Protection for media personnel who uphold a “stringent code of ethics” and for those who fight against disinformation was encouraged by the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) College of Mass Communication (CMC) on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
This was said in a statement released by the UPD CMC in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of Martial Law.
“The events of September 1972 warn us that for dictatorship to thrive, the control of the media is a must,” the department said.
UPD CMC added that in order to prevent this “dark period in our history” from happening again, the public must ensure the protection of media who play the role of upholding the major principles of democracy in the country.
“We must resist all attempts to curtail and coopt our rights as enshrined in our Constitution,” it said.
UPD CMC noted that in spite of technological innovations in media, the need for “on-the-ground” resistance and commitment to disseminating factual reports still does not change.
It also recalled the first letter of instruction signed by late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos ordering the closure of “15 dailies, 66 community newspapers, 11 weekly news magazines, seven television stations, and 292 radio stations” during Martial Law.
Moreover, UPD CMC also mentioned Marcos’ second letter of instruction authorizing the takeover of several public utilities as well as those from telecommunications.
“Among the approximately 8,000 individuals arrested on September 23 were editors and journalists, including the late Luis Beltran who taught in our college,” UPD CMC said.
The dictatorship “crumbled” in 1986 when mosquito press, Xerox journalism, and radio stations exposed Martial Law’s “failures, excuses, and abuses,” UPD CMC stated.
UP said that on this day, its whole community “joins the nation in remembering and honoring the heroes, activists, and human rights victims who stood against martial law and the Marcos regime.”
These peoples’ sacrifices and struggles are more bitter now at the time of “disinformation, fake news, and historical revisionism,” UP added.
“This year also marks the fifth UP Day of Remembrance since UP President Danilo L. Concepcion signed. On September 17, 2018, Proclamation No. 1, Series of 2018, declared September 21 every year as UP Day of Remembrance,” said UP.
Meanwhile, the UP Department of Political Science faculty members and staff said in a separate statement that the late Marcos’ dictatorship “stole our democracy’s most prized possessions” which are “free speech, freedom of assembly, and popular sovereignty.”
It also added that due to the absence of public transparency and accountability, “the Marcos family and cronies stole from the public coffers in the most egregious case of plunder this country has witnessed.”
The UP Department of History also released a separate statement regarding the matter.
“Tinututulan ng UP Departamento ng Kasaysayan ang pagtatakip sa tunay na mga pangyayaring umiral sa ilalim ng diktaturang Marcos, unang-una na ang lagim ng paglabag sa mga karapaang pantao at pandarambong sa kabang-yaman ng bansa (The UP Department of History condones the hiding of what truly happned during the Marcos dictatorship, primarily the violation of human rights and stealing of the nation’s fund),” the department said.