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Global Media Registry


Media has always been an essential component of the Filipinos’ struggle for freedom and democracy.

During the more than three centuries of Spanish colonization (1521-1898) the role of media as an instrument of dissent and reform was manifested in the newspaper, La Solidaridad, published and edited by Filipino students in Spain.

The spirit of nationalism and dissent in media continued during the American rule, which lasted almost half a century (1898-1946).

During the brief Japanese occupation (1941-1945), all newspapers, except a few which were used by Japanese invaders as their propaganda arms, ceased publication.

The post-war years were considered the golden age of Philippine media enjoying public trust with its strong reportage and sharp commentaries. Thus, it was no surprise that when Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, one his first acts was the closure of all media outfits.

But even during the darkest years of Philippine democracy, when media was tightly controlled by the government, people turned to alternative media such as the We Forum and Ang Pahayagang Malaya for exposés such as the fake war medals of Marcos Sr.

The dictator ordered the closure of We Forum and the arrest of the paper’s publishers and columnists.

The overthrow of Marcos Sr., through what was hailed as a People Power revolution, paved the way for the restoration of democracy in the country in February 1986 and the drafting of a new Constitution which guaranteed press freedom and the right of the people to information on matters of public concern.

Philippine media underwent another challenging period during the presidency of Rodrigo R. Duterte (2016-2022) when he pursued the shutdown of ABS-CBN through his politically-controlled Congress that did not renew the franchise of the country’s largest broadcast network; the filing of tax and libel charges against online media, Rappler; and verbal assaults against journalists.

Duterte is the only Philippine president who is facing murder charges before the Ombudsman for ordering the killing of a broadcast journalist.

While the Philippines is considered the freest press in Asia, it has also earned the reputation of being one of the deadliest. The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines has recorded 199 media workers killed since 1986.

Aside from death threats, the risks that Filipino journalists continue to face include libel suits, which is a criminal offense. Media practitioners also consider two legislations as dampeners to a meaningful environment of press freedom: the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

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