M230 Media Ethics and Legal Standards Graduate School commemorative activity Marcos Martial Law @50 (in line with the U.P. President’s Memo on #NeverAgain #NeverForget )

M230 Media Ethics and Legal Standards Graduate School commemorative activity Marcos Martial Law @50 (in line with the U.P. President’s Memo on #NeverAgain #NeverForget ) Deadline Saturday 1pm Sept. 24, 2022.

According to historians, Marcos announced the declaration of martial law on Sept. 23 then shut down all media organizations and arrested journalists, editors, writers, students, teachers, lawyers, laborers, peasants, in their thousands, in the next days.

Scroll down the Comment section for the commemorative activity of class members, deadline Sept. 24, 2022 at 1pm.

8 thoughts on “M230 Media Ethics and Legal Standards Graduate School commemorative activity Marcos Martial Law @50 (in line with the U.P. President’s Memo on #NeverAgain #NeverForget )

  1. My chosen article is written by David Rosenberg published in the “Pacific Affairs” journal. It is entitled “Civil Liberties and the Mass Media in the Philippines” written in 1974. It has chronicled the ordeals of media networks from all platforms upon the declaration of martial law in 1972. It is a present observation of how mass media dealt with the most stringent rule imposed in the land. The author also highlighted how these institutions lost their basic rights.

    When Rosenberg gave his observations on the first two years of the press during the martial period, he gave us fresh insights into what truly transpired. This included the instant shut down of every major newspaper, radio, television station and foreign news agencies on the eve the declaration was made. There was control over media where the Palace and the Department of National Defense inspected every station. Outspoken critics were tagged as conspiring to topple the government or so they were arrested.

    The press, as Rosenberg pictured out, as “unstable and polarized” may not be enough to describe how journalists were feeling at that time. Add to that being blamed as contributors to subversive teachings with no basis. Technically speaking, the government had no legal basis to shutdown media not alone ransack it. The law does not provide for suspicions as a grounds to cease operations. Even the claim of media threatening national security is based on hearsay and therefore not admissible to justify their temporary closure. There is also a legal implication with authorities entering these stations without consent or a court order.

    It has also showed how media survival was dependent on loyalty. It defeated the purposes of having watchdogs in society when those who wanted to become independent were censored. The whole theatrics of military rule versus media transgressed the Filipino’s right to a free press. There was no room for criticism which was a feature of democracy.

    Moving forward, the martial law rule may have been lifted but the same problem persists today for those in the media. Those in power can find ways to shutdown a network and then the narrative for everyone to believe. Truth is diffused to an audience where they get to choose which for them is right.

    Rosenberg, D. A. (1974). Civil Liberties and the Mass Media under Martial Law in the Philippines. Pacific Affairs, 47(4), 472–484. https://doi.org/10.2307/2755948


  2. I chose a two-part article from the Human Rights Violations Victims’ Memorial Commission’s page entitled, The Marcos Regime and the Making of a Subservient Philippine Press. The articles comprehensively detail the state of journalism during this dark chapter of our history. Major plotlines include the violation of the Filipino’s right to information, the government’s hypersensitivity to criticism, and the unlawful shutdown of many news organizations and the silencing of many journalists. All these paved the way to an enraged mass media who eventually fought back in many ways to regain our democracy.

    The relevance of these articles with regards to media ethics and legal standards incorporates the importance of the rule of law in preserving human rights – something which was instantly taken away by the dictatorship during the time. Of course paramount, too, is tackling the issue on our right to information and the issue of press freedom. Examples set by Magsanoc, Dingcong, de Castro, Siao, Chammag, and other journalists branded subservient by the government also reminded us of how journalists are more than capable of fighting such crackdowns as we continue to uphold the noble tenets of our profession.

    What I find important in these types of articles is not only how they give accurate reminders of what it is like to have your rights taken away. It tells us not to be complacent when we see red flags already. As Filipino journalists continue to experience persecution and live dangerous lives on the line of duty, we can only hope that we have learned from the lessons of Martial Law, not only for the sake of journalists but for all Filipinos as well. Lastly, through these reminders, it also tells us that there is hope in the voice of the people. The Philippine press is but part of the equation. Through an understanding of the law and ethics, we understand due process and how that can empower us in our fight against tyranny and oppression.



  3. BREAKING THE NEWS: Silencing the Media Under Martial Law
    Summary and Reflection -BJC
    This is a summary of Breaking the News: Silencing the Media Under Martial Law.
    The article begins by impressing the importance of the media in a democracy. The media creates an informed populace while at the same time serves as a watchdog to police the government from abuses of power. Being fully aware of this, Ferdinand Marcos was quick to silence media outlets a mere week after his declaration of Martial Law and create his own propaganda machine that was completely under his thumb, doling out his truth or more precisely, his version of the truth. He accomplished this via the Letter of Instruction No. 1 which authorized the military to take control of major media outlets during the time including ABS-CBN, Channel 5, and several radio stations. He accused these media outlets of Communist involvement and subversive activities which is also being done today by Marcos supporters. Several key journalists were imprisoned within the same week including Teodoro Locsin Sr., Chino Roces, Amando Doronila, Luis Beltran, Maximo Soliven, Juan Mercado, and Luis Mauricio. The only media outlets which were allowed to operate were controlled by Marcos Cronies (Philippined Daily Express, Kanlaon Broadcasting System, and several television channels). The article reports that Primitivo Mijares served as the Chairman of the Media Advisory Council, Marcos’s top propagandist. Mijares eventually withdrew his allegiance to the dictatorship and confessed in a memo to the US House International Organizations how they silenced the media and fabricated stories that extolled the government’s false successes. Included in the memo was how Marcos created a context of danger in order to rationalize Martial Law to the extent of ordering the military to plant explosives in civilian areas. Mijares became a potent thorn on Marcos’s side, publishing articles that attacked the government.
    It seems that history is currently repeating itself. The son (Bongbong) is following in his father’s footsteps by seizing the media and giving it to his collaborators, a prime example is Villar taking over ABS-CBN. The Bongbong Marcos regime has also supported several media outlets of his own including SMNI which is biased to the government. With the boom of social media, the government has also recruited trolls to discredit critical media outlets and bolster his name. This is a far cry from an ethical media which must be unbiased, which must be for the people and not for one person.
    We are currently in a war for the truth. Its definition held in a tug-of-war between the government and courageous journalists who continue to serve the people as informers and watchdogs. As the article mentioned, the media is vital to democracy, to freedom. A government controlled mediascape makes for an unchecked government. This can only lead to the oppression of the people, to abuses, to the subjugation of the Filipino people. Though there are media practitioners who continue to fight for the truth, becoming new Mijareses in the second coming of the Marcoses, we the populace must also do our part. We must be judicious when confronting the news, consider if what is being said is factual, if it is in the service of information or the service of those who are desperate to maintain power. We are surrounded by the media and must fight for our right of a free media in whatever way we can. Let us be vocal when confronted with a lie. Once they control the truth, they will completely control the nation.

    Worksofheart. (n.d.). Breaking the news: Silencing the media under martial law. Martial Law Museum. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://martiallawmuseum.ph/magaral/breaking-the-news-silencing-the-media-under-martial-law/


  4. The article I chose was the article by the Martial Law Museum, a project of the Ateneo De Manila University, detailing the silencing of media during the proclamation of Martial Law. It recalled how the Marcos administration took control of media corporations and neutralized journalists due to engagement in “subversive activities.”

    The focus of the article was the declaration of Letter of Instruction No. 1 under Proclamation No. 1081. Marcos accused mainstream media outlets of conspiring to overthrow the government by propagating news that he deemed “slanted and overly exaggerated” and discrediting the duly constituted authorities. The only media corporations allowed to operate were those owned by his cronies. The letter of instruction, I believe, was personal–it was Marcos’ way of protecting his power and subdue potential threats to his ruling. Media is a powerful tool to expose the wrongs and to educate the unaware, which is why Marcos made sure to silence media first to blind the people of his atrocities and corruption. He also silenced journalists and media practitioners by means of torture or death. The instruction was a violation of the people’s right to free speech, expression, and free press (Article III, Section 4). The declaration of Martial law does not override the constitution, which makes the instruction Marcos’ first demonstration of totalitarianism.

    On top of the instruction, Marcos made sure he dictated and censored every content broadcasted. Primitivo Mijares, Chairman of the Media Advisory Council, became Marcos’ extended hand in censorship. He later confessed his role in silencing media content and fabricating a hostile atmosphere to justify the declaration of Martial Law. As journalists, it is important to uphold integrity at all times and not become puppets of the government’s propaganda. Let us always side with the truth and expose the injustices of the government.

    Source: https://martiallawmuseum.ph/magaral/breaking-the-news-silencing-the-media-under-martial-law/


  5. I chose “The Philippine Press During the Martial Law Years: What Are the Boundaries of Freedom?”, written by Mila Astorga-Garcia for Business Day’s February 1983 special supplement “A Decade in Perspective”. In this article, Astorga-Garcia recounted the changes the Philippine press had gone through during that bleak era and the traumas left behind by the crippling oppression of journalists and media outlets. She highlighted why the Philippine press used to be regarded as the liveliest and freest in Asia prior Proclamation No. 1081 and how corruption, censorship, and intimidation pushed the industry in retrograde.

    In relation to media ethics and legal standards, Astorga-Garcia has well established the existence of moral tight spots in media before and during martial law. Since media outlets and publications were owned by moneyed individuals and corporations, the journalists’ freedom to criticize and report anything to serve the interest of the public would sometimes be at risk of being tainted by their employer’s vested interests and political connections. Upon the declaration of martial law, the clampdown on media outlets confirms the potential payoff of distorting reportage with vested political and economic interests—broadcast networks and publications owned by Marcos’ cronies were spared.

    Astorga-Garcia also mentioned press corruption in the mid-1970s when government agencies, public officials, or even businessmen would offer journalists grease payment or keep them in secret payrolls in exchange of “good beats” about them. I think this has been a persistent ethical dilemma among the members of the press as it is pinned on the notorious precarity of being a journalist.

    These, apart from the issues on press freedom and harassment of journalists, are just some of the things that menaced the Philippine press during the martial law era and the scars they have left are, unfortunately, still the same wounds that agonize us today. I think whether we are under martial law or not, ruled by the father or his son, journalists should adhere to the ethical standards, live and work by the principles of being the Fourth Estate, as our bias should only be to the truth and our highest obligation is to serve the public.

    Astorga-Garcia, M. (2019). The Philippine Press during the Martial Law Years: What Are the Boundaries of Freedom. In M. C. P. Doyo (Ed.), Press freedom under siege reportage that challenged the Marcos dictatorship (pp. 153–182). essay, University of the Philippines Press.


  6. The declaration of Marcos’ Martial Law gave threats and silenced the media and the free press by curtailing its freedom of expression and information. Several journalists were put to jail and tortured. Radio, television, newspapers, even religious publications were ordered to shut down. Marcos tagged some networks as subversive and linked to the communist group. Democracy was greatly affected. Media organizations were deprived and stripped of their powers to freely express and inform the public. Democracy was badly affected after the media was targeted as stated in Rappler’s article titled How Marcos silenced, controlled the media during Martial Law by Camille Elemia.

    Media ethics and Legal Standards play a vital role here because the press freedom under Martial Law is the most tragic example of impunity happened in the Philippine History where injustices, unfair treatment to the media and the free press was done when the military and the police shut down TV networks, radio stations and publishing houses.

    Several journalists were arrested without due process including tv network owners. Student journalists were abducted, killed tortured while some were never found. Human rights violations were not given justice. It is important to learn this today because journalists continue to receive threats while some disappeared after writing the truth about the government. Threats to journalists are still rampant these days.

    Not only that, but Media Ethics was also abused under the hostile government. When Martial Law was declared, the media which were owned by Marcos’s cronies and allies were the only ones who were allowed to air. Only mosquito press served the people bravely in publishing secretly. This violated the media ethics that media should be unbiased and should practice the code of ethics.

    With the deprivation of press freedom under Martial Law, legal issues in the media have been encountered especially with the morality and the government’s threat to the watchdog of the government. The journalists were deprived of their rights, no civil rights were honored in this period. I think this can still be viewed today as necessary to study since it should follow the code of ethics and civil rights that were not exercised at the time.

    Human rights were not given its proper meaning, no commentaries, editorial or any form of opinions were allowed to be aired and published. Media Ethics and Legal Standards is relevant here since it will help resolve ethical problems and hard cases that arise like the ABS CBN shutdown which was first shut by the dictator in 1972. It relates to Media Ethics and Legal Standards because it gives media censorship like what Duterte did with Rappler and other journalists in suppressing their freedom to inform and criticize the government.

    -Maria Adelaida D. Calayag

    FAST FACTS: How Marcos silenced, controlled the media during Martial Law (rappler.com)
    PressReader.com – Digital Newspaper & Magazine Subscriptions


  7. Constant threats through phone calls. Men harassing the office by parading their guns in front of their house-turned-office. The proliferation of fake copies of the newspaper to undermine its credibility. All these plagued the Burgoses’ WE Forum and Ang Pahayagang Malaya in the late ’70s and the early ’90s when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s attention was focused on silencing its critics.
    The erosion of press freedom during the martial law was well-documented, but “Portraits of Mosquito Press” offers a closer look into one brave family and their newspaper. WE Forum and Ang Pahayagang Malaya sought to inform the public of the human rights violations and govenrment anomalies while the mainstream press was under Marcos’ chokehold. Good editors were employed in Hanz Menzi’s Bulletin, the Benedictos’ Philippines Daily Express, and Cocoy Romualdez’ Philippines Journal Inc., but they were useless against these crony press’ management.
    I imagine it took more than just an impossible amount of courage for Jose Burgos Jr. to leave the Philippine National Oil Company as an information officer to put up the two publications that would soon do what the rest of the mainstream publication should have done already. It was first ingredient to what he deemed was necessary for a free press to thrive—people asserting their rights. And assert their rights they did as they went on to publish articles debunking Marcos’ lies.
    Since Marcos, presidents have also been going by the former dictator’s playbook. Rodrigo Duterte and his super majority in Congress targeted ABS-CBN and Rappler, two of his fiercest critics; Noynoy Aquino championed a free press, but criticized it every chance he had; and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was negligent in addressing impunity during her term.
    The incumbent president, namesake of the former dictator, will benefit from all the seeds planted during Duterte’s term—aside from the fear of being shut down, there’s also the Anti-Terror Act, which be used against anyone whose line of argument won’t sound tame for his government.
    What then should the press’ main goal during this (allow me to call it) second Marcosian Era? There should be a collaboration amongst media companies in the fight against disinformation. Social media has been used to spread government lies (just like Marcos Sr. did with his crony press) and it is apparent that the lies are winning. The press should criticize the big platforms where the lies easily propagate. Surely, a little tweak in the algorithm will solve some, if not most, of the problems. After all, of all the goals of journalism, the priority should be arriving at the truth, and if the medium won’t permit that, then it’s definitely worthwhile to focus the attention to that first.
    Just like WE Forum and Ang Pahayagang Malaya, the rise of the alternative press should also be encouraged. Collaboration should also include all the corporate media helping the alternative media gain readership and acquiring training. Government manipulations can easily penetrate the mainstream media, but the alternative press is there to fill in the gaps with less “objective” reporting.

    Burgos, J.L. (2015) “Portrait of a Mosquito Press”


  8. In the article titled The Philippine Press Under Martial Law, Lent (1974) gave a detailed account not only of the time when martial law was declared but also responsibly included its prelude and aftermath. Highlighting how media was cited to be the primary enemy and target, Lent exposed narratives on the ways in which media personnel learned of the blow the Marcos government had inflicted on the Philippine press and how Filipinos obtained only white-washed versions of significant happenings in their own backyards.

    Having read the article, certain themes were surfaced and presented. One screaming subject was hegemony played in the altar of public trust. Marcos leveraged on his power and networks to advance personal interests, not serving with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency and without upholding justice and patriotism–the exact opposite of public trust. Not only that media was compromised and held captive; justice has not been served and human rights have been discredited.

    In the works of Timberman (1991), he argued that even though the benefits of authoritarianism outweighed the loss of democratic freedoms in the first three or four years of martial law since it provided stability and hope, where previously there had been conflict and uncertainty, the initial benefits of the Marcos regime could not be sustained and favoritism and venality became rampant. Moreover, the economy was adversely affected by mounting corruption and mismanagement.

    Surely, many media practitioners cried foul against the unreasonable and unethical acts during martial law. For many years, journalists have been going the extra mile and sacrificing their lives in the service of truth and justice. In the honor of these people and their service, it pays to know and act the truth. As literate consumers and partakers of today’s media, ethics and responsibility must be the battlecry–not only for the press, but for the country.

    Lent, J. A. (1974). The Philippine press under martial law. Index on Censorship, 3(1), 47-59.
    Timberman, David G. 1991. A Changeless Land: Continuity and Change in Philippine Politics. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.


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