Journalism Finals 09

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  • 2. Laws Applicable to All Mass Media
    • Foreign media ownership
    • 3. Defamation
    • 4. Privacy
    • 5. Protection of source
    • 6. Election reporting
    • Foreign media ownership
    Foreign ownership of media is prohibited in Article XVI (General Provisions) of the Constitution, which limits in Section 11 media ownership to ‘citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations wholly owned and managed by such citizens’.
  • 7. Media ownership is one of the most problematic aspects of the media situation in the Philippines, given the extent to which owner interests often intrude upon reportage and commentary in the newspapers. Despairing over the sometimes heavy-handed efforts of media owners to intervene even in the daily operations of their newspapers, some journalists have argued for allowing foreign media ownership, which is prohibited by the 1987 Constitution.
  • 8.
    • Defamation
    Libel, a criminal offence that carries imprisonment upon conviction in the Philippines, is provided for in the same Penal Code (Articles 353 to 362). Prison terms range from one day to six years, in addition to the imposition of fines. These are minimal (between USD 4 to USD 25) as in the case of violations of Article 154, but this does not prevent complainants from demanding millions of pesos in damages, some of which have been awarded, although higher courts have later reversed them.
  • 9.
    • Privacy
    Protection of privacy is guaranteed in the Philippine Constitution and further regulated in the Civil and Penal Codes. The new Civil Code of the Philippines, contains a provision on the right to privacy (Article 26), violations of which can result in civil damages against private persons.
    Article 32 penalises any government official or individual who ‘obstructs, defeats, violates, impedes and impairs’ the exercise of freedom of speech, the freedom to write for the press or to maintain a publication, as well as the privacy of communication or correspondence. However, no government official has so far been charged under this
    provision. The Penal Code also has a number of provisions on privacy.
  • 10.
    • Protection of source
    As noted earlier, a special law (Republic Act 53) unique to the Philippines protects journalists from being forced to reveal their sources unless ‘demanded by the security of the state’. Section 1 of this Act states that no one from a newspaper, magazine or periodical of general circulation can be ‘compelled to reveal the source of any information or news report appearing in said publication… unless the court or a House or Committee of Congress finds that such revelation is demanded by the security of the state’.
  • 11.
    • Election reporting
    The Republic Act 6646, prohibiting newspapers and broadcasting stations from printing or broadcasting election campaign material, was one of the most controversial laws to be passed and enforced in the Philippines. Passed by Congress in 1987, the Act declared it illegal “for any newspaper, radio broadcasting or television station or other mass media, or any person making use of the mass media to sell or give free of charge print space or air time for campaign or other political purposes…”