Grad Sch M230 Ethics & Legal Standards: 7pt-bonus, on prior restraint #universityofthephilippines #UPDiliman

For M230 Ethics & Legal Standards (Graduate School): For 7 points to be added to last week’s exam score: Illustrate the concept of prior restraint as discussed in class using cases of censorship (prior restraint) during the Marcos dictatorship 1972-1985 or up to Feb. 1986. Students may also include cases of  subsequent punishment [imprisonment of media practitioners (journalists, writers, broadcasters, filmmakers, etc.] which works as a form of prior restraint on others because of its “chilling effect”.  (do not use cases already taken up in class). Describe, narrate, or state the facts (one case/ situation/ incident only) in three to four paragraphs. (students who are shy and do not want to use their real names may hide under a pseudonym. Pls use the comments box below). Deadline: Monday 5pm. Available references include “The Philippine Press under Siege”, etc., accessible in the library.

5 thoughts on “Grad Sch M230 Ethics & Legal Standards: 7pt-bonus, on prior restraint #universityofthephilippines #UPDiliman

  1. October 1, 1972, right after the declaration of Martial Law, gossip columnists – George Sison and Amelita Reysio Cruz– of Manila Daily Bulletin were arrested and detained in Camp Crame as Luis Teodoro puts it “committed the unpardonable offense of making fun it.” George Sison, even during the pre-martial law years, exposed stories of the wealthiest societies in the country through his parents’ connections (Carlos Moran and Prissy Sison) through his column Social Climbing with the Conde de Makati in the weekly magazine Philippin Graphic owned by Luis Mauricio (also detained in Camp Crame). He used the code name Conde de Makati. Amelita Reysio-Cruz, also a gossip columnist in the same publication had a column Merry Go Round in which refered to the First lady as “You-Know-Who”.Reysio-Cruz also ‘angered’ Imelda over her writings in whom she nicknamed Imelda as ‘Imeldita’ and Imelda in turn, labeled her ‘Animalita’ (Mariano, 1995).

    Both exposed the alleged affair of the President Marcos and American actress Dovie Beam. They’ve arranged for a presscon wherein the actress went on and on about how the President has declared his love. The President demanded a news blackout in which he succeeded but then George was able to secure a copy. In the declaration of Martial Law, both were arrested. Amelita was detained for almost three months and released only due to illness. George was released after 93 days on New Year’s Day by Martin Ennais of Amnesty International but had to report to the administration three times a week for seven years. He was also barred from writing for any publication or appearing on tv programs and should not leave the Metro Manila area without permission.

    Making this an example of freedom from subsequent punishment as information / publication should be treated as privileged communication as matters of public interest being the President, His Lady and even the American actress has public officials and public figure, referring to the latter. The freedom of the press, at least, has a freedom to discuss matters of public concern without prior restraint or fear of subsequent punishment.



  2. On 21 September 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos officially declared Martial Law. Poverty, corruption and violence became widespread in the country. There was no freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other civil liberties. Marcos also ordered the arrest of those who went against his administration. Media organizations were shut down, and some publishers, editors, columnists, broadcasters and reporters arrested. Alfred McCoy in his book “Closer than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy” and in his speech “Dark Legacy” cites 3,257 extrajudicial killings, 35,000 torture victims, and 70,000 incarcerated during the Marcos years.
    Press freedom became the first victim of Martial Law. Anything said against the Marcos government, in whatever form, were stopped. Martial Law brought about a period of censorship and a complete rejection of any form of protest. There was therefore a need for other forms of communication to channel dissent and rally more people towards the cause. It was during this period that Philippine theater was taken out of the stage and into the streets. The “art” of the “elite” was then brought down to the masses. These efforts also shifted the language of Philippine theater from American English to Pilipino, marking the beginning of a new stage of development of drama in the country. Theater as a medium of communication is performative, with live actors acting out what the play wants to say to the audience. A performance puts the actors under risk of arrest when the content of the play is deemed by Martial Law authorities as inappropriate. Due to fear of the military under Marcos rule, drama groups became very cautious. But the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) took a bolder stance when it produced a number of protests plays during the Martial Law years including Lito Tiongson’s Walang Kamatayang Buhay ni Juan dela Cruz Alyas…

    One of the most notable arrest during Martial Law was that of the National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera. During Martial Law, Lumbera began writing librettos for musical theater. His works include Tales of the Manuvu; Rama, Hari; Nasa Puso ang Amerika; Bayani; Noli me Tangere: The Musical; and Hibik at Himagsik Nina Victoria Laktaw. Prior to that, Lumbera became a Chairman of an organization dedicated to politically engaged writing: Panulat para sa Kaunlaran ng Sambayanan (Writings for the Progress of the People), or PAKSA. Lumbera was arrested in January 1974 and was accused of subversion and made to sign papers. He was also subjected to intensive interrogation. He was sent to Ipil Rehabilitation Center, a prison camp inside Manila’s Fort Bonifacio. Like many of those in the camp, he had not been convicted of anything. The Marcos government therefore insisted that he was not a prisoner at all, but merely a detainee. On December that year Lumbera was freed when one of his students from Ateneo de Manila University, Cynthia Nograles, wrote to Gen. Fidel Ramos for his release.

    I cannot imagine myself living during the Martial Law days. Those days when there was no democracy, those days when there was no freedom, and no liberty to express ones’ ideas. What more if during those days the Internet already existed, it could have been a quiet Philippines in the world of social media. Martial Law indeed is “one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history.” At present, we may ventilate our thoughts either in oral form or in writing and these are fully protected by the fundamental law under a provision in the 1987 Constitution (Article IV, Section 9) which states: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press…”

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  3. It is not a secret to us, millennials that media and opposition personalities known to be critical against Marcos were taken to military camps for investigation and detention (Santos,, 2007). But in a time when press freedom was so subtly practiced, WE FORUM, an English-language weekly newspaper launched by Jose G. Burgos, Jr. remained critical. It became the lone effective opposition paper in 1977, five years after the declaration of Martial Law. Newspaper sellers never publicly displayed it—they would reach under the counter and fold it so small you could put it in your pocket (Burgos, 2000).

    The publication became a threat to the government so soldiers raided the newspaper’s offices on December 7, 1982, arrested Burgos and nine of his staff and padlocked the printing presses. This even more exposed the repressive nature of the Marcos regime. It triggered a revolt to the growing army of human rights defenders especially lawyers. With this, former senator Lorenzo M. Tanada and others led the defense for WE FORUM- arguing in a petition that “keeping the newspaper shuttered while it faced subversion charges was unconstitutional, as it constituted prior restraint.”

    It was rejected by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court so the lawyers went straight to the Supreme Court. Two years later, after persuading the tribunal that the warrant issued by the Metrocom was suspicious and defective, the Supreme Court struck down the raid as illegal (Fernandez, 2012).

    One thing is for sure: THE INDEPENDENT PRESS WAS SILENCED during these “dark years” of the Philippine press. Propaganda, underground publication, and subtle counterattack about the government through writings were the keys to survive. Perhaps, they are the only way to report the disenchantment of martial law.

    Reference list:
    cmfr-phil org media-ethics-responsibility/ethics/back-to-the-past-a-timeline-of-press-freedom
    cmfr-phil org/media-ethics-responsibility/ethics/being-a-reporter-during-martial-law
    freemedia awards/press-freedom-heroes/jose-burgos-jr
    interaksyon .com never-forget–30-years-after-the-we-forum-raid-the-philippine-press-relishes-a-lesson-on-freedom


  4. On December 7, 1982, the military arrested the editor-publisher of English Language newspaper “We Forum”. Jose Burgos Jr. along with the number staff writers, columnist and contributors. They were seized under a presidential order on charges of subversion and involvement in conspiracy to overthrow the Government.

    We Forum, a tabloid that was established in 1976 and that appeared three times a week, had become an outlet for writers of papers. It was ordered closed.Brig. Gen. Hamilton Dimaya, the Judge Advocate General, said: ”The state cannot stand timid while sinister forces are actively plotting to create an atmosphere favorable to a violent takeover of the Government.” According to the news, the government said that there was evidence that “We Forum” had links with the Communist Party of the Philippines; the new People’s Army, a Communist faction, and the Movement for a Free Philippines, based in the United States. An inquiry also found that “We Forum” had become an outlet not only for rightists, leftists and religious radicals living in the Philippines but also for expatriates.

    This is considered as an example of a case of Subsequent Punishment since “We Forum” has the motive to fight the administration of Marcos. Subsequent Punishment means punishing the purveyor of illegal speech after it is published. We Forum” published tabloid papers that have motive to overthrow the government. The Marcos administration restrained any form of newspaper article being published that has connection to the negative side of the Marcos administration. The press during the Marcos regime have no freedom to expose any unwanted deeds of the government. In some cases, a Media Advisory Council sent out instruction on what stories should not be used by the press. The government charged that Mr. Burgos and his companions were plotting to seize power by assassination and other violent means. In that case, under the Marcos adminisration, Jose Burgos Jr. along with the number staff writers, columnist and contributors are arrested and “We Forum” was closed down.


  5. Martial Law had been declared, Sept. 21, 1972, and soldiers had gone around Metro Manila, padlocking the offices of major newspapers and wire agencies. They all thought that no newspaper would be seeing print for a long time but by noon, the Philippine Express was out. Alice Colet Villadolid, a journalism professor and former New York Times correspondent, says it was understandable why the Express was allowed to publish at that time. The paper was, after all, owned by Roberto Benedicto, a Marcos ally.
    Among the immediate targets of the military for arrest were journalists and other media practitioners who shared one characteristics. All had been critical of the Marcos government, to some extent or the other, although two gossip columnists (Amelita Reysio-Cruz and George Sison) who were similarly thrown into Camp Crame had also committed the unpardonable offense of making fun it.
    Included in the Armed Forces of the Philippines “National List Of Target Personalities” were reporters, editors and columnists from the Manila Times (e.g., Rosalinda Galang), the Daily Mirorr (Amando Doronia), the Philippines Herald (Bobby Ordonez), the Manila Chronicle (Ernesto Granada), the Philippine News Service (Manuel Almario) the Evening News (e.g., Luis Beltran) and Taliba (Rolanda Fadul), at that time the only broadsheet in Filipino. Juan Mercado of the Press Foundation of Asia was also arrested.
    Writers from Graphic magazine (Luis R. Mauricio), Asia-Philippines Leader (Ninotchka Rosca), and the Philippines Free Press (Napoleon Rama) were also imprisoned at the Camp Crame Detention Center. Broadcasters from radio and television (Jose Mari Velez and Roger Arrienda) completed the list. With the arrests, all media organizations were also shut down. In the morning of September 23 people awoke without a newspaper on their doorsteps and with only the hiss of empty air over their radios.

    Four months before the declaration of Martial Law, when the newspapers had become critical of his administration, President Ferdinand Marcos had asked Benedicto, a friend and former classmate to publish a newspaper that would be supportive of the government.
    But the former Express editor in chief and now Malaya’s executive editor, Enrique “Pocholo” Romualdez, told PJR Reports that the paper was not put up to lash back at the administration’s critics. The Express was there to indicate and show that Marcos was not such a bad guy because he also did something for his country. The Express dominated the print media.



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