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OSC Media Aid: Philippine Media at a Glance
SEF20090102463002 Philippines — OSC Media Aid in English 02 Jan 09
Philippine Media at a Glance
Television dominates the Philippines’ mostly privately owned and market-oriented media, overtaking radio over the past decade. Newspapers rank third, but Internet usage is on the rise. Violence against broadcast journalists has marred the country’s claim to media freedom.
The 2005 Philippine Media Factbook shows that Filipinos prefer the following sources for information:
- Television: 61.8 % (2003, up from 56.7% in 1994)
- Radio: 56.7% (2003, down from 80.78% in 1994)
- Newspapers: 46.5% (2003, up from 29.82% in 1994)
- Internet: 20% (2003, data unavailable in 1994)
Of the seven major TV networks, three are government-owned, but only one — NBN — is under the government’s operational control. NBN promotes official views but has lost audience share to private TV stations ABS-CBN and GMA, which sensationalize news and entertainment programs. TV is mostly in Tagalog and English.
Over 150 radio networks broadcast in the Philippines. Manila Broadcasting Company is the largest with over 100 radio stations nationwide. Philippine Broadcasting Service, the only government-owned radio network, has over 30 stations. Most major networks are based in Manila, but provincial affiliates operate independently due to differences in urban-provincial needs. With much programming in local languages, radio tends to promote regionalism.
Of the 105 newspapers, the most popular is the Tagalog-language daily Bulgar, with self-reported circulation of 600,000. The top-selling English-language daily — at 263,000 copies — is the conservative Manila Bulletin, followed by pro-middle class The Philippine Star, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which brings the views of many veteran and influential columnists to a wide range of readers, including many political activists. There are 85 provincial newspapers, mostly weeklies.
Internet access remains low, especially in rural areas, but many newspapers and TV networks have news websites. Insurgent groups also maintain websites, but they tend to contain little information that is not also available in the mainstream media. The majority of websites and blogs are personal home pages and entertainment sites. The media face no restrictions on investigating or criticizing the government, but the Philippine claim to media freedom is marred by violence against broadcast journalists known for hard-hitting commentaries. As of December 2008, 62 journalists have been killed during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001-present).