By Regina Bengco, Malaya
(This is her research project for the 2011 Asia Journalism Fellowship held in Singapore on Feb. 7 to April 29, 2011. It was written in April. An update and acknowledgments follow the main article.)
The press council is one of the accountability systems in the Philippines, which has a self-regulated media.
The Philippines has two national-level press councils: the Philippine Press Council under the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), which covers the newspaper industry; and the Broadcast Standards Authority of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP or Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines), which oversees the broadcast industry.
Regional- and local-level press councils also exist in Baguio City in the northern Philippines, in the Central Luzon region, in Palawan province, and in Cebu province.
The first national-level Philippine Press Council was created in compliance with Republic Act Number 4363 (RA 4363), which was enacted on June 19, 1965, to amend the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on defamation.
Section 3 of RA 4363 required the Philippine press to organize and elect the members of a Press Council, which will promulgate a Code of Ethics, investigate violations, and censure any journalist or newspaper guilty of violating the Code.
In 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos abolished the Press Council after proclaiming martial law. Marcos, through Presidential Decree No. 36, canceled the franchises and permits of radio, television and communications facilities and created the Mass Media Council (MMC) to regulate the operation of the media in order to “safeguard the security of the state” from what he claimed as the use of mass media in the conspiracy against government by “forces of insurgency and subversion.”