Topic: News Updates
Article: Philippines Profile – Media
Date published: January 21, 2019
Philippines Profile – Media is an article published last January 21, 2019 by bbc.com. It presented the current media landscape of the country and identified the power of the media when it comes to influencing commercial control and interests.
Same as with the facts presented by Reporters without Borders and VERA Files in their report about cross-media ownership, it showed how two giant networks manipulate and control the media landscape. ABS-CBN and GMA contributes greatly when it comes to shaping public opinion and as well shaping the public sphere. Since television has still the largest percentage where people gets information, the content that these two giant networks show has a great effect on its viewers. Through their programs, their interests and as well as their other agenda are being reflected where some of its viewers accept, absorb, and probably even believe it without questioning its credibility and reliability.
The article also identified how films, comedies and entertainment shows attract the largest audiences which is probably the reason why we tend to be presented with so much new programs and new movies almost every month. However, going back to the power of media when it comes to influencing commercial control and interests, the content, the format, and even the story line of these new programs and movies seem to be the same as with the previous programs aired and movies showed. We believe that there is so much options to choose from where in reality, we are looking at the same content only presented by a different set of characters, shot in a different location, or produced by different production company.
As for the radio, it stated that Manila Broadcasting Company is the leading network in the country despite having hundreds of other radio stations and despite competing with the two giant networks, ABS-CBN and GMA.
The article also described the private press as vigorous, however, prone to sensationalism. It also identified Filipino-language tabloids as the most popular. The need to earn and compete against hundreds of newspaper titles probably led to some of these newspapers or tabloids to sensationalize content. The need to attract more readers which will equate to more income has been driving these companies to compromise content. Like for example, regional newspapers earn less as compared to national circulated newspapers. These regional newspapers partly depend on government paid advertisements where their articles present politicians, sensationalize government projects, and even promote the political and economic interests of those who can afford to pay for advertisements.
Despite the guaranteed press freedom in the country, it is still important to acknowledge that the Philippines is still identified as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. The article based this statement on the US-based Freedom House. Despite the government not censoring media content, it still has its way to silent journalists and threaten media organizations which go against their political and personal agenda. Recently, the news has been bombarded by threats to media organizations such as what happened to Rappler, names of some journalists being included in the drugs list, and threats of the administration not to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN.
Lastly, the article also pointed out the 67 million internet users in the country based on the 2017 data of InternetWorldStats identifying Facebook and Twitter as the most popular platforms. Despite the huge number of internet users, there is still no censorship of online content making it prone to the proliferation of fake news. Since almost everyone now has access to the internet and has mobile phones, laptops or other electronic gadgets where you can access the internet, everyone has the capacity and the ability to create content. Everyone also has access to information, but what is lacking is the ability of some people to fact-check and validate the information that they have acquired online. Some people immediately believes what is presented to them.
If we are to look back at the media landscape, we may have upgraded when it comes to the use of technology and the variety of platforms where information can be presented. However, when it comes to the viability and maximizing the use of media to foster factual and reliable sources of information, we probably have been degrading since fake-news is such an issue nowadays. We know that there are fake-news spreading around, but do we always validate the information that we get? Another thing is that, media organizations tend to lean towards commercialism and political interests. The need to earn to survive is such a great factor that influences the content of any given media text. The control of information are in the hands of those who can afford to produce television and radio programs, to those who can finance printing and publication businesses, to those who have knowledge when it comes to using technology. The stories, the news, the films, the programs that we are absorbing everyday are already filtered. It is good to acknowledge what kind of media landscape we are now living in so that we would also be able to identify and find out what measures and actions to make in order to avoid manipulation especially when it comes to knowing the right and accurate sources of information.