMan/to/; an Ozamiz Ci1:'!f"basool publicatllOiIii in Mlindanao, VlmS shot deed by unidentified gunmen ~1i1I nlis Offi:CE' on Aprill14j 1'991.

ToUrilg exposed anomalies as well as ~h€ wroil"ilgidoings o,f poHtioTa ns (lInd government offloiats. In his Ilast eduroria.IJ "Graft. and Gorrupti:on/, he wrote om "'Ilawmen workii ng ba nd- iin- ha nd W1U1IVIlce lords a nd arilm~ lIlal syndicates."

Unlike his Man lla- based colleagues! Toll ng wo:rkedl wi~nout a compute" e13 r, or phone, Instead, he nadia 111 atgling typewlrite:r in 81 tiny, two-de:sk ·(}ffice .. His Wife V~rgie woul~d take a three-hour boete nd bus tln1 p totske the paper to the nearest: prinIeir. Th res days laterl, she wou~d carry unsold lssues back home. ~r'9ie took over the ru n li1iing of the paper after Tollingi's death.

AM:hough someone lsjn jaill for the jQLJI rnsl iist's murdel; ToU,ng(s fa milY2lIU1;d oolileagues believE! hsls not the rea II kililieir.

CANDELARIIQ. CAVONA (DClc.ember 51 1973 - May 301 20(1)

Za mooanga City radio announoer Co ndela r~o "Jih unll (:ayo,n.Si was slfilot S@'\JI€ra~ tlimes near his home at around if) a.m. on Nay 301 2001. Calyona, wino, hosted three prog rams i rr1I [}XUl Radyo Ulkay, was the t~irdl broadcaster ki lied in 200:1.



!PRIESS flRlEIEDOMI IN llHE PH[l[PP[NIES A Study in Gontl'adidtions

Poll ilm Cla.~m 1t!hey halV€!a Ilmady identifi€!ld the suspeets jn the shooting, and h~ve advised witnesses to come fOIW2llrd to speed up the ~nvestigal:io:liI. l1he! Jnquitarreported on June 1., 2:001 H1a~ the poUce had posutilvelyideJl''iJtiff'ied one ofthe suspects in the slhooti ng erterone witness came forward. Acmrdilng to the lat:est CMIFR research, one suspect has: been d"lCllrged but was not arrested.

The p res ide nt of the U nl vers ity of MindanaO Broadca,s1tingi Networlk (UMBN)r

. .

Guillermo Torreasuspects cayone cou~cI have been silenced because of his critical oommSli1ltalies. DXLl~:5 an affiUate of U M'BN.

Cail/ona's rolleagui€:S in the ilrl.dlustry SCI~dI Ih is comments nesover his radio program had angered many local politi:c:::nans as weill as the bendit g roup Abu Sawaf.

They 01 ali m tine spo,lI:espe:rson of the Abu Sayyaf, Abu sa baya, had! ljh lI~aterrleci Cay-ma on the a~ r; A. week before h is death, Cayona had revesled on the air 1I1M!Cl[ ·aln assassl n had been fuUQwilng him. He also to~d radio exeCutiVE"S that he had been r,eceivi ng death threats, a Uegeclly from those he had been critf:olzing. Localnewspepers also, reported tlM:atCayona had receiv<erl a death tbrest on the day he was, killed.

'CaY0ril8 hosted "Buenas dias Zamboalilg:a,'f ("Good rnorrn ng ZalmboaJng2'l')I' \\Acc~on nerecho" e\D~rect Action"), and~ITexlimonyaN' CTextimornY)4Pliogra ms whidh allred oompl!a lnts a Ii1id conduct jnformal surveys oncurrent issues. line 'targets, on-nls progra1ms halve ilndudecl members of 1the police and mlll:it:enYf local gDVeJitllment offi:da'ls, iillregai gamb:lers" aoo lrebels.

Acc:o:rdlingl to a Ju ne 7J 2;0(1'1 report in ~hie IMan Ua-bacsed lnevvspaper ~hilnppinestat;, the Zam'bo2lilnga Cfil:y ponce has iclentlfiedl and formailly eha r"gecl me al ~egjed k.ij Ue:r of Cayona with rnu rd1e:r. ponce sa i:d witnesses positive!ly T:dentufi:ed ,Adbuliwartd .Adal as the gll!.mman. Ada, hOWev€i~ is stil~ at iarge.

The head ,of the task. force assigned to bradk d01Ni1i cayonallskiillersJ Senior SupeliirnrendiernJll.lllmunier Jubaiir addedtilat Ada is also ~ne slUIs.pededilkiilller ofr another broadcaster Ildllled i Ii"lI ~hi€ dtyell couplle of Y€I'lr.S ago. Hea.Uegedly

IPRESS IF1R!EEDQM [N "lrHE I?HlIl[Plpn~E:S A Study in GDntr.;ldict~on!O

shot ID:rnaccast:e;r IReyna,ldo Banc;a,irii nfel lso of dxl~ wih Ue' hewas ai ring Ih~s program last March 30, 199ft

IRadio, sta'fDl0M in lambiJanga offeredfiliv,e mi n,urtes of prayer after Qlyona waiS ki Uedl.Za mboall'1lga IPress Club 1P,lfesf:deinrtt Noell Er:asga also denounced the attack and caned 0111 a Uithori1l1i:esto ClI uickJy ~50~ve tine cri me.


By Luis V. Teodoro

[n the IPhUilpp"lilles radio has the biggesl:au:dience among all ~hi€ mass moolila (BS percent), fol~Q\!\I€ld byOO!l€visloil1l at 74 percent and print, 32 pereent, Pn] nit, however;. has a Ii1 82 percent reach in the M~tropoliita inl Mlani Ila, which has; a population of some 10 m~llliionalil;dl is the counbry's business, polil;icalr and culbu ra I center. Prirnt: maly thus be SUI rmised to be as inffillUentiall iriJ the capita!1 as tele'V~suonr Which has a reach of 9:6 pemeinlt almolflg residents.

As of the end of 2:002, there were eight \\n:ationa 1'/' mealning Mia nilal basednewspapers ilnlne Pih Ui ppines, and 408 mmmilmlity newspapers, mostly weekl:ies and! month Ilies, Eng I ish is the predom ~nant language in both the nati:oli1:a II and com mun ltv press, a lthouq h some comm unity new.spapers were being published inbNo (IEngUsh and Rllip,ino, the naoioli1allllanguage) or even three languages (ElI1IgHshj Fi~ipilrlo, and a local d~alred.).

Newspa per cllrculation relenve to poP'Ullatio:n (75 m UII toni n .200]) is smaili.

The nabiorlJa! ne1.VSpapers printed only from UJrOOO to 400,OO() copies daily, whille the print run of the com munlty newspapers ra ng:edl from a low of 51(} copies to a high of 45,000. No moue than mo min~olill people, 2 .. f percent of the pcpulatlon i:n 200 I, are reached !by tine n~wSp'apers, even if a pass-en

. . .

readersnlip o,f five lssssumed.

~ l'hl,~ 0.11d the !;.~~r:c~d{ng ch4pierW?I'e wrUlf;!!l by Lm't; f~ Teodoro as pr:wl 0/ Col· b~ilidim; !ftudy submitted to the L(Jnd()~baM::ttAHlctl!! XIX In conneato« wlth a 1'l!!gJona} prqj~(]t.'·.pi'm:!!:{]tJl1gQnd Promating Frt;,mom of Expression a)~dFl'!!:gdom olIn/ormation in tfw ASEAN regi.Qn ." Theenstre rop01''t wrItten by Tbodov(J wag titled "Free E.xpre:~slon ln lli!!: Phmpptnf!..~_. A Sirna/tone!: •.



PRESS FREEOOM lIM TI"! c P,H]U PP] NlE5 A Study In Contr.arlicbl(11')5

In brooclcastMlgt there was uneven g~ from 1997 to 2000. The number ef AM radio staOOt'lIS natiO:l1lw,i(ie gre\lVfrom 333 in 1997b:Jt 335 in lOOO! tl18Jt of FM sta.tJcmsfronrn 399 to S37. TV stations numbered 1:94 in 2000, u,P' f1rnm 159 ~n 1997. The number of cable TV statlOT!lS tlocJked upto ~nt€matijoFlCliI S€li'¥eJ"Sj rot whldha~so partially generate their own COf'Iterrt:, grew from 894 iitn 1997 to, 1162 in 2000.

Use of new techlnol!ogiY

The rntemet

The Ph iHpp:lnE!s hase n estimated feu r m n lionoompUiter users out of the total current populatiofl, of B4 milllioir1l. The fli9ure is smal~, considering! tn:at com purer Ui9:eIi'S comprise only "'.8 percent of the totall pop u lation.

Mlany media Oirge nizdltions have websites. All the naltionall -based dali~ les nave weilsites, or at least ,have an ehsdJronic man addr,ess primarily for readers' feed bacik. Amongl the IManila~ibased papers that nave websites are the Inquirer (W'lillwJnqlll~r€ the Philippine Star(m\IV!i . .philsmr,com)r the MalJnrUa Bulletin (www.mb .. com .. ph)fandtheT1m~s(wVN/.rnanHaltimes .., Broadcast networks such as TV staltio:r1Is ASS-CBIN 2 ( and GMA 7 (V!JlW\IV,i~glma,tv) are also, online. Tille hfcgh~y pOlPu~ar newswebsioo V!J'i/I.I'\ is an onli ne aoUabmafuion between the Inquirer and GiMIA '7.

There ls also a pmliferatim 0'1' ~~IIY'"basoo onU ne pub~ iicabloli"ll$r gMn9ti1e publl'c more opttons to choose from. Among these: are CyberOyaryo ( www.cyib€irI:liyan/o .com) a nd BulQltlat ('W'INVV, bulal1Diat. com).

Many media INGOs (l11on~gov,ernmefllt orgarni.z:atlons) are online, iindudingr the Phl Ilippine center fair Invest:ijgetive ]o'U1m1!:!'i ~sm or IPCD (\WM.pcij.oi"gI), the National1l1l11on ·of JournaHsts in the PhWppines (\I\!1NW.m.Jljp.Qrgl), and eM FR (W'WV!J ,cmlfr. com. ph). There ls €:Vena news webs:lte that uploacs disc!Ussio n from va rlous sources 0:111 some lssuesconfrentlnq jou mal i:sts (1N'!N'IN .. pilnoYIP:ress., net).

PRESS IFlFtEEiOOM n~ 1i1HE PH[[UPP1NlES A Study iii'! 'CQl'lh~dictrQI'1IS;

illn ~e Phillipp11"lteS, as elsewhere" IntrernetaccOess I~'as provoked d!emali1tds, for regu~!a~lon.. Than'kflli.!llly the gove:mmenes. response, in ~eping with ~l"ne se;r1I1bi'ments oW lts ii nformed cnnstituents, has been 00, agg re:ssiv€i~y push ~€ OOUintryw be ,eompetitiv,e in terms of~nformaJtion and co:mmUi nicatic:r1Il.

In 2.000 the reg'u lation of the I nternet to prevent chUdren/s access to po:mog:uaphy was debs;tiW ~ til, Gangress. DUlfiing that d~bate too nOOra~ members of thart ~y arg,uoo 'for .selif-regulation by Internet servlee p:rOViol!ers (ISP), some! of which have~nstitulied meaiSiliJ res precis€ly to protect: mill'ilors from (lcoessing pamog,ra phy s~tes.Enfocom TectulI,or,ogiesj• one ,of the! largest ~:SP's in me country, roll' 'eNample, now has SareNeit: 'lUr dnilldrelfll, as do a number o~ otlne:r providers.

AliSO, in the yea II' 2000~h@ Phill ~Ppill'il€ 'Colmg,r,€:Ss passed R!~pulbllic Act 897.2, or the Electron T:cs ICommeroe Act of 2000, wnlich protectstrensaetlons 0V'e1i ~~,e Ilrrlitemet by ~ec()g n~zill1l 9 ~Itii,~ ,aiU~hi€ntUdty of e'l!ecbronic doouments, IpaliliolJl ~2llriy emaU'.f2l.nd at the same ~ime pen:21IIi~es~e n:a;c~ifil,g of sucil'n documents with a fine of P1.00,OOO a 1i1:d1 a p:riiso:nl trenml of from six months to three years. This law reoog nizes ~he vslllidirty of ,electronic eontraets and sig:lnatur:es as the functiona ~ 'eq,l.Iiiliallent of an ~ ndl i?!;!'iclua,~'s ad:li.l:allsi:glna,RlI re, and makes 'cyber documeliillt:s ,admissible as court eviidJen:ce h''II.r .say, a UbelsLlit.

The g:ove rn mell'ilit ~ormed i nI 200.0 the llinro rmatlon Tech nologlY and Eiectron~c Gommer;ce Gounaill (:mECC), the I~~ghest lpollicy=makiing looo'y in the CXl!iUlntry wlnisn it comes to ] a nd elledro:n lc com merce. It i's chalired by fuhe· President oflne Ph iilii.ppi nes,

Ri5J9' of SMS

The most::il~miflcant gmwth in Prni Uppine l:eleoommunirnfuioliitS. 1Ii!CI5 bOO1iil1 in ce:l!u~a'r phDne :Sl!Jlbwr~ptio:nl5=from 1,343:,620 in 1.997 to 101.454,359 ln 100[). This g~ has pruven to :OOc~itica~ in the enhancement of free expresslon in the Phn:l IPp~nesf prl ma r]ily I:hrough \\textin~t or short message servlce (SiMS).

iliilhe In.quiror reported on Feilt'm.Jii31 ry 21 20041 that out ,of 113 bilil ion SM,S messaqes sent around the w()rk~1 illiill 2003, 30 ~li"C€ll1lt or a ~mQlSt 34 bi ~Uon came from the Phill ippines. An ,estimated 10[11 milHon text: messages were gent eve:rydalY ~a!s't year from about 2;0 1m nil ion ceHular IP~~Olite suoocni bers,

PlRlESS IFRElEOOM IN TJ-I E P,H1UPPIINES A Study In Conlradlcbioo5

With up to U)(l' mHlion SMS messaqes sent everyday, the Philippines has Ibeen dubbed the "tex1ting capital o,f the world 'f~

Since the American period in the 19205, the mass media in the Philippines have' been owned and controlled by business and political interests. The pattern has conti need to th us day~ with UU! major newspapers and TV and radio stail:ioHsibeing in the hands of various interests.

Th'S majority owners of the mostinlliluentlal ,daiily, tlhe Inquirer(estTmated readership: 200(000), for example, are real estate and food manufacturingt among other i nterests, Bu/teJon owner Emiilio Yap has interests iin shipping and other ventures.

In the article "Lords or the press" in i'm:aga.zin,e (April-'June 1999 issue), PCIJ Execultive Di recter Sheila Coronel noted that-y"These proprietors, Ii ke their counterparts during the Marcos and pre~Man:os era, have not been shy a bout usl ng thel r publications or their broadcasting fa.cillties to adva nee theiir po I itical 0 r business interests. Today it ts not u ncomrnon fur broadcast stations or newspapers to lambaste theilr propri:etors' business rivals or to campaign fur policies that will advance their owners' corporate causes,"

The survival of the print medial oopends on the' countrvs fundJlonallimracy rate. The government's National Statistics Office s~s, that of the country's 48-mimon populal:lolU in 1994 (~ates1[ avalilabl'e data), about 40 .. 2 mill~o'lil (or 83.8~%;) of those between ages 100 to 64 years weref,unctionally lirterate.

"Comparing thijs with the 1994 simple Iilrt,erac-y rate of 95.0 percent, accounting for 45 .. 6 miillion ]O~64 years old population, thi,s means that one out of nine IFn~pinos who cain read and wriite (simple literate) cannot compute or are actually defldent iin skjll's. (functionally ililiterate)."

Media Qwnershi p is one of the most problematic aspects 0'1' the media situation iin the Phn ipp~ nss, given the extent to wh kh owner ~ nte,ests often intrude on reportaqeand commentary ln the newspapers. In despeir over the sometimes heavy handed efforts of m ed ra oWli1.e~.s to intervene even in the daily operations of their newspapers, some journalists have in fact argued


PRESS PR,EEDO:M IN rn E PHUJPPfN ES A. Study in Contrad'ictioJls

for allowing foreicgn media ownership, whiGh is diisall'owed by the 1987 ConstitutIon. This arg urnent has its peri Is.

The commUlrlication theoretlidan Dennis McQuail' points out that 1lhe medial can "serve to repress as we!I I' as to l'iibera1te.1 to UlUliirt~: as well Clsfra'flment sooletyi both to promote and to hol'd back cha nge." M'oQl!IaHi n 'mct ijdentif] es the role of the media as coverlng a wide ranqe of critical issues in society. The media can "attract and di red public almention/f~'persuacfe in matters of 0 pinion and beiie'tf'~influ:ence behavio~"~structure defin:itians of n~allity," "confer status andllegitilmacy" and "mtorm quiddy and E!'xtensive'ly."

It should be 0 bvtous that the question of what reaUty a nd whose reality is presented through the media is Ilin~ed to who control and own !:he media, and ln whose interest: they exercise that control. That alene makes the issue of whether or mot 'rorelgn media ownership should be allowed, indeed even en.couraged, important., In these nmes thesodal end pol'itJical Issues that confront nati:ons are mediated prima rHy by the mass media,! which if controlled by competing interests, ce n present a mlllltip~ &city of views ,ratlher than a singl'e" dominant perspective,

The media are also vehicles of oulture, especiially papular culture. Even wi~holUrt direct forelqn media ownecship, countries are lnundeted daily by soaps end game shows, sitcoms and disaster mcvles, wa rs in gall.axies fa r ,a,MJY, as well as teenage problems with acne and puppy love .. Alii of thesefllow in an endless stream mainly from the culture m,ctories of onl'y one country, the U nited Stat~. Under prese n't circumsta nees romign media ownership would only further restrict the FHipinos' choices for information and entertai nment a nd would not. solve the' problems associated with the mass medta being o\i'lmed by business and political lnterests.

It hasalso been arigu€ld that, compared' to Rllipino Qwner5,forelgn media owners wo'ul!d be more d~ffio~11I: for the g:overnment to control, and that therefore, they would be more effective partisans for press freedom and free expression, What need would there be to control rorelgn-owned media in title first pl!ac€'?' Governments seek to control only adversariallJ. criticall medlar '~r'i.endly media they IBalille alone. It is ,critical media that need' freedom most. Ilncritica ~ media heve no need for it and don't care fa r it too much ~ which is wihi¥, right now, certain government .. friend~y newspapers illl the PhiHppines don't think press freedom is alii that lmportant, because to them it isn't.



by lUlils V. l'eodo:ro

The Philippines does not have speclal or press, laws applilcalb1le only to the media. Instead the lai\iVS that have a bea ri In.g on media, performs nos and 1Dheir freedom are In the Pihn~ppill1le' COfilstibJtiO:r1I, the civi'l and penel codes, and Phm ppine jurIsprudence. There are a I so regulations, to wh len comp~ I'ance is large~y\f.OllJntary, lin the med~a/s self-r;egu'atory codes. There are no liicensing or registration requirements, or membership requirements lnalny ouganization, for mecll~a pradlitioners iin the PhWppiil1SS. For media organizations tbernselves, the Nationa I Telecommunications Commission (NTe) exercises only the pow-eli to allocate frequendes toTVandi radio stations, not supervision over cootent, and print publications, need cnlylneorporate as business enterpnises.

The I!aws that have a reg u ialIDry character ,affecti ng the mass media in the Phii ippi nes may be classj'fjed into three grou ps: those affecting all tne mass media; those affeCting the piI'iint media; and those affecting broadcasting (;mdfilm.

The ,laws in the first group include Artide m (The Bm of Rights), Section 4 of the Constitution; and Section 7 of the same Articl,e (access to ill1rormation).

The Constitution's Airtide IX ~C on the Commission 0 n ElernonlS em pclwers. 1the Comm~:sslon to, "su pervtse or reg u~ate the enjoyment ,and utm:zati'on of E'llil fralndh~ses and permits for the operation ,of" •• media of eommun ication ••• to ensure equal opportunity, time and space and the right to, reply, indu:ding reasonable equal rates therefore'; for pu blici nformation campaigns and forums.


PRlESS IFREIEOOiM ]Nn-l E PiH11LI PP]'Mes .A .Study in CClflbr1lldlidions

The penti nent prol!;l~s~ons on mass media ownersh~ pare ~ n Article XV[ (Geli1;er.a~ Provisions). Secblon 1:1 limits media o<Wll1lership to "eltlzens of the Phi~ iipp~ nest or to corporations, cooperatives or essooations wholly owned and managed by su:clh citizens,"

The same section empowers CoitligresS to "regularte or prohHJi.t monopolies in mmme:rdal mass media when the publilc interest so requres,"

These provisions have been gerlera'lliy observed in practice. Foreig ners do nat Q'!;J,Jin PhlU IPpii ne-based moo~a organizaMms. some FiUpino corporation,s, howevel! do own print pL!I bllicaJti:ons such a's magazines, win ile at the same ij me Dei ng elri1g!ag1ecll in rad iiO a rid n.t brnadcastlnq, as is the case with the g~alt"lt iBenp>IIess Corporntion of the Lopez fam illy.

The tcpeaes, owners.of the power rncnepely Mlaflila IElectric: Company wh~ah provud!e.s electrical power to Meoro Mani Ila and most parts of the main Philippine isl!and of tuzon, once oWltlied a ManUa broadsheet, the ManUa Chroniclel but !halve divested themselves of it, Ajpparently they are al'l>QViI€d to publish magaZil11EcS wMeat the same time being engaged ln ra(Jii.o end TV broa:dcasti II1,g because the magEliZli nes they pu bnsh (speda Ilized pu bl~caijo:ns for wa rlking: mothers, for exam pie) a re not regarded as vehicles of opln ion a nd opln lon-fcrrnenon. This assumption has not boon tested in: court

The ~evised Penel Code of the Phillippines, on the other hand, oontaims provisions relating 00 nanonal security offenses/among whidh the otme of incitement to rebellien m insurrection (Article 138) could have an effect on ~he media, sines lit includes ~ncil:ing others to rebel'Uoli1l through "speeches, prodamadons, wr~tilngsj' emblems, banners or other uepresentalUonstencliillg to the same end." No one has been clharged under this ClrlIide since tine M,(l rcos period,

Aliiicle 154 also penal izes any person who publ ishes "false news wh~dh m.ay enda ng:er the public order~ or ca use da mage to the ~nterest or cred it >of the S1tate,"a nyone who "by wordsJ utterances or speeches sha III encourage cJi:sobedielT1lCE to, the ~aw or to the consntuted authonities, or pra hse, jllJlstifyl or extd any act punished by lawt who publiis~es 'Ianyoffida~ resolunon or dow ment w~thout proper authority, or before they have been: published' as wen as.a li1Jyoine who p UI b~ lshes anonymous lea nets:, A prison tsrrn

[PRESS fREEDOM IN illH! PHlIL] PP] ME!) A. Study in CCilnIT.adicbiorts

·of three months, plus a ffiine of from P200 to Pl1000 (US$4 to US$1.99) are tine pens Itles.

Ubell a crlm inal o·ffense i r1I the Phili pplnes in that ~t ca rrtss prisonterms upon OJlI'ilvictio:nj is provided for in the same Pena~1 Code (Artides 353 to 362). The penalties ranqe from a pnson term of one day to 30 days to six )f€i3lrS1 in addi1tiolil to 1fi nes, The:fi nss are minimal (from US$4r to US$2S:) as ~ n !:he case of Vlio~ail:~ons of ArUidie ::I. 54, but this does not prev€!nt mmpl'a inants from dema nding m ilHons ,of pesos in damages! some of whtch have been 8iwardloo.r althol!.lrgh 'later reversed by nigher courts,

Art~cle 353 defines: libel as "a publ tC and malidOllJs 1 mputal:ion of a crime 0Ii 211 v~ce or de:rectJ real or i mag imuy, or ·21 nyact, omissilon cond iltion, status or drcumsta nee tendi ng to ca use bhe dis~,onor, clisCFOOR, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or In blacken the memory of one who is dead:'

Artlde 354 declares tlhat "everv defamatory imputat~(m is presumed to be maHciouls, even if it be true, "except when ilt is rnede ~ n 131 private com mun lcatlon to anotihe<r person in the, performs nee of any hega II, mora~ J or social duty; and Wheitll it is ~n a report on "any [udldal, or other official proceedl ngs ... orclinY act performed !bV publk offlcers in the exercise of tihie~ r functions.,"

Articles 355, 356, 357r 358 and 359 contain a list of penalties for various dleg 1lil€S of Ilibel, ranging from a fine ,of 200 to 6,000 pesos (US$4 ro US$] il 0), a nd lm prlsonment of at least six months 00 a ma!Xim urn of six 'years.

Article 20] ef'fhe same Code the publlicarroio:n of obscene m:a~erial wirth Tmpricso:nment up to three years and fines from siJ:x 00' 12 thousand pesos (abo!Ult US$l W 00' US$,219).

The new OvU Code of the Philippines contains a provlslon (Artide 26) on the right to pwivacYt violations of wh lch ca UI be the occasion for dvl I da mag:es aglainst private person s, On the other he nd, JutJide 32 psne Iliz€ls any govemment .offiolal or employee who "obstructs, defeats, violates, impedes and i mpai rs" theexerdse of freedom of speech, the freedom to


write, for the, press: or to, maintain a publication, as. well as, ~he privacy of communication or correspondence. No government officiall has so fair been cII1a rged under Artide 3.2.

A speda II law (Roepulblic Act 53) un lque to the Phlili ppilrilesi,n As~a protects jOllinlatlisl:s from beill1g! forced to reveal their sources unless IlIdiemanded by the security of the :state.," Sedlon 1 of tihiLS Act states that no one from a news:palf!e'r, magazine, or peniodTcal ,of .gene Ira I circulation cain be "compelled t-o reveal the: source of' any information or news report appearing in said pubITca1bion ... unless the court or a House or Commiittee! ,of COnglres,s f nds that such revelation is demanded by the secu rity 'of the state ..... Only one attempt has so far been made to ron:eal ]0 u mcllli:st to reveel her sources sil1ce the Marcos period, This was ln 2003. The attempt was wddel,y cridozed by the press and did not p:rosper.

One of the most oontroversiallaws. to be passed and enfor,cedl in the Philippines problblted newspapers and broadcasting stations (liiadio and TV) from pri Uilting. or broadcasn ng election campaig nl materia II was Rep u blic Act 6646. Passed by Congress in 1987; the Act declared it illegal "for any n€iws,pa per" radio broadcasting ortelevision sl:atiQn or other mass media, or a nry person ma king! use of the mass moo ~,a, to sen or give free of charge pri nt space or a ~r ti me 'for campaig n or other pol ltlca I' purposes ... "

eiiVil liberteriens, including 211 retllr,ed Supreme Court justice critklzed the' A.cta.s, al Violation, ,of the people's i'1ightto information, which he said was part of free expressio n, it remal ned in force for 14 yealfsj however, end was repealed only on febnJ!ary 12, 2mJil1 in time for tne MalY 20tH elections,

The Fal r Ehecti on Act of 20m (IRA. 9006), however~ co:ntaii ned provisions prohl bRing the pub'l ic:a1bion of "surveysalffed:ing natllona II ce ndidates'" 15 days before an election, and "surv,eys ,affect:ir~g Ilocal I candidates'" seven days bernI'€! an efedtion.

The survey ,group sooal Weather Stations argued before'the Supreme, Court that the ban constituted prior restraint on freespeechend the ri:ght to iinformatio:n. The Court agreed" and ruled ~hat Sertlon S.4 whl,chfonbade the publicaoon of ~he' Ii n~ormatio:ril cited above, consntuted a Ii1 unconstltutlona ~ abridgment of the r~glh1ts to free speech, expresslon a nod press freedom, and dedared it invalid.


PRESS FREEDOM IN THE PHIUP'P[NES A 'Sh,ldy in Conbrooldlom;

Laws regulating the print media

Act No. 2580, passed in 1'916 by the PhiHppine iegislature, requires the publication ,and recording in the Bureau of Posts of the names and post office addresses ,of editors" pub! i'5 hers, ma In:agers, owners, and stockholders of newspapers ii n a sworn statement. IFailu re Ito complly with this requ irement means denial of mail privileges to the offending publication.

Wih i Ie this ,Act applies to ClII newspepers in the Philippi nes that: malice use of the mail, Presidential Decree 1079 as amended by P.D. 1971 authorizes community newspapers to publish jucFJ:clall notices, notices, Qf publi:c biddiingsl, (l'iUlCbJons, and ather 51 mH2lr government 'i ssuances, The origi n,1II decree (P. D. 19) was issued by Ferdinand Man:os during the period of dictatorship, and was rneentas an iintelll m measure tD ena bl!e the g.overn m ent to rna ke use off the rommUlI1irty newspapers. when tine pubHcal:iion of national newspapers was suspended during l11@early martial-law period."

This I,aw, 110weve~ is stili in force. 11111 many cases jludidal and other government notices are th@ community newspapers' main sources. of tncome. In some cases the: i ncome derived from such notices ts the main reason oommult1l'ity newspapers are publ~shedl. The dependence of these newspapers on judid2111 notices is thus widely regarded as 211 potenti!a'l source ,of gove:nnment control. TodalY the pnivileg!6 of publiishing such notices is raffled off amQng community newspapers ln a ,given Iocailil:y by Whe executive judge of the Reg i ona I Triall Court.

Another Presidential Decree, RD. 1986, establiisn,ed] on octobers, 19S5, the Movie and' Television ReView and Oa<ss:iffication Board (MTRCB), and grnnts the Board ths lpower to review and .a pprove 2:1111 pub:1 icity materia 115 for motion pi ctures and tel'evisijon programs.

Under the pro\!'~sioins of th~s decree, the Beaird ca n disapprove ,a nd delete portions of' materials lit deems ob~ectionable for being lrnmorel, conrtrarry to law, and good customs, Injurious to the pn'!!s1bige of the Phi Ii pplnes and its peo1ph3:J. or fur e:r1IC()!!.JIra:gi ngl tine' ,commiss:rron ofan act of v~olence'l a cr~ me, or of ,amy wrong.

The .Boan:! ls a~so, em powered to su pervtse, reglUillate, grraltil1tJ deny, or canoei pel1ll~ts for the importation, export_, production, disliribubion, sele, lease,


PRIESS FREEDOM IN THE PHII!.lPPlN I:S A. StWQY ln (ontrradictions

or e'xit1 ib~tlon of all ~ such publ it:ity materiia ls,

I~plllbnc Act 8047, Ani .Act Prcwudiing fur ~he Develbpmeitllt 'Of the Book Publishi ng Ind ustrv T,h!rougih the Formu ~altion and [mpll@m€ntalth::m of a Na~i!onelll Boo,,", Poll'icy a Ute! a National Book [)eve~opment 1P11an, enacted June Sf 1995 declares iit a stat~! poi iicy to promote the deverropment of the book pub~ ~shilll'Jg ~nd UlS1try '~O etrn:5UIr€ a supply of affordable books few Iboth the domes,t]:c a nd the expert me r~eI:,

Section 6, of the Ad: requires ~he reglstratio:n with the Nalliilonal ,sook. [)eve~opment Board created by tine Art of' all persons and entiti,es il1lvo~vedi n book pu blishill1lg. Section 10 empowers the' Depa rtment of Ediucati:on to consujt the Board in the me king of 1,i)ne rules and !regiUlalJ1oli1ls needled ~ n the ~m~pElJartion of rooks reQIUI~red !by O'he C(rLm:tryls pu bUt ellementary and higlh scheols, while Section 12: pr,ovides ~ n:C€I'1I~ives to book p:u blisheJrs under the fiscal anc!l nen-fiscal inootll11l1ves set furth ln Executive Order 226 (The Omn~oLls Investment Code).

In 1994 the PP[f 1t~:e organizati:on of newspa pe;r pu olishers, questloned RepUi DUe Act 7716 or tIMe Expa nded VAT (Va ~ue Added Talx) Law befo lie the Supreme Court" and elrgllJled that, COIIi'l[raty 1t0 .Artidle []I, Section 4 of the Phill ~ppj ne CO:nstliWtio:I'i!Jit abr~dlg:es jPlIEc$S freedom. The Act had wi~hd'rawn the exemption from payment of the VAT on advertising income pn~vioLl5~y g:r,a nt€G tothe press by Ene rNationallntemal RevemJe Code (N]Rq. The PiP! arg ued thail: ~he withdrawal ,of the NERC ex:emp~ion su ngled out the press for dlusor~mlnatory b,eatment, and was tlhlUi5 an abridgment of press freedom.

nle Supreme COurt ruled tJ'hattihere was no vio:la~l>Q1I1 of press freedom in tlhe wHthdli,awa,1 of ~h,e exemption. Wh~l!e r,eoognlz:lng the value efthe press in a freesodetv, the COllirt also sald ~h:at the press. is nat ~mmUln€ from generall r'eg ulal:ioli1is by the Sta,te!, Since ~he;Act appUed tea vast range of goods (lInd services, the press cannot daiim to have been dlscrlminated ag1i3linst. Adve:rtusJng i Iiloom€ is~h u~s subject to the VAT i Ii1I ~he PhJ,1i ppinBS.

111i'il1 199] CongH!-ss. passed the Cam IPlJS Jo u maillism Act (!R.A. 7079)1 wh~ch reoogn~2ed tin,e vltalrole plaryed Ib,y the campus. (univ1ersity andi coHege) press ifil the anbl ~diictawrshi p resilstancetan.cI granred student journa nsts Maximum freedom.

PRIeSS FRclEOOM IN TIH E PHIU PPINES A Siludly in Contrad icnons

Thls liaw limits schoolodministratiol1S to the selection of pulOlication advisers from a list provided by the newspa per s'ltaff. The adviser _, a post abolished in 1964 at: the University of the Ph'ilippines (UP), the country's biggest state university and its best and most: prestigious tertiary institution - is !limited to the function of providing technical '9uidance and is completely denied any censorsh ip role. Staff members also have security of ten ure and maly not be expelled from the school solely on the basis of performance' ill the paper"

.Althoug h the Act appears to !be Ii mired in a ppl lea biHty to a narrow, nonprofess!onal sector of the print media, il:s significanoe can best be appreciated in the context of the mile school news pa pe rs played diu ri n 9 the rna rtla Haw period.

MOst PhUippine unlversitiesend colleges, whether government-owned or private, pubnsh student new.spalpers. During the martiaHaw rtegiime a number of these newspapers, for example the UP's Philippine Collegian, was at the forefront of that resist-a nee, as a result of whidhl lt WellS wildely read even outsude the Urniversity, but earned for a succession of its ed1itors arrest and Indefinite confinement in the M!alicos regime's detention centers.

ILaws regulating broadcasting

Philippine broadcast laws apply 'to radio and television, whether 'free (terrestrial) 01" cable,

In 1'985 the SIU prerne Court declo red, ina decisl on on the Ea-stern Broadcast Corporation vs. Dans (Dans was then head of the INabional1 Tellernmm:unilcatijons Cornmlssion) case, that "the freedom of b~llevision and broadcsstmq Is somewhat lesser in scope !:han the freedom accorded to newspaper and print media," Citing U.S. jurisprudenceto defend its, view, the Court: i nvoked an Ameri can case wihi lch declared that broadcastl ng l1ason~y limited protection in terms O'f free expression because it is more pervasive and is more readilly accessible to children.

Nev,ertiheless, the Supreme COUIrt affirmed that "broadcast stations deserve the special protection ghJlen to all forms ,of media by due process and freedom ofe:xpress'ion [provisions] of the Constitution,"



PiRESS FREEDOM 1M UI c PHlL] PP] NES A Study 10 Co:ntrarllctloos

In 1991, however; the COurt prohibited through a resolution ~iive radio and TVCO\I\erage of judicial proceedings on the arqument that such coverage could lead to miscarria,ges of j ustice, V1ideo oov,erage' of tdalls has since been limit-ed to photographs and dips of proceedings before the actual trtal,

Th:e live nI and r,adio (avera g:e of the l mpeach ment trr a I of Pr'e5udent Joseph Estrada in 2000-2.001 was not covered by the resolution because it was a polmcal exercise. .As, a r'e5ulltl the coveraqe performed an lrnportent educative rolel n thalt it provided Fi I ipi nos minute-by~m jinute information not only on what was happening but a 150 0111 matters of law and the Cons1oi'tutlon.

All radio cornpan les jn the Phi I i ppines ar~ requij reel to have, certflcates of publiic eorwenlenoe and necessity from the NTC, as speelfled in Exooutive Order No. 546 issued Jully 23r 1979. At the same time tn,ey need a leg~s~latlve french ~s:e: to operate, as specified ~n the Phillippi ne Constitution's Article XII, Section 11. Radii:o companies must file their applications to the NTC, as well as an ,E! pplication for a fre nchlse from the of Representatives of the~ Congress of tne Phi Ilippl lites, fullowi ng adrn ~nistr,atDve proced ures specifiedl by both. NTC has the power to administer and enforce alii laws, rules" and regulations in the fleld of communications. The Commissioners/as in the case of other PhHippilne govern ment com m iissions, are a,ppointed by the President of the Phillippines.

B roadcast companies in the IPhili pplnes are encouraged to jol n the KBP, whicln is now the "se'lf-regullatory" organiza1blon of broadcast media.

The I'(BP was created by broadcast i ndusory representatives d ulring the martiaillaw period under a government mandate for the: broadcast media to regulaoo themseives. After the collapse ofthe MarGos dictatorshi PI howeveli the IKBP became the pri ma ry trade organization in broadcast] ng as wen as: the r'eglulatory body for the industry.

The KBP has a Standards Authority that enforces standards in programming, advertising and trade practice tlflrou:glh its Radi:oa:nd Television Codes. The KBP Board of lDi rectors, wh ich eonsets of individuals from the broadcast industry, appoints the members of the Authority from the broadcast ii:ndl.llstrYr academia (u5,ually from UP), and the advertlslnq ~ nd ustrv

PRESS FIil:ElEOOM IN iflIE IPHH_[PP[NES A S1uDiy in COJ1brooid:iOfils

Tine A.u~hmity observes established prceedures in investigating. hea ringr and adjudicating cases ilWoliv,lin9 vioJatlolns of the Cocies" and impeses pencllitJles ~hat can i ncl ude S uspens io flI or perms nent disqlLJl all ifk:at~on from K18P' mem rer-sh ip, and 1li nes, A llil umber of ra;dio ,a nd TV stadons Ihav,e been sa Ii1diion€ld by the Authority, but because the pen:a lItiE=s, speda lIy the flnes, have been mi nima ~ (for examp'l.e, P6,OOO or US$11 0 ~or tiM:efirst omf1enoo), \lilo~aIUons of the Codes; persist,

The Codes are extremely detalHed. But one' other problem me KBP has in their enforcement is its lack of ma npower to menitor alii the rod io andTv stattons all over the Ph~ Ilippi nes

Laws reglldatin,gfilm! tel,eviis,io:n pragll'amsand v'ideo

RlmJ te4evision pr,ograrns a nd v~deo tire r,eg:ulated throlU:gh~o Marrns issuance-s: Pl'1esi:clenbial Decree 19186 croo1:illii;g the MITRCB daood Octooor 5, :1985, and P.D. 1987 creating! the Video R.€!gu~arory Board (VRB) .

• " • ' 'j.

The MTRCBi,s diredlly under the Office ,of mn€! President of the lP:hiili ppi nes, Although ost,ensi b~ a dassiflcarory body, the Board us empowered~o21ipprove or disapprove, delete portions fr,aman:djo:r pro!lh,ib~t O'he ~mportatiot1l, export, prod u:ctfon, cOpyii ngl distil Dl.lIl:ionl sale, lease, e:x:hbitk]r11 a ndjor 'l:ellevision broadcast: of mofui:on pictl!.lres,relievisi:on p:rograms and plLlIbllicitry mamMalls (a,s ea lllier mentioned) "wh~ch ~ iii the op~ nion of the Soard a re objectionable fur being im moral, indecent cornralry to lawanclfm g:ood customs, ~ nj u MOUlS to the prestf:ge o,f the Ph iiI~ pplnes or ilts; people, or with a dla rligen:ms. tendency to ,em:m.lra:geltne co mm~ssi():n .of v~ol!en;c€, or ofa wrong or crime. (I.

Decisions of the Board banning the slhowililQ of a 'mm or tellev~sion p:rogr:a m CCllIiI b€l appealed ,onll.y to the Pn3sideht, whose! deoslon is flna II.

TIh:e MTRCBF desjpilte its name ts actus Uya 'OSIl1rSOrs:h ~p boo rd. It hss the poW€lr to censor and delete portions 11TI:lm fill ms, Several cases m IUlstra1rlN'e of tne' da ngers of this power have arisen Olver the-last decade. F,or e(Xampler~he Board's decision, (Iverrid!delil by irlhe IPres~d@nl~ to cut"'object&onable! portions" from the film "Schindler's Ust" as well as other decislonsa1'fecbi,ngt AI ipiino fiillilliS .. of thes@ cases have i nevj1l:ab~y dashed with Article In, Sed:i:on 4 of the ConstitutiO!I1IJ, which protects free expression and press freedom by provicfing



PRESS FREEDOM IN ffi E PHIUPP]NES A StJ.Jdy i n OJl1Itr~i'ctiQ!'ls

thet "no ~aw may 00 passed abridgill1lg freedom of speech, of the press, of expression, or the right of the people peaoealbh; to,a'ssemb~e for the redress of grievanoes:"

I n the most recent ease, President Gl!oria Maca paga I Arroyo rescinded the MTRCB's permission for the showing or'lthe: RUpino ~h "live Show!'. Sine ordered iit pu ned from the theaters and sacked the chalir of ~he MrTROB, all~m professor from UP and rioted sCholar of !Phil ilppine cU~[Ulre.

li ke tihe MITRcCBr the VRB was oreated by Ma rcos as a body under tile Office of the President of the Phi Ilippines. The VRB has the power eo reg ul:a11:e tihe im IPOrtalt~(m and export, as weUa,s the: prod uCoiOrl,OOPYli ng, dtslJr~buDon, exhibition, show~ngf sa Ie, cr d~sposmon of vf,deograms oralny of~h!eir tech ni:cal varuat~ons.

:It can approve Dr disapprove, delete rXllililons from, and othet"l.i'l.l'ise perform aU the other ~u ncti:ons the: MIReB has in r,eJlatio:1'1I to motion pictures, wuth the addit1Ton of ~he worc! ""11 ~belous" to the II ~st of bases for t1he ban nil1lg or oUltrtli ng ora ny video tspe, Both the MTR:OBili rid true VR.B have the power to file en mil1lai chiargeS6g1a ilnst violators of PDs 19868 nd 1987.

Both the MIReB end ViRjB decrees have been assa~ led by artists a nd bu rna I'll ri:ghts and free expression groLii ps as a thmwbaclkm the cHctat{)rsh~ p a nd as in] mica'! to the filowe:rJ ng of artistic expression as weIll aste the freedom of expression clause ~ n the Constitution. The MIReS a nd VRB decrees: ,a re nevertheless sl:iIIIi n force, No artist ora rtlsts' gro:u'p has dna Uengedl the co:nstibutiionality 0:( these decrees ~n court,

The ph rase "'()f expression" iin Artide m:t Sectiolrll 4 of the Ph nii ppine Co:nstibUlti'C.In was added by one of the Phi Ilipp:l nes' most distinguished fHm dilr,edors, who had ffought th€! Ma IICDS d iwrorsh~p 13100 in il986 was ,a IPpalli1lred to the Comm~ssio:1'1I that drnftted the 1987 Constitution. It was ap,pan~Hiltliy' his oollieHhat film anell other forms of exp:resslon soould be given specific protedDlon. The impiliiait protecton given to ftlrn by that p:rovisiion iSI howeveij undermined iln prectice by the censorship pO\"iIers· of' the IMilRCB and the: VRB.

It must be Ubotedl, ~o\!Vevelf that there halve been i rr1istances when the MTROB a nd the VRB have not interfered wi1Jh the showing of a fill m orviid!oo iii: had ,ealHI ~er ban ned ~n cases wnen they were shown for academic purlPOOe5"

PRESS FR:E'cOOM IN TiHE PHI[l[P,PINES A Study in eo"'tradictf.OilS

For exam ple, tine lMTiR'CB 00 n riled the fu I m "The Last Temptaltio:1iI of Christ" by detlilyil1lgiits PM ippj ne distri burtor a n import: permjt, but the VRB dtd mot stop lts slhowi ngi n video taperonn ~n film dasses i n the UP. Nel~her did the MlROB preY,ent the showiing of tihe Fi npino film "OrapronOibLs" (which had been shown ~ n Canines) at the sa me UnhrersHty's Fi I mQlllilWr.

En boon cases Ohe: reason was that the Ph iii ppl ne COrhsUtubion protects theacadem lc freedom of a III state un irversltnes and rei l:egJes~n ~he coUlntJryl and neither the VRIB no:r lMTIROB wanted Ute UP to brill"1lg! the matter to the courts, bad they banned thefil ms,

Th e Draft llnform~atiio n A.el

.AltiholU:gh ,gua ra nrteed by the Constitution and! the exeCiUltiive orders of two presidents, freedom of i nrformati:on in the Phi'lippiines is not covered by a inry Ilaw. There Ih:av,e been proposa lis i n ~he past, but these we re opposed by j,ouma lists' 9roup:s because rather than widenill'1lg! the scope for mformatlon access, the proposed laws narrowed it by focusl n:g on offioia Ii nformatl on jjjh~t could be wutnrheld.

Some lou malists have also2l,rgued that despite the a bsence of such a law,r andl the oonsequent a rhltrarili1.€SS of offiolal decisions on which iril~mmation to release and which '1:0 wiithhold, the Phili pp~nes has not lagg:edllbeh i nd other Southeast Asian countries that do have ~ IilIformaltion laws, such as Thalla nd andiEndonesia. In fadt, these jOI!Jrt'ila~ists dai rn, o:ffibial infb:rtlilCl1Jio:ri1 Ihas generally been Clivai lel ble i inr tlfle Ph~ Ilipp~nes 1t1h'a n ~nother countries. (See/fOr >exampl e, Yvnnne Chua's "The PhHlippi nes:A U bera I ~ !i1lrolTl1i31bon regi meeven without ·alJn ~nfOifmartion law,'" www.freooominfu .• org posted on JanUiary 17, 2003) ..

The: Philippine N:GO AtxJfi!fSSW Informaltion Nshoork (ATIN), howeve~ argues that ~enia'l ofa.ccess to ~ nWormatiortl matt:.ers of pu blle concern in the Ph i lippines [remains widespreadl."!iI)I

r ~ AJDCc$:S t'Q,[nfonnat]on Network, ·~The need fora.1a"" O];l8JCOEl~S t.oinfolll:1!1aticlfl." A [)hll~ogl]e with Legisla1tors on Access~o Official Infbrmatlen. December 16. 2002.


A Sbuoly ~n Coobradictions

Tile AllN observation is probably true in tel111S of the public's, rather ~ha n journallsts; access to off!;cia!il i nformation, 51 nee many g:Q\I!\emment ag:endes a lie a~raid ro incur the displeasUi re of the medial ,espooalily the Ma nllta~ based newspapers end such org!ani!zal:ions as the IPCIJJ l:Ihey ,ev,entuall'yr iif not readifry, release requested in'fomnation.

This is not the' case' when ordinary citizens such as members of NGOs l1eque,st the release of offidal iinfQrmalt~on", Even pubUc documents !lIke police blotters have been described by tile police as "da,ssified" when journeltsm students request access, In some cases, as Chua notes, students' requests for lili1lfOll'mCitionare either denied, or answered with interminable delays",

ATIN has drafted am iinfomnation ad for the consideration ot the PhiliippTn'€!

Cong ress, ''The problem (o'f info rmstton being withhe1ld) ls more acute wi!:h regard to lnfurmaticn that does not form part of the data and reports that .government ag:enci:es ro'utinellY publlsh or make elvalilable to ~l1e public, RSCluestTng such documents, records and data from some 90vemment offices is frequently met with ijnalcblonj excuses, referrals, or outright rejedlon ."

One, reason is that much of the IPlhiliippine pub:lic "still I conslderts) access to infmmartiion a priivillege."The media practice ofoLliltivatirng exduslve sources of government informati:on, says ATtIN, in fact "'worsens the problem, for it: perpetuates the system of relyiingl on lnfcrmaticn leaks; for viml matters to be brought to the peopI1efsattentiol1."

The recourse of going to court to compel access is not a n answer;. says ATIN; because th.e information required is not immediately made availlable, and what happens is that the value of the information has been diminished by the time the courts order its release.

It is necessary, ar'9l.les Al1NJ to deter viiolations of 'the freedom to ili1lro.llmaJtion, and 00' darify through ~alw ~he' eX"emiPlDions to tile enjoyment o,f the righrt~

"Legis1lati on/,ar:gILlles ATIN further., is needed "to put in place a sim pie, speedy and effedbiv€ means of enforolUlgli:he right to iin~ormation ... [a,"d] to prcvide unforrn amd1tions and procedures in Qbtailli1~ng access to official i nfi:mmatlioUl.."


PRESS FREEDO~liIN TIHE PIH[ILTPPIN ES A Study ilnComradicl:lot1ls

i'Leglis:lation can provide a dear pens Ity for the un'l,awlllllll de ni,a ~ of access to offidall ~li1formation/' continues ATIN. At the same timet a Freedom of lnforrnetlon .Act can deTi ne the: sec p€ of the gUcll1l1ntee rather than leevl ng the tssue up to the interpretation of govern me nt agencies, some of which are II ibera ~ in thel r interpretation wlh~ lie others are more restrlctlve,

ATIN's d rafl: of l'An Acroo Ensure Public Access to, Official ]nrormail:i:QI!"I and FOr Othelr PiLI rposes," has been submitted to the HOUSlE! of Representabives before where it is up for discussion,

The drnfti: .Act requl res ,every govemmentagency to ~eep and! ma~ Ii1Ita in records win iich the pulb:liic ca Iili access, specifyi ng that certain records may not be destroyed r specmca 1'1 't those pertali n1 ng to govern ment loan sand glU!i:lrallllt~e5;. govemment contracts eMc:eeding NO mill~on; the declaration c,f assets, Ilia~Hlties, and net worth! required of governlment officials and em plovees: investigatioli1ls of graft and corrupt practlces by public officers; and any others where srglniil\icalrllt publk int-erest: is invOlved, or ma¥ be i rwolved,

The Act else requ~ res ~very government body to provide the publ ie ~ nformati:on a bout its operations, its powers and functions, theservlces it dell lvers, its proqrarns, projects and pertorrna nee targets and accom piishments1 ltihe means through which the public can patti:cipate 1 n po!li:cy formutatlon, its record-keeplnq system, and deteils of the eontracts ~ nto which it enlters.

Under tbeAct, government agencies are mel ndatedto me ke avai la ble to the pubUc i.n:fi:wmalt~on on a I most '~h::ty aspect of the~r operstlons, pol icies, structure and transactions, on the record's in th:eilr clUisoody air u n der thei r control,

IFu rthelj. .govem rnent bod les ar-e requ i red to d lsclose to the pub~k; i nrorm:ablon n(ijtexp~i:c~tly exern ptsd by th€l Act and which poses possilb:le harm to the pulblliiclS hea,lthir the ellWironmentl or any ether matter thaltaffects the pub~ lc i t1It-elrest

The Act else specifies [he coli1;dlil:iolt1lsi n which agovem ment agelrilCY Garll d€lny acosss, ·a mong them the Pres.ldenit's decla ration throug han exeoutive order that d! ilsdosllne may damage nail:bnall seeu fity. This may, howeve~, be



PRESS FlRJEE!DOM: IN TIHE PHIl1PPIN 1:5 A Study il'l (:.ontradictlol1ls

dhaHenged before ~he Su preme COLI rt, Neiither can records on ong'oing ilnvestigations be released when disclos IIJre wou lid i nterfere w ~th the' prooeed'l ngs" ooprlVe a person of a faiili mal, disdose the ~delf"ltity of ,a' o:mfident:ial source, or en:dalnger tine life and safety of law ,enforce ment personnel,

The ,Act would creete a INaUonal Information Commission ,charged Wlith formulating a national infonmal:ion progr,am and establishing links with alii g:O¥emment Ibodies to monitor and report on their implernentedon of the Actf among others, The Commission willi 00' an independent body whose member's will be nornlretedand appointed onlly afffir open hearings. The' Comm ission and the Reglional In~ormartion Offices u nder it are 9 lven VEiS,t powersl indlud~ngl the authority to cedare persons 'in mnt-empt1;lInd to summon parties to an jlssU'e involVing access to informati0l11 as well as impose fines ,0 nd pena lnes,

The Act also dlarifies the scope of the cons1:iitutionall guarantee of access to informetion and imposes fines and prison termsfor its vio,I'ati;on.




,At diffi:!r:ent periods of Phiilippill1le history, Fm p~na joy'r,nallilsts have, re;portedl on government ami chocked misconduct and wrongdoing in higih plaoes. Sinoe the blPPU ng of tihe M'arcos di:ctat-o,rshi P, the press in the !Philippines has, continued to use democratic space 00' examine and inv,estll9ate cases of corruption iii publ le office. But the same press has a 1'50, been subject of scandal a no controversy, There has been a buse of press fr,eedom as newspapers end news programs, target ~a'rg,er audiences with sensationalism and \\inro-1l:ainment." Various groups exert nnei1! influence en journalists in order [-0 manipul!alte the teilling ami r,e:portlng of news.

Fiilip:iinos have cometo realilZe how alii aspects of freedom need nurturing and safeguarding. Someti mes the free' press becomes its worst enemy as journalists and news organizations sell out the news a:genda, ignaril1gt the requl rements for accurnCYJ for fa lmess and ballance.

When the Center for Media freedom and RespolilfsiibUity (CMFR.) was orgarnized in 1989, it did nat use the term 'l'Iwatthdogl" of the press to describe its, function. But the wo:r1kof' OMIFR seeks to iinstii1butionalfIze internal checks on the abuse of! press freedom. CMFR lb@!leves that if the press. does not undertake self-regulation and self~coJTiecti:o:n, the press will lose credibility and public SiW'pport whichalre the~r strongest protection against offlc~a II government i nterferenoe,

PRESS FlRlEEDOM llNnl E PH1UPP1NES A S!I.tJdV In Contradlcbioos

CMFR~s €ll1lgegled in 211 range of aetlvltlesto:

• To protect and sbrengthen the free press as a "mar ,of democracy

" To establish a framewmkof resp:1nsibill iitya nd eth~cs ~ n the praetlce of the press

• Raisel'evels of competence for covel'ageof specelareas ,of news through moolia hailn~ng !n spe(ja~ ereessuch as mnHk:t resolution, issues of CiiVi ~ socf:ety

.. ':0 promote journa I isti:c: excellence

., To elilfjiClg e differenlt sectors of sooiety ~n bu~ ~cn ng up a free press in the Phi I ipp~nes


When 'CMIFR was orga nized ln the late ei:ghl:iles, the role O'f the pressn pollitics and development had not boon a:el!mowledgeci to ~he extent that it is FlOW remgni~edl. (:MlPR has demonstrated nlow the press irllvollves demoeretic developrn ent~f its practice ~ s rooted ~ n protessl 0 nail e~hics and with cnmpetence, Exel'dsed wi th out soda I respo nsi b~ ITtYI press freedom ls meanl~ngless, causing seIIHm porta neeand am)ganre in a community o~ media practltloners,

Ph iii pp,ine J O'Ulliin!8 I ism Review

SinQe 1990, CM fR has plll bllishecl ~he Philippine Journalism Revlew (P.l/lJ whiclhoon.rni,rili$ a periodic survey of news coverage and serves asa eontl nuing forum oncurrent media concerns, P}R ~s notjusta pu bl!ic2Itf:on, it is the result i()f a cOli1ltil'i! u ~ng rna nTI~oringl a:dnvity o'v acclUlr.CiCV, C04'1texl:r and belencejn Fl:SWS reports.

P1R is ed~tecll by no lessthan the former dean of the Un i'I,rersH:y of the Phill ipp:i nes 'CoUege of Ma,s:s Comm unication, sen lor journ2lIUst, and Taday cduml1!i~st l!UI~S \/. 'Ieedoro, Jr.

Jaiime V. On'gpi n .Awards foil' Exc'ellence in Jo urnal ism

In add~ti on b;) PJR, CMIFR promotes ililves~l;g:atiiv€!: r,eport~ng wiith ~he ]a~ nne V: Ong p~n Awards for I nrvestigative· JO!LJI rna Ili5m. Wh~ le PJf?s media monitor scores the faults and wealkniesses of coverage, the awards recog nizes good

PRESS FREEDOM IN THE PHlUPP[NES A Study in C{lntradijctiolls

work. The NO Awards, program serves asa memorial to recailithe' efforts of tlhe late Ja i me, v~ Ongpin to strenqthen the "altern'atifYe press" duning the Ilatter years of the IMarcos regi me.

As p.liOQ ram secretsrlat, OM PR each yea r conducts an independent sea nning, screening and jlUldigment process to search out the best irnwstlgative reports in the pa!5t year., In 2002, OMfR added a new calteg,ory, that of exp.tanamf\! r@l,xu;tlng", a, cle\le\oprnent that causoo the change of p,\"OgiBm name. Throuqh this category, CIMFR promotes mere straightforward explanations of developments., programs and process, controversies in the news, In this. ca1tegory~ the reporter does not have to un-cover some h ldden truth liin l'Oug h orig~ nal research, which inves'lilgatilve re,portirlgl does. Rather, the eXiplanaoory report. can piece toge~ther information that is out there, thereby diuifying' what is dlffiou It. to understand.

In 199'5, CMFR begaln the JVO Journallsm Semilrla~ wihlch brings together finalists, fur the JVOAD (lwards in a panel discussion of me best stories fur the year. This activity links the proglram with tne academic community tog,ether with IUlI'1liversity and ,college students, so they can be introduced to, the practice ofjounne llsm a nd to possiilJie role, models in the field.

'Citf.zenls, Press Councils

(lM'RR has started a naj;jiona~ effort to form re9iom311 O1tiizen Press Goundlls ~ n d irrerent pa rts of the coun1l:!)'. These ere desiQlned to ,eng a,ge the partioIpation ,of civil sadety members in addressmq publlic complaints and gnleva nees a.gai'l"l!S'[ the press"

·JolIJrrlallis:ts on AJert

Joumallists on. Allert: is a network ,of worlkii~ j:oomalisl:s assigned iii! dIfferent r'egliol1s ,of the country who have been trained to report on ,attadks on and threats to press, freedom according to, established lnternadonal standards. OM fiR serves es dearing neuse fur inrormation to the In1terlnail:iorna~ F~eedbm Expression eXdluan,ge (IFeX) and! Reporters Sans Fronderes (RSF), ,allld the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEA!PA), internatiDnal1 organiza1lions which, report on vl 0la1i.on5 of press freedom arou nd [he world a nd exert pressure mil belh:a I'f ofjourMllists under sIege.


CMFR now serves as seoretariat of OJ lalYBr ooaliti.OII1 of med la ,orga n lzatiollS, the Freedom Fund fur IFmpiltiloJoumaliists, Inc ~IFFlFJ~, wtniotn uses CMFR's database iin its advocacy a II1,d press freedom protection work.

Media and Pu'blli:c. Policy P·roglram

Thjs progr-am trains. ~he pressto cover poHcy news.

In tJhe Philippines and elsewhere, media fuilll In report on policy when it is s-ti II in the process of development Reporting fa iris to promote radonal debate about the pros and cons, to help citizens to understand pail icy opnons and the eonseq uent gains a ndlcsses involvedl ilil the di~rent cholcea, The press promotes good govemanoei3Jnd lIe£ponsi[bII',e citltzen partioi patten when it i rformsthe pubHc about pollicy issues, its formationes weUa,s. the planned implementation ,of ries!ullting programs or projects,

Tra~ning Progr.ams" Mee~ilngs,! a,nd Gonfs,rences.

CMIFR has dev·elbped trainingl programs in spedal areas 'of news oorverage

~ n the ·fbHbw;iing areas:

• Women ·a nd G@it1der/ Popu Ile1i:lon and Reproductive Heelth " Peace' and Conft~ot-Resolution (M~nd!ana.o)

• Issues, of 'Ciivi II Societ:y/NGOs

" The OrlmInal Justice Sys~em

• Media Ethics and Professionall standards

• b) Econo:m lc Intormetion

CMIFR provides h.ainiing assistance to other groups devel,oping media programs conducted by other groups, including the Phinppine Presslrusi:itute I(PPI), KlIpnsanan ng mga Brodkarstrer ngl Pililipl nas (KElP), Phi Ilippjne [Center for

- -

]investigative ]ounli3IUSm (PC]Jl)J. and the IEvellie, Javier Foundiati:()I1, ami,)li1,g


CMIFR mganirzes conferences and press forums on current iSSUeSi:t5 they arise, Firom 1997 to 2000" OMfR organflZed Ilroundtable meetinqs 011 the issues of Acc€Ss OJ Infu:nmatlon and Effed:iille Governance il1l ManilalJ Indonesial, lhailand, Cambodia; SingaporeJ and M1alaysial. CMFR is a founding member or'ganizatio:t1 of the regi:onal Southeast Asian IPn~9s Amance (SEAPA). It is a member ,of ~he Internatio:t1alll Freedom of Exp!'Iessione.Xdha nge (~FeX),


PRESS FREEOOM lIN TH c Fi:HlUPP]INES A study In ContradlcbiOflt5


CMFR depends on mUlndiamioli1<S, for most of lts projects, It has received gran1J:s from bne Ford Feu ndartiofllr the .Asia Foundetio n r t~;ecenter fur IntE!matio na I Private E nterprise, the Ja~ me V. Ongpi n Institute for Busil1ess and Government ,of the Ateneo de Manila University, and ~he Don Joaquin "(ll1illilo" Rooes Foundation. [it 21·150 seeks advertising supnortfcr it5]publicatiolns. Gontri butio:ns from cerporate and i n,d!Md'ua ~ fule'ndis support OJ wi:de ra nge a,f center a:dtivities,. OMFR rel~es on doretons to hel p cover non-prqjed: expenses s,udh as salanies, equipment 'upgrading,. and upkeep of other overhead costs,.

It relies on ell consorno m of funds to sustai r'II 'the d~ffloLl'lt wo:rk of media monitoring. A permanent staff' of four l"'esearci1erslwnirers, aU journalism grad uates, assures ,131 professionall evalluatian of case studies.


CMfR lIeceilvecl1DheCatho!l&c Mass Media Award for Public Servjce~n :1.993 and the Joaqu in "Chi no" Races Award iin 1998.

Meli nda Qu ~nlDs 00 Jesus is alfoundi ngt member orthe Boord of Directors of GMIFR She has served 2iIS executive diirecwr of OMfR. since 1989. Ms. de Jesus has wo rked as a jOILJl rna list 51 nee the seventies, writing as a col urnn i!St fur lleading newspapers in the Phiilipp:ines. She edited ]V llmes,, and lIarllas NewsWeekl~a leading\'altl!nnative"f publication in the movement agalinst IFerdi nand Marcos. In 19'85-1986, she WG:5 journal lst-l n-residence at the UIlTiVersity of Mkhigan in Arllnl Arbor and was a fellow at the Shorenst€lln Center for Press, Ptllitics and Publ~c Poncy at the John IF .. !Kennedy School af Government, H!C'illvard University. She was named Y;ear 2000 Benigno, S. Aquino, Jr. Felllow fur Prcfessional Development.

About S,E'APA



At hlB ndfull of journal lsts attending November 1997 Asia Pacific.lEcornomic Goope:rail:h::m (APEC) forum were d~SClUsslng the then-spreading eoo:t1Iomlc crisis O'VE)f breakRlrS:tina sma.U hotell in VancoiUlverr worlderi ngl Gut lcudabout where it wOiulcllead and wlhy it washalP'pen~ n:g.

At fDhe table werejournaHsts from 1Dhle Phn~ppines, Indonesla, IMallaysua, and Thailla nd, They 211 ~ ~u~lreed thart cornrptlon, lack cfacccu nita bn~ty end opaque business deaU inf]rS W€l"€!at the heart of trhe spreading financial g~oom . . Asn2!11n :ne1NSpapers, fDhey saf:d, had often ei~hietr fa~ led to wann, their readers or were prevenIOO from doillilg so by government regulatiioUlEMld self-Qeli1sorsih~p.

The l:ndbtilesnaniS-"annmlQl f~ern .Ahmadl T~IUilli k.a jouma'i ~st Vliiho, bad spent mar,€! ~na Ii1i three V,scus in, jaHfor pUlIb~ishillilg articles ariitical of then-President SlUrlal~e5:paired of'r?»e'lY gel:lJlngl to the bottom of mhe "New order" regime t!hia! had ShUlItte:md some news outlets and cawedl the ~ nciUlstry lnto fawn~ ng SU omissl:on. The Msllla"fsian reporter co'UlI!d soo .f€:w dlalile:liIg:es [1) the seifeensershl p of the Mahab'h'ir era .. The fii nlP'1 11105 and! the Thali enJoyed a ·~ree press but relt isolated from their colleagues 'in the ~ion, their medial often :SIUlsceptilble to p2lY~o,ffs a nd poUtical pressures.

"We need a W6¥ to protect au rselves from a II of this/' saki &Cavi 'C:hongldttavo:rn, the Executive Editm of the Bangkok Nation newspa peG a note o.f exasperation ~n his voice. "No!body else wU II do it. Tbls crisis can !1:e~p us do better. We~ need a III As~an olrg:anlzation 00' advanC€! press freedom."


Those at: the ta ble thalt moming (l)ulldi see the vall ue af what Kav'il was pro;posi l"iI.g. IIf,or toe Ibng, ftree press orga nlizatiOlnc$ IIh~ave sought to ,E!.xi:€!nd proted:iOfliS 1m the' 'Press ]n Asia ltncil !etisewhe~e' [n the developa ng worh:J from a bass ill1 the w~t. tHow mum better it woul~d 00 if joulnl'ila~iiSts in the regiorll took the lead 'i n fig hUng those ba,Wesl w~th 'Westeiliirli reporters, as all lies.

seen, ~f1 e organ i:zati,on discussecli in Vancoi!.wer beca mea rea ~ity. foUl ndee! in November 8,1'9918 in Bangkok witlMi the assistance ofr ~e Committe€!' WI Protect J'ounlCll iistsJ the WOrld Press freedom Com mitteeJ. and the FreOOlom Forum, the Southeast ASi~111l Piress AlllialrilOO (9EA.P'A) aims 00 Iunite ~m:leperildEnt jOUn1I!i\l nsts:' orgatnlizabion i mil the region inm a force fur adivoca:cy and! nU.lltu2!11 pro~scti:on. Wil:h members ]n the Phill ~ppi Illes, Thailiia nd, a nd lin deneslaa nd headquarters in Banglwk and an office in J'alkarta.1 SEAP,A, hes la~dI cut en ambltious to build a reglo:na~ nehvork to share informamloti. on atia:diks againstjo IUJma lists, promote press freedom and respc ~sibjllirty and hall'e:! giOverntm:ents responsibte [lOr ti1:eiir ,actio:riliS ag~:ii nstthe press ..

SEAlP'A is the first or;galnizati:on esta'bH5hed speciflcaHy 001 campa 19n ~or g~nulll"Le press.~l"OOdom il1l Southeast As~a. TIt gi,ves its member:s. ani opportunity to cui lei en the e:x:perienoe5 of the free presscountrles ~n the r'eQio r--the Phi I ip;pl nes, Iha iland a nd Indonesia--alnd to tne~ p expa nd the bounds rles of press freedom a m~:lng thei r more alUlIDno.riita rta n neigh bors in the' ,Ass,o.ei!atton of Southea!st ASi'!3 n Nal:io:rns.

N'otmo marry years agol tne press Tn ~fitis reg~on was ,often accused of :s~eepwalking throluglh sttml€S, wkl ng lts cues from d ictato:rial g:ovenn ments. The econom'c crisis ands;preading democra,tizatio n have changecl that s~ttJ1atbi on il1l rna nly countrie-s,witJh others sure to kI III ow . S EAPA's goo ~ is 11:0 be part of the process, 9 iVii ng protedio.nmUle! leca ~ press and niUI rturiinQ an €iliillvill"OlJ"Iment in which ths crucial :story no ~bn;ger goes unreperted,

SEAlPA members

Center for Media Freedom and Resporlcsi bUiW, Ph~ IlilP!p~nes IPhillilPpil1l€ Cenoor for [nvestigatilvi€!: J'oumallism

Thai JOl:lllna'l,isIs .AssociaUQIi'I

A~ liance of ][ndependent JoumalistsJ• Ilnldol'i!€sl!61

Institr!J.:[.t.e for the Studies on ,Free Filbw lof hlformartion, Indonesia