Philippines 3955
Photo by: Alena Yakusheva


Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of the Philippines
Region (Map name): Southeast Asia
Population: 82,841,518
Language(s): two official languages Filipino and English
Literacy rate: 94.6%
Area: 300,000 sq km
GDP: 74,733 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 42
Total Circulation: 4,711,000
Circulation per 1,000: 99
Circulation per 1,000: 99
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 3,498 (Pesos millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 16.30
Number of Television Stations: 31
Number of Television Sets: 3,700,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 44.7
Number of Cable Subscribers: 990,360
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 13.1
Number of Radio Stations: 659
Number of Radio Receivers: 11,500,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 138.8
Number of Individuals with Computers: 1,480,000
Computers per 1,000: 17.9
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 2,000,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 24.1

Background & General Characteristics

The Republic of the Philippines was under Spanish rule begining March 16, 1521, when Ferdinand Magellan landed on the island of Cebu and claimed it for Spain. In 1565 the first permanent Spanish settlement was founded, and later the islands received their name from Philip II of Spain.

In effect, Spanish rule ended in 1898 when the U.S. Navy's Commodore George Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet anchored in Manila Bay. In December 1898 the United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris, handing control of the Philippines over to the United States. Although Filipinos revolted against American rule, the United States oversaw the islands until the Philippines was granted its independence on July 4, 1946.

The archipelago that is the Republic of the Philippines covers around 300,000 square kilometers, of which 298,170 square kilometers is land. The waters of the South China Sea to the west, Philippine Sea to the east, Luzon Strait to the north and Celebes Sea to the south lap against the nation's 36,289 kilometers of coastline. The terrain is primarily mountainous, with coastal lowlands varying from narrow to extensive. Natural resources include metals such as gold, silver, copper, nickel and cobalt, plus timber, petroleum and salt. About 46 percent of the land was made up of forests and woodlands, according to 1993 estimates. Manila, the capital, has almost 10 million residents in the metropolitan area and is located on the island of Luzon.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Philippines had an estimated population of almost 83 million, of which about 40 percent lived below the poverty level, according to 1997 government estimates. The top 10 percent of the population held 39 percent of the income, while the bottom 10 percent held a paltry 1.5 percent. The majority of the 48 million Filipinos in the workforce were employed in agriculture (almost 40 percent), with 19.4 percent working in government and social services, 17.7 percent in service, 9.8 percent in manufacturing, 5.8 percent in construction, and 7.5 percent in other industries, according to 1998 estimates.

Life expectancy in 2001 was estimated at about 65 years for men, and 71 years for women. The 1995 estimated literacy rate (defined as those age 15 and over who can read and write) was high, at 95 percent for men; 94 percent for women.

The overwhelming majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholic (83 percent), with Protestants (9 percent), Muslim (5 percent), and Buddhists and others making up the remaining 3 percent. English and Filipino, based on the Tagalog dialect, are the two official languages, with around 85 dialects also spoken. Tagalog, Cebuano and Ilocano are perhaps the most prevalent of the dialects.

The 1987 Constitution sets up a presidential system of government with a bicameral Congress (Kongreso) consisting of a 24-seat Senate (Senado) and a 204-seat House of Representatives (Kapulungan Ng Mga Kinatawan). The president can appoint additional members to the House of Representatives, although the constitution prohibits more than 250 representatives. The president appoints justices to the Supreme Court upon recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council. The judiciary is independent.

Media Overview

Highs of the media's history in the islands include the Philippines' Constitution guaranteeing freedom of the press and the freedom of the press access to official documents. In contrast to these lofty ideals, the Philippines press from the time of its inception has faced American influence, confiscation of assets for those papers not among the ownership of a former leader, and mistrust of reporters due to shoddy reporting.

Newspapers were being published on board American ships as they first entered Manila Bay in 1898. The Bounding Billow was published on board Dewey's flag-ship, and other on-ship U.S. papers included the American Soldier, Freedom and the American, according to the Philippine Journalism Review. These early papers followed U.S. attempts to "civilize" the Filipinos. American journalists in the Philippines went so far as to characterize the natives as "little brown soldiers who enjoyed parading before the patient Americans," and as "a group of warlike tribes who will devour each other when American troops leave."

The Americans wasted no time in establishing a press system in the Philippines modeled on that of the one in place in the United States. The Manila Times published its first issue in October 1898, making it the first English-language newspaper in the islands. Newspapers published in the Philippines were under strong American influence and went so far as to champion the annexation of the islands by the United States. Among the newspapers taking this stance were La Democracia and Consolidacion Nacional. Among the papers holding out for independence were El Renacimiento, Muling Pagsilang, El Debate, La Opinion and Los Obreros.

Another influential newspaper was the Bulletin, which originally was established by H.G. Harris and Carson Taylor in 1900 as a shipping journal and to encourage shipping and commerce in the islands. The Bulletin used as its primary sources the news agencies Associated Press, United Press International and the Chicago Tribune Service. For its first three years the Bulletin was published free of charge; it became a full-fledged paper in 1912.

In 1917, Manuel Quezon purchased the Manila Times and held it for four years. Ownership changed hands a few times after that until the Times joined the press holdings of Alejandro Roces Sr. Among Roces' other newspapers at the time were Taliba, the Tribune and La Vanguardia.

Cable News, founded by Israel Putnam, was another renowned daily during the early part of the twentieth century. Later the paper joined with the American, and in 1920 the combined newspaper was purchased by Quezon.

Although founded on the principle of freedom of expression, newspapers in the Philippines were subjected to strict censorship by American military authorities, and later by American civilian administrators, according to the Philippine Journalism Review. Under Gen. Arthur McArthur, the military worked to keep propaganda against American forces out of the news as well as prevent communication between those opposing America's presence in the islands. Stories detailing resistance by Filipinos to American rule were suppressed, as well as stories that would help Filipinos learn what was happening beyond the Philippines' borders. Journalists were deported or imprisoned for exercising freedom of the press, and papers such as La Justicia, and the Cebuano newspaper El Nueva Dia, were suspended many times for championing nationalistic views.

Historians say El Renacimiento was the only true independent newspaper during these dark days, and its light was later extinguished by a libel case brought against the paper by an American official.

English-language newspapers dominated the press in the early part of the century until then Senate President Manuel Quezon established the Philippines Herald to represent the Filipino viewpoint in the fight for independence. In August 1920, disgruntled former Manila Times journalists left their jobs and formed the backbone of the Herald. Early staff members included Narciso Ramos, Antonio Escoda, Bernardo Garcia and Jose P. Bautista— names that would become among the most revered in the history of the Philippines' press.

The 1920s also saw the birth of English-language women's magazines, which were primarily the products of women's clubs. Women's Outlook was published 10 times a year and was the official publication of the Women's Club of Manila, according to the Philippine Journalism Review. Another prominent publication was Woman's World, the publication of the Philippine Association of University Women. In 1935 Woman's World joined Woman's Home Journal to become Woman's Home Journal World, and the combined magazine featured sections on food, fashion, beauty and gossip.

In April 1925, Alejandro Roces, who would also own the Manila Times and other papers, established the Tribune. Under the editorial leadership of Mauro Mendez, the Tribune tackled topics such as the alleged misuse of government funds; a plan to potentially cut the jobs of about 2,000 low-income government employees in order to save money; the merits of English being the language of instruction in schools; and a proposal to hand members of the House of Parliament a large lump sum for travel allowances, postage, stationery and clerical help with no accounting for how the money was spent. Mendez later transferred to the Herald and his journalistic attacks continued, this time venturing into topics such as peasant unrest in the 1930s, women's suffrage and the threat of Communism.

After the Philippines were granted independence, newspapers threw off their shackles and proceeded to write about wrongdoing in high places. Their motives may have been pure, but they tended to use unsubstantiated or one-source stories. As time went on, elite families took over newspaper ownership in Manila.

In 1972 then-President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law. He confiscated the assets of those newspapers not in his own coalition. Between 1972 and 1986, newspapers were under the rule of Marcos' friends, family members or others close to him. The press remained under these unfriendly conditions for 14 years.

The assassination of presidential hopeful Benigno ("Ninoy") Aquino Jr. in August 1983 united Filipinos, and eventually helped spur a return to a freer, more independent press. His growing unpopularity led Marcos to flee the country in 1986. After his departure the Commission on Good Government confiscated newspapers and their assets from Marcos' allies. The press rejoiced as it regained control; some newspapers were even returned to the families that had owned and operated them prior to Marcos' takeover.

By the early 1990s, there were about 30 daily papers of all sizes, types and political perspectives. News was offered by about a dozen English-language broadsheets, while around 14 tabloids—primarily in Tagalog and Cebuano—featured sensationalism as a staple. Papers were diverse, and four were published in Chinese.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, national newspapers numbered eight from a high of 22 in 1986, according to the World Press Review. Slightly more than 400 community newspapers, most weeklies or monthlies in English are found amid the nation's 7,100 islands. National dailies have circulations of between 10,000 and 400,000 while their provincial cousins have circulations between 500 and 45,000.

Grouped by circulation, there are about a dozen newspapers with a circulation between 100,000 and 300,000; about a dozen with a circulation between 50,000 and 100,000; three with circulation of between 25,000 and 50,000; one with circulation of between 10,000 and 25,000, and two with circulations below 10,000.

Publications are printed in a variety of languages. In English the three top are the Manila Bulletin (circulation of around 320,000), Philippines Star (222,900) and Philippines Inquirer (148,800). In Filipino they are People's Tonight (320,900), Pilipino Ngayaon (272,000) and Taliba (226,800). In Taglish, the top three are People's Journal (372,500), Headline Manila (105,100) and News Today (75,000). The top three Chinese papers are the World News (36,000), United Daily News (32,000) and China Times (30,000).

Economic Framework

The Philippines' economy is built primarily upon agriculture, light industry and services. About 40 percent of the population was living below the poverty line in 1997, according to U.S. government figures. The Philippines was making headway in growth and poverty reduction until the 1997 simultaneous shocks of an Asian financial crisis and the El Nino weather pattern. Growth domestic products (GDP) growth dropped to about -0.5 percent in 1998 from five percent in 1997, and then recovered to about three percent in 1999 and in 2000 to about four percent. In 2001 the Philippines' government hoped its GDP growth would hit a little more than three percent.

In an effort to keep pace with newly industrialized East Asian countries, the Philippine government has undertaken a strategy of improving infrastructure, boosting tax revenues through an overhauled tax system, a continued move toward deregulation and privatization of the economy, and increasing trade with regional nations.

Although estimates indicate poverty may have increased from 25.1 percent in 1997 to 27.8 percent in 1998, a recovery in 1999 is estimated to have reduced the rate to 26.3 percent. Further declines were expected in subsequent years.

Many believe the outlook for the future of the Philippine economy is good as recent administrations have opened up the economy through market-based policies and liberalization. Although the economy hit a few bumps amid scandals involving the Philippine Stock Exchange and ties between government officials and business, legislation in electronic commerce, banking reform and securities regulation is expected to improve the business climate.

Press Laws

Owing to American influence, much press ideals of the Philippines are based on those of the press in the United

States. The Philippine Constitution, Article 3, states "no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances." Section 7 guarantees the right of the people "to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitation as may be provided by law."

In the wake of terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization hosted a conference on Terrorism and the Media in Manila in May 2002. A resolution crafted by participants said, in part, that any strategy to address the threat of terrorism "must promote greater respect for freedom of expression and of the media, rather than imposing restrictions on these fundamental rights." In addition, the media has "both the right and a duty" to report on terrorism in the interest of the public's right to know.

State-Press Relations

The Philippines' press was modeled after that of the United States at the turn of the twentieth century. In its early days, the Filipino press was under the control and censorship of American military authorities, and later, American administrators.

In the 1920s and 1930s the press was characterized by a "high degree of professionalism," according to the Philippine Journalism Review. Journalists analyzed public issues and encouraged open debate.

Despite the law and lofty ideals of total press freedom, the press was repressed during the reign of Ferdinand Marcos, particularly after he declared martial law in 1972 and confiscated newspaper assets. In more recent times the press is subject to pressure from newspaper owners as they try to protect their interests, according to the World Press Review. Community papers face feuding political clans, "patronage politics," and resistance to change.

In an early 2002 report on the state of the press, Professor Luis Teodoro, executive editor of the Philippine Journalism Review, pointed out a lack of government regulation does not necessarily equal a free press, according to the Philippine's Business World. Teodoro called press laws "fairly liberal," but pointed out that newspapers are primarily driven by commercial and political interests, which often are tied to government interests. Vital to those interests, Teodoro said, is government favor or disfavor. Despite these things, he said, there still "exists a core of practitioners who detest the political and ideological limits set by the existing system and who hunger for a relevant journalism that owes its allegiance first— and foremost—to the Filipino people."

Debate abounds concerning if a free press and free economy can co-exist with economic growth. In recent years business owners have blamed the Philippines' slowing economy on the free press and the growing democracy. When one prominent businessman said the press should be gagged "for the sake of the economy," his view was opposed by President Gloria Arroyo who said "the cure might be worse than the sickness."

Yet even Arroyo has tied the media's hands. On May 29, 2001, Arroyo slapped a blackout on the media regarding the conflict between the army and Abu Sayyaf rebels in the southwest portion of the Philippines. Using military secrets as her justification, Arroyo said it was important to keep secrets to "surprise the enemy," according to Reporters Without Borders. She also accused journalists who had interviewed the rebels of "antipatriotic" acts, although an official later said reporters were not forbidden from entering that area of the nation. The Philippines media—perhaps surprisingly so for many journalists—was generally in favor with Arroyo's decision, as evidenced by editorials. An exception was Mindanao radio network Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), which said it would continue interviews with rebel leaders.

On June 6, 2001, the offices of the radio station dyHB were bombed. The blast wounded a guard and two passers-by when a wall around the building collapsed. The RMN station airs reports on organized crime, and the alleged complicity of police officers and soldiers in the area. However, the dyHB's managing editor said the attack was related to interviews with the rebel group after the government-imposed media blackout, according to Reporters Without Borders. Early police reports after the attack said the bomb used was of military origin.

Filipino journalists are not strangers to danger in the recent past. Since 1986 at least 39 journalists have been killed, according to information gathered by the International Press Institute. In 2001 three radio station employees were killed, placing the Philippines second only to Afghanistan for journalist deaths that year.

Among those killed in 2001 was Rolando Ureta, program director for dyKR radio station, an affiliate of Radio Mindanao. Ureta was shot on Jan. 3 while riding his motorcycle after airing his nightly program. Press reports after his murder told of his receiving death threats for his coverage of alleged political corruption and drug trafficking. On Feb. 24 DXID Radio commentator and Islamic Radio Broadcasting Network member Mohammad Yusop was shot and killed in the southern Philippines. On May 30 DXXL radio announcer Candelario Cayona was shot and killed. In 2000 he had angered police after airing interviews with members of Muslim extremist group.

On May 31, Joy Mortel, a reporter for the Mindoro Guardian, was shot several times and killed after an argument with two unidentified armed men in her home in Barangay Talabanhan, Occidental Mindoro Province. Although the motive for her killing is not clear, the police had not ruled out her journalism, which included the questioning of the finances of local cooperatives she had organized.

Another radio journalist was abducted in August 2001 and found blindfolded, dehydrated and badly beaten. The kidnappers allegedly were punishing him for reports on illegal logging, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities.

In August 2001, former President Joseph Estrada asked his lawyers sue the Daily Inquirer for publishing an interview with a soldier that implicated him and Senator Panfilo Lacson, chief of the national police, in a money laundering scandal. Before he was ousted from office, Estrada had asked his partisans to no longer buy advertising space in the Inquirer.

Yet the Philippines' press continues to expose wrongdoing. In 1989 nine Filipino journalists founded the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) as they realized that newspapers do not have the time, money or manpower to tackle investigations. PCIJ believes the media plays an important role in examining and strengthening democratic institutions, as well as be a catalyst for debate and consensus. To play its role, the media should provide citizens with the information necessary to make informed decisions.

PCIJ funds investigative pieces for both print and broadcast journalists, as well as puts out books and publishes an investigative reporting magazine. PCIJ organizes training seminars for journalists and provides training personnel for news organizations at home and in Southeast Asia. Over the past decade PCIJ has published almost 200 articles in Philippines print media, launched more than a dozen books and produced a handful of full-length documentaries.

A 13-person staff runs the PCIJ, and is headed by the executive director, who administers the day-to-day operations. The staff includes five journalists who write investigative reports and oversee components of the center's work. A researcher and librarian also are employed. Fellowships are offered to train and keep quality journalists in the Philippines, and fellowships are available for investigative reporting to full-time reporters, freelance journalists and academics.

PCIJ has gained clout in its less than 20 years of existence. When PCIJ reported on March 11, 1996, that the former health secretary was reportedly skimming off up to 40 percent on government contracts, he was forced to resign two weeks later. When in July 1995 PCIJ reported on the torture of two 12-year-old boys suspected of being involved in a kidnapping by the then-Presidential Anti-Crime Commission, the story was followed two days later by a probe of the incident. Charges were later filed against the commission. Other instances of PCIJ clout include a Senate investigation of the former house speaker for unpaid debts, and the resignation of a Supreme Court justice after a faked authorship of a legal decision in favor of a Philippines telecommunications giant.

However, the government has fought back. PCIJ wrote on Oct. 11, 1993, about an alleged presidential par-amour and her supposed influence on state affairs. Although only one newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ran the story, three days later the Securities and Exchange Commission took over a disputed one-third of its shares.


Although the Philippines' Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, that ideal has been subject to various forms of censorship throughout the history of the nation. Perhaps the most glaring example of censorship— although through use of libel laws—took place during the United States' time in the Philippines. The result of that case was the closing of a newspaper some considered legendary.

El Renacimiento was the lone independent newspaper in the early part of the twentieth century, along with its sister publication, Muling Pagsilang. El Renacimiento was sued for libel by then Secretary of the Interior Dean C. Worcester after the paper printed an editorial titled "Aves de Rapina" (Birds of Prey). Although Worcester was not identified by name and his office not mentioned, Worcester was allowed to prove through testimonial evidence that the editorial was aimed at him when it referred to a "vampire," "vulture" and "owl."

The Taft Commission's passing of strict libel laws in 1901 were so tightly enforced by the courts that criticizing a public official meant time in prison, and a fine so high (P3,000) it was considered a fortune for the times. When Worcester won his case, El Renacimiento 's publisher and editor were sentenced to jail (although in 1914 before they went to prison they were granted a full pardon by Governor General Francis Harrison) and El Renacimiento was closed.

As mentioned earlier, military officials under Gen. Arthur McArthur barred the Filipino press from printing articles against American forces, as well as stories thought to be communication between belligerents and their agents in other Asian countries. That censorship extended to not allowing stories which might alarm Americans on their home soil.

It took about two decades under the watchful Americans before Filipinos began to enjoy any sort of press freedom, according to the Philippine Journalism Review. Prior to that, Filipino journalists often were punished for stories seen as un-American. For satirizing Americans, Apolinario Mabini was among those imprisoned or banished, and publications such as La Justicia, and the Cebuano newspaper El Nueva Dia were suspended several times for their nationalistic views.

As mentioned earlier, in 2001 President Gloria Arroyo imposed a press blackout on the activities between the army and the rebel group Abu Sayyaf, and in August that same year, former President Joseph Estrada asked his lawyers to file suit against the Daily Inquirer for publishing an interview with a soldier implicating him and the chief of the national police in a money laundering scandal. The United States no longer controls the Philippines, but the threat of censorship has never left.

Broadcast Media

Since the Philippines are spread over a vast area and poverty is prevalent in outlying areas, radio is the more popular medium. Approximately 600 radio stations are found in the Philippines, of which 273 are AM, according to the Worldwide Press Review.

Television has cut into the popularity of newspapers, particularly in urban areas. Major television stations include ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.; GMA Network Inc.; Radio Philippines Network; Allied Broadcasting Corp.; Interisland Broadcasting Corp.; and People's Television Network, Inc.


Electronic Media

The Internet is increasing its role in Philippine journalism, as many print publications offer an online version of their product, including the Philippine Journalism Review ( ), which is published by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. A partial list of online publications includes the following: Balita News ( ) offers news from the Philippines News Agency, and is the homepage of the long-established Balita-L news digest; Bankaw News ( ), an online weekly featuring stories on Leyte, Samar and Biliran, plus opinions and features; Business World ), the online edition of Business Day ; Chinese Online Newspaper ( ), the Philippines' first Chinese online newspaper; Diaryo Pilipino ( ), based in Los Angeles, Calif., this is a weekly Filipino-American publication; Malaya ( ), the national newspaper covering news, sports, business, entertainment, living, travel and more. Other publications offer news of the Philippines to Filipinos no longer living in their homeland, such as Philippines Today ( ), which bills itself as the longest running, most widely read newspaper for Filipinos in Japan.

News Agencies

The Philippines has one news agency, the Philippine News Agency, which was established March 1, 1973, during the Marcos martial-law era. The Philippine News Agency calls itself on its Web site ) "The Biggest News Organization in the Philippines," and Philippines' first government-owned news agency.

Education and Training

Established in 1980, the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) in Manila is a non-stock, non-profit foundation for the management of communication and information for national development. Recently it has joined with other press organizations to present the Child-Friendly Newspaper and Journalist Awards, to honor those who serve as advocates for children's rights. It also offers graduate studies and online courses.

The University of the Philippines in Quezon City offers both bachelors' and masters' degrees in journalism and broadcast communication, among other communications offerings. The University of the Philippines Los Baños in Laguna offers degree programs in communications, including journalism.

The Philippines Press Institute (PPI) is a non-stock, nonprofit organization. Its principal aim, according to its Web site, is to promote ethical standards and provide opportunities for professional development of Filipino journalists. The institute was founded in 1964, went out of business for a period of years during the years of martial law, and reinstituted in 1987. It also represents the interests and concerns of the newspaper sector in the Philippines' media. Members include the major national and provincial daily and weekly newspapers, and news magazines. Membership is granted only by organizations, with individual memberships given only to honorary members and incorporators.

PPI organizes training and educational activities for the Filipino journalists, seeks to protect their rights and freedoms in their work, and creates opportunities for the development of journalists. PPI is governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees made up of editors and publishers from national and community publications.

PPI works in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF), and manages KAF's Annual Community Press Awards program for excellence in community journalism. PPI plans and implements regular seminars and workshops on writing and newspaper management, and coverage of special interest activities such as the environment, business and economy, health, science and technology, children's rights, women's issues and ethnic conflicts. PPI also publishes the Press Forum, a quarterly journal that chronicles events pertaining to the Philippines print media. It also publishes books and manuals by Filipino editors for journalists' use and for student reference.

Among its regular features, PPI conducts the "Newsmakers' Forum," an interaction between journalists and journalism students from the print and broadcast disciplines. It also presents "NewsMovies," full-length features concerning the media, journalists and their profession. PPI also has developed a Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct that sets parameters for journalists and sets the same ethical standards as similar codes for free presses around the world.


The Philippines' history in terms of a free press is a checkered past. In the beginning, the news was censored by the Americans. Later under the Americans, the Philippines press was open and free-wheeling before being reigned in when martial law was imposed under President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. After Marcos fled in 1986, the press threw off its shackles and returned to its aggressive reporting methods.

While established under the ideals of a free press, the Filipino media has often suffered censorship and pressure from governments. Although many journalists from nearby nations might envy the freedom of the Philippines' press, as recent as 2001 Filipino journalists were killed for their aggressive stances. As further testimony of the back-and-forth fight for a free press, President Gloria Arroyo has said that a free press is the right of its practitioners and critical to the operation of a democratic society. Later that same year, Arroyo instituted the media blackout on reporting the actions of rebel forces.

Clearly the battle for a truly free press continues in the Philippines, although with dozens of publications, radio stations, broadcast entities and their staffs in operation, the Philippines appears to have one of the better media climates in Southeast Asia.

Significant Dates

  • October 1898: The Manila Times becomes the first continually published, English-language daily newspaper in the Philippines.
  • December 1898: The Philippines are ceded to the United States by Spain.
  • 1900: H.G. Harris establishes the Bulletin, first published as a shipping journal. It became a full-fledged newspaper in 1912.
  • August 1920: Disgruntled employees leave the Manila Times because they believe the paper is misrep-resenting the view of the Filipino people. They start the Philippines Herald in order to give the Filipino people a more representative voice.
  • July 4, 1946: The Philippines attain their independence after being occupied by Japan during World War II.
  • 1964: The Philippine Press Institute is founded to advance the professional development of the Filipino journalist.
  • 1965: Ferdinand Marcos comes to power.
  • 1972: Marcos establishes martial law and confiscates newspapers.
  • 1986: Marcos' regime is ousted through the efforts of "People Power." Marcos flees the country.
  • 1989: The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism is founded.
  • 2001: President Joseph Estrada declared by Supreme Court as "unfit to rule" in the face of mass resignations from his government.. The Supreme Court administers the Oath of Office to Vice President Gloria Arroyo.
  • January to August 2001: Three broadcast journalists are killed by unidentified gunmen, allegedly due to the fashion in which they approached reports exposing corruption and illegal activities among government agencies.


Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct. The Philippine Press Institute. Available from .

Consular Reports. The U.S. State Department. Available from .

Country Study, the Philippines. The U.S. Library of Congress, 2002. Available from .

Encanto, Georgina R. "The Philippine Press Before World War II." In Philippine Journalism Review. Available from .

"The Manila Times Editorial Guidelines." In Manila Times. Available from .

"The Philippines," 2002. Available from .

"Philippines." Central Intelligence Agency. In The World Fact Book 2001. Available from .

"The Philippines." In The World Press Freedom Review, 2001. Available from .

"Philippines annual report 2002." Reporters Without Borders. Available from .

Philippines Journalism Review, June 2002. Available from .

"Resolution on Terrorism and Media." Southeast Asia Press Alliance, May 2, 2002. Available from .

Sison, Marites N. "Philippines: Elusive Access to Information." In World Press Review, December 2001, vol. 48, no. 12. Available from .

Brad Kadrich

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Thanks for the site. Its very informative. It provides me information for our advertising class.
Great research! Can I ask your source for the info written on the basic data part? Also, when was these stats taken?
Jhona G. Padilla
I am planning to study the effect of TV on the Philippine society. Do you have already an idea or report regarding this matter? thank you
Rxyrie Cruz
Hope thEre are some info 'bout the influence of western media in Philippine television
julie ann canopin
thanks for this site. its a big help for us students
I am originally from Cebu Philippines.I am working in my book, these book talked about poverty,strugle,and success. i would like to share my story to anyone.Ive been trying to find a connection to publish my Tell All Book. Any suggestions or recomendation?
Tesa Gulanes
Thank you for this. I was able to get a lot of important info about mass media in our country.
Actually I'm from Leyte. And our project was about the history of broadcast journalism in the Philippines. I'm so worried about that topic because I couldn't find any reference about that . I'm so very thankful in this site because of the informations.
I just want to ask what are the classifications of papers and how papers are circulated?

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