The first Press Council to be established in the Philippines was enacted by Republic Act Number 4363, on June 19, 1965.
The law states that newspapermen should elect members of a Press Council, which would promote a Code of Ethics for the Philippine press and the Council, and investigate any violation of the said Code.
In 1972, the Council was abolished with the proclamation of martial law. A year later, President Marcos formed the Media Advisory Council (MAC) through Presidential Decree 191.
The MAC was tasked to oversee the approval of operations of all forms of news media and to perform functions that are similar to the previous councils.
The MAC was short-lived, and was replaced by the Philippine Council for Print Media (PCPM) in 1974.
The Philippine Press Council was revived after Marcos’ ouster in 1987, notably through the efforts of three of the country’s well respected journalists – Vergel Santos, Raul Locsin, and Gerry Gil.
The restoration of the Press Council was a product of the Magsaysay Awardees Conference in 1992. The participants in the conference were the Ramon Magsaysay Awardees — Mochtar Lubis (1958) and B. George Verghese (1975) and a group of newspaper editors who talked about journalism ethics. They urged the PPI Board of Trustees to form a committee that would consider the establishment of a new Council.
In 1993, the current Philippine Press Council was formally founded by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI). Its members are editors of national newspapers represented of the PPI Board of Trustees.
In 1997, the Philippine Press Institute, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and National Press Club adapted the Journalists’ Code of Ethics.
In 2001, the membership of the Council was extended to include representatives from the academic, business, and legal sectors.
[Additional reading: "The Press and the Public: Words, Not Guns, Please" by Gary Mariano. PJR Reports, June 2005, p. 8. Online: www.cmfr-phil.org/pjr-june2.htm]
If the Press Council upholds a complaint against a member publication, the respondent shall be required to print the complainant’s reply and the Press Council’s decision within a reasonable period.
If the respondent fails or refuses to comply, the other members of the Council who are themselves editors of their respective newspapers may opt to print the reply and the decision in their publications.
Likewise, the reply and decision shall be posted on the PPI website.
The PPI Board may further impose sanctions such as but not limited to fines, suspension or termination of membership to be imposed on PPI members who refuse to submit themselves to decisions of the Press Council. (See PPI resolution of Aug. 8, 2006)
§ The PPC aims to uphold more responsible newspaper reporting especially among the PPI members. It promotes fair treatment of news subjects – the presentation of all sides of a story at once.
§ Through PPC and its activities, it is hoped that newspapers increase their credibility and decrease court action against journalists.
Philippine Press Council Composition
Originally, the Press Council was composed entirely of journalists who were editors of the nationally circulated broadsheets that were represented on the PPI Board of Trustees. In 2001 the Council invited non-journalists from academe, business, and the legal community. In 2005 the regional Trustees from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao also became members. The journalists are appointed by their publishers. In turn, they invite the sectoral members who serve a one-year term.
The Trustees automatically assume membership upon their election during the Philippine Press Institute annual membership meeting.
Manila Standard Today
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Trustee from Luzon
Trustee from Visayas
Trustee from Mindanao
Rules of the Philippine Press Council
Relative to Complaints
These rules shall apply to complaints against mass-media entities that are members of the Philippine Press Institute and their personnel for the purpose of amicably settling the same without the intervention of courts and other government agencies.
Interpretation. — They shall be liberally construed in order to reconcile and satisfy the disputants, thereby aborting expensive and protracted litigation.
Prescription. — A person with a complaint about something in a PPI member-newspaper or journalist which he thinks breaks the Journalist’s Code of Ethics shall first write the editor of that publication about it as soon as possible.
In case he doesn’t get a reply or is not satisfied with the editor’s response, the complainant can write the Council. The complaint shall be filed with the Press Council no later than 60 days from the date of his original letter to the editor.
Requirement. — Before a complaint is given due course by the Philippine Press Council, the complainant must execute a waiver of other recourse, judicial or otherwise.
If there is a pending action in court or any administrative body relative to the subject matter of the complaint, the same shall be dismissed outright by the Council.
The complainant further agrees not to use the Council’s findings as a basis for litigation.
Where to file. — A complaint should be filed with or mailed to
Philippine Press Institute
Room 308 BF Condominium
A. Soriano St.
Action by the Secretariat. — Within 24 hours from the filing of the complaint, the Secretariat shall verify whether or not there is a related case pending before the courts or other administrative entities.
The Secretariat shall forward to the respondent publication
a copy of the complaint
a letter from the Council Chairman requiring a written reply from the newspaper within 72 hours.
Based on the respondent’s reply and the complaint, the Secretariat will decide on whether or not to elevate the case to the Council.
The respondent’s failure to reply on time will automatically forward the case to the Press Council.
Convening the Executive Meeting. — Upon receipt of a complaint, the Chair shall convene the Council, within a period of two days, to decide what action to pursue, taking into consideration the recommendation of the Chair.
If given due course. — If the committee decides to give due course to the complaint, the Chair shall refer the same to the person/entity complained against (“Respondent”) for comment, which comment should be filed within a period of five days from receipt of the complaint.
Failure to answer or comment. — If respondent fails to answer or make a comment on said complaint within the period set, the Council shall decide what course of action to take.
Conference. — If the Council finds the need to clarify some matters/points in the complaint and/or answer (comment), it shall schedule a conference or meeting with the disputants. The Council may delegate to the Chair the holding of such conference/meeting.
Report. — After a holistic appreciation of the complaint and the answer (comment), the Council shall render a decision.
Deadline. — The Council shall exert its best effort to resolve a case within 30 working days of its receipt. If it feels it cannot meet the deadline, the Council shall inform the parties, indicating the reason(s) therefor and the expected target date of resolution.
Decision. — A complaint may be upheld (wholly or in part) or rejected. In the event a complaint is upheld, the respondent publication shall publish the complainant’s reply and the Council’s decision.
Enforcement of decision. — The Council shall send a copy of its decision to the Philippine Press Institute Board of Trustees which shall enforce the same. In case the respondent fails to abide by the decision, the reply shall be printed in publications represented on the Council, as well as in those owned by or are members of the Press Institute.
The PPI Board of Trustees binds itself to all decisions of the Press Council relative to complaints. It may impose on publications that fail or refuse to comply with Council decisions sanctions including but not limited to a statement of censure, a fine, suspension or termination of membership.
Disputants informed of Council’s decision. — The complainant and respondent shall be furnished copies of the Council’s decision.
The Council, motu propio, may initiate an investigation after a two-thirds majority vote, into possible cases involving a breach of the Code of Ethics.
A copy of the article(s) you are complaining about.
Evidence of your effort to seek redress from the publication concerned. (e.g. ignored letter of complaint, an exchange of letters, or any other form of communication between the complainant and publication suggesting its indifference or unjustifiable response).
A press statement that you wish to be published to constitute redress. Typed, double-spaced, not more than 500 words, and signed by the complainant.
* The complainant shall be notified once the Council has received the necessary documents.
By Postal Mail
Typewritten or printed on white letter-size paper.
The complaint form can be downloaded as a Word or PDF document
If the article supporting your complaint is from a website, you may specify a direct URL link to the article, in the space provided in the complaint form.
You may also send it as an HTML attachment to an e-mail to email@example.com. Please write your name and the newspaper concerned as the subject (ex. Juan Dela Cruz, Philippine Star).
An e-mail confirmation will be sent to you upon the receipt of the complaint. You will also be informed about the status of the complaint.