According to Raul Pertierra (2012), Philippine media is one of the oldest and having the most freedom in Asia. The “freest in Asia”, this is what Philippine called itself as and it means the media system are full with protection of press freedom which result Philippine as libertarian in media system. (Bisikleta productions, 2009) The aggressive character and lack of respects of its leading journalists is one of the things that known characteristics of Philippines press. For example, the prominent newspaper of Philippine which is Philippine Daily Inquirer often writes on the political affair and even the oppositional opinion. Besides that, The Daily Tribune also features in writing to attack the current government of Noynoy Aquino. (Raul Pertierra, 2012)
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According to Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (2011), Philippines features one of the freest and most boisterous media in Asia and is partially because of the strong protection of the freedom of media and expression from the Malolos Constitution of 1899 until the current Constitution. Under the Bill of Rights the Constitution, it assurances the freedom of expression and press freedom even encourages the right of every Filipinos to access to any information and documents in the possession of Philippines government agencies .
The government seldom censors the media even though it was known during President Estrada to remove advertising provision for newspapers critical of its policies. However, there is still a comparatively strict libel laws that restrain reporters from covering provocative issues. (Raul Pertierra, 2012) The meaning of libel under libel law in Philippines is not defined by the writer itself. The jurisprudence which has conduct the test to determine the meaning has conclude it as “words calculated to induce suspicion are sometimes more effective to destroy reputation than false charges directly made. Ironical and metaphorical language is a favored vehicle for slander. A charge is sufficient if the words are calculated to induce the hearers to suppose and understand that the person or persons against whom they were uttered were guilty of certain offenses, or are sufficient to impeach their honesty, virtue, or reputation, or to hold the person or persons up to public ridicule.”(Abogadomo.com, 2011)
The Philippine media has a multi-layered which harmonies existent of government and also private owned media. However, few large privately owned groups have dominated media ownership of Philippines. There is a network of state owned radio stations, many private radio and television stations and inevitably a large number of internet providers. For the printed media, the tabloids which published in Filipino language have accommodated a larger audience population. On the other hands, there is still broadsheets that are generally published in English and mainly read in Metro-Manila and some secondary cities. The national newspapers for Philippines are published in English and owned by prominent families with powerful connections to broad sectors of society. They are generally conservative. Regional newspapers are published in English or in the vernacular and mostly restrict themselves to local events and personalities. There are several popular tabloids written in Filipino and therefore more accessible to the ordinary citizen but they rarely comment on serious national matters. There are no major Left wing publications apart from partisan pamphlets. Generally, the print media, while highly regarded, is limited to middle class urban readers.
Due to the variety of media owned by government or private sector, there is hard for either Private Public Relations Practitioners or Government Public Relations Practitioners who responsible to communicate with public to have a 2-ways communication. Tools that used to communicate with target audience is very important, however Philippines has a complex system that consists of two different ownerships.
Although the Philippines media is free but it is also highly committed to a political party. Politicians with interests to get public support make sure that they have contact to media reportage even using the tactics such as direct ownership or through political or economic means. For public, reading diverse newspapers always giving the feel of referring to different realities.
The government would not contribute any effort to help increase the regional distribution of newspapers which means they are not agree with the aim of supporting a diverse media landscape. Moreover, there is low level of government investment and subsidy for public sector broadcasters and they are prohibited of publishing advertising as the sources of their revenue.
In Philippines, radio is the most dependable channel for disseminate news, information and entertainment especially in rural area. However, television has a large popularity in the prosperous place such as towns and cities. The satellite function increases the coverage of the television in rural areas and signals are less affected by the mountainous topography. But, the government owned radio station and television relatively low audiences even though private broadcasting and radio station showing growing in the Philippines.
For newspaper, there is no authoritative and regularly published newspaper circulation figure and the most popular national dailies, such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer claim to sell more than 250,000 copies each. “Many newspapers were founded by journalists with a political and nationalist agenda. However, most have been taken over by powerful families linked to strong commercial interests.” ( Infoasaid, 2014, pg 18)
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.
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 obvious example of censorship which took place during the United States’ time in the Philippines which is through the use of libel laws. The result of that case was the closing of a newspaper some considered legendary.
The press freedom gives the pros and cons for the Public Relations Practices. The pros include Public Relations Practitioners are not restraint for the works they want to disseminate to their public. However, the quality of media has destroyed because too many ownership. In addition, government status affected because the free to discuss political matters. It directly affects the status of government public relations practitioner.
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In conclusion, there are clearly media characteristics of Philippines which are libertarian but under some control by laws and regulations implemented by government and multi-layered which harmonies existent of government and also private owned media. These two characteristics have shown a big influence toward the practice of Public Relations in Philippines.
Pertierra, R. (2012). The New Media, Society & Politics in the Philippines. Retrieved from http://www.fesmedia-asia.org/uploads/media/PHILIPPINES_2012.pdf
Abogadomo.com. (2011). Libel Laws of the Philippines. Retrieved from http://www.abogadomo.com/law-professor/law-professor-archives/libel-laws-of-the-philippines
Mikeeesportuno. (2013). Libel in the Philippines. Retrieved from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Libel-In-The-Philippines-1489264.html
BBC News. (2013). Philippines profile. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-15527446
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. (2011). Asian Media Barometer. Retrived from http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/iez/08746.pdf
Infoasaid. (2012) Philippines Media and Telecoms Landscape Guide. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Swen/Downloads/Media%20&%20Telecoms%20Landscape%20Guide%20-%20Philippines%20(1).pdf
Bisikleta productions. (2009) Dissecting The Philippine Mass Media Today. Retrieved from http://bisikletaproductions.blogspot.com/2009/09/dissecting-philippine-mass-media-today.html
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