country, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

1986: A Turning Point in Philippine Media

The late June Keithley, along with husband Angelo Castro Jr., were instrumental in bravely covering the EDSA Revolution and the eventual inauguration of President Corazon Aquino.

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the People Power Revolution. In commemoration of the event, this article will focus on the year 1986, a year that marked a new era in Philippine media history.

Before 1986, media in the Philippines was virtually dominated by the cronies of President Ferdinand Marcos. The most prominent of these networks were the Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC-2), and the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS-9; later Radio Philippines Network). The now-People’s Television Network (PTV-4) and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13) were also established during Martial Law. The only non-crony owned network at the time was GMA, which was sold by Bob Stewart to Felipe Gozon and operated under limited three-month permits. Some radio stations were also given permission to air, provided that they avoid airing any anti-Marcos statements.

However, certain events in Philippine history forever changed the media industry. The soon-to-be Kapuso network was the only station to cover the Ninoy Aquino assassination, and wife Cory’s declaration to run for the presidency. The defections of Juan Ponce Enrile and Fidel V. Ramos from the Marcos regime was also covered by GMA. Channel 7’s brave stand was only the beginning, though.

Radio Veritas followed GMA’s lead by broadcasting Jaime Cardinal Sin’s message, urging people from all walks of life to flood the Murphy and Greenhills sections of EDSA in an effort to protect Enrile and Ramos. When Veritas was seized by the Marcos troops, Radyo Bandido (DZRJ 810) took over, with real-life couple June Keithley and Angelo Castro, Jr. broadcasting the proceedings.

Meanwhile, a broadcast of President Marcos’ press conference was aired on Channels 4 and 9, only to be cut off the air by the rebels. By this time, Marcos’ grip on power was slipping away, although he made a final official TV appearance as president when GMA and IBC covered his inauguration, which like Channels 4 and 9 were also invaded and cut off by the rebels.

While the inauguration of Corazon Aquino at Club Filipino was preserved on videotape, it was unclear if any network in the Philippines aired the said event. Nevertheless, with the departure of Ferdinand Marcos from Malacanang, the freedom of the press was restored, and with it came the return of ABS-CBN and the sequestration of Channels 4, 9 and 13.

The year 1986 was a period of change and progress in the Philippine media industry. The once-censored media is gone, and with it came a more free-wheeling and conscious approach to broadcasting, although it remains subject to various regulations by the Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Even with the media now more widespread than ever, the lessons of Martial Law and EDSA will never be forgotten, and the experiences of each outlet will continue to have a huge impact on the industry in the years to come.

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country, news, Philippines, politics

Ninoy: The Heart & the Soul

Throughout the week of August 21, government stations PTV-4 and IBC-13 air classic documentaries commemorating the life, the struggles, and the legacy of Benigno Aquino Jr. One of these documentaries has been regarded as a masterpiece.

Ninoy: The Heart & the Soul was first aired on the fifth death anniversary of Aquino. The documentary was written by the late columnist Teodoro Benigno, and was narrated by the late news anchor Jose Mari Velez. Two versions of the documentary exist: one narrated in English, and the other in Filipino. The documentary gives viewers a look back at the career and life of Ninoy; from his rise as a political wonder boy, to his incarceration in Fort Bonifacio and Laur, Nueva Ecija during Martial Law, and eventually to his exile and assassination. A part of the documentary was focused on Ninoy’s solitary prison at Laur, giving viewers a glimpse on what his prison looked like. Other important segments of the documentary include Ninoy’s diary, his hunger strike, and the Aquino family’s efforts to visit and provide moral support to their imprisoned relative.

The documentary runs for 90 minutes. However, an edited 30-minute version also exists, and is aired on Knowledge Channel during the week. Here are the English and Filipino versions of the 90-minute documentary, shown in its entirety.

Ninoy: The Heart & the Soul (English version)

Puso at Diwa ni Ninoy (Filipino version)

About the only difference in the two versions other than the language used is Velez’s attire, where he wore a suit on the English narration, and a Barong Tagalog on the Filipino narration. Nevertheless, both versions of the documentary were informative and historically important, especially during the week of Ninoy’s assassination, and during the week of the EDSA People Power Revolution anniversary.

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