The original culture has not been able to
develop. Spanish colonialism for nearly 400 years,
followed by strong American influence, has prevented it.
Among the few who have managed to preserve parts of
Malay culture and ancient traditions are the Muslims of
the southern Philippines.
Today, most people have Spanish names, speak English
with American accent and are Catholics. It gives the
whole culture a more Latin American than Asian
character. The Filipino dance bands that flood Asia's
nightclubs play Latin American and Western influenced
music. Hip hop and rap are popular with many young
people. The Philippine All-Stars dance group has won the
World Cup for hip hop dancers in the US in both 2008 and
2009. The traditional music lives on only with the
Latest population statistics of Philippines, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The historically most famous author is Josť Rizal,
executed by the Spaniards in 1896 for his anti-Spanish
writing. He is now regarded as a national hero. More
modern writers include Ninotchka Rosca, Josť Garcia
Villa, Stevan Javellana, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil,
Francisco Sionil Josť in Canada, whose debut novel
Ilustrado has also been translated into Swedish. Many of
today's writers write in English.
Among the hundreds of films produced annually,
adventure films and sentimental love stories dominate.
Among the best known directors are Lino Brocka and
Brillante Mendoza. Newer names include directors such as
Joseph Israel Laban and Lav Diaz. The latter won the
Gold Lion in Venice 2016 with the movie The Woman Who
In recent years, Filipino animated films, pinoy, have
reached success. One of the most famous is the Tagalog-speaking
Urduja, directed by Reggie Entienz. American film
companies such as Disney, Cartoon Network and Warner
Brothers have moved part of their production of animated
films to the Philippines.
The constitution guarantees freedom of press
and expression. Filipino media are often outspoken, but
freedom is limited by advocacy laws that power holders
use to silence criticism of them. It is dangerous to be
a journalist in the Philippines. According to the Press
Freedom Organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ),
79 Filipino journalists were killed between 1992 and
2017 (the organization lists a further 50 cases, where
it was not confirmed that journalists were killed
because of their profession).
Few of the perpetrators have been punished for these
crimes. This applies not least to a well-known massacre
at Mindanao in 2009 when 58 people, of whom 32 media
workers were murdered. Although more than 100 people
have been prosecuted for the massacre, no one has been
convicted of the act, while several witnesses or their
relatives have been murdered. The suspicions were
quickly directed at the powerful Ampatuan clan, which
has long dominated politics in the Maguindanao province.
In July 2015, one of the principal suspects, Andal
Ampatuan Sr. passed away.
In 2012, a new law was adopted to combat online
crime, which includes, among other things, advocacy laws
that are similar to those applicable to press and ether
media, but which can be punished even more severely
(imprisonment for up to six years). The law aroused
protests from those who felt the government was given
too sweeping powers to shut down and monitor web sites.
In February 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that the
advocacy section of the law did not violate the
Constitution. Former President Benigno Aquino defended
in connection with the law he said would not be used to
restrict freedom of expression in the Philippines.
Even before Rodrigo Duterte had taken over the 2016
presidential post, he made several statements to
journalists. He appeared to support "corrupt
journalists" and claimed that those who had been
murdered "probably did something" to deserve his fate.
In retrospect, it has emerged how methodically the
Dutertel camp used social media during the 2016 election
campaign, when the opposition was flung through texts
and films that were spread with the help of 500
"volunteers", bloggers, cures and more. After Duterte
took over as president, he and the government have used
the same channels to support their policies, not least
the president's war on drugs. The threats and harassment
against media workers have also increased significantly.
This was first noticed by the Rappler news site,
founded in 2012 by CNN journalist Maria Ressa, among
others. Rappler's material is widely disseminated
through social media. Its reporting has many times been
a nail in the eye of President Rodrigo Duterte, who on a
number of occasions has harshly criticized the site. In
early 2018, the Philippine Financial Supervisory
Authority decided to revoke the issuing permit for
Rappler, citing that the company violated the rules that
domestic media must not have foreign owners (see also
Calendar). However, the decision has been appealed.
Further legal proceedings have been initiated against
Ressa for tax crimes and "cyber defamation".
The Philippine Daily Inquirer published after Duterte
took over lists of those who had been killed in his war
on the drugs, but ended it, among other things after
threats of a tax process, the owner family has sold its
shares to Ramon Ang, a corporate magnate who is a friend
of Duterte. The TV company ABS-CBN has also reported on
extra-judicial executions and that Duterte should have
hidden money in secret accounts and risk being punished
for not having his broadcast license renewed when the
old one expires in 2020.
In 2017, a new law came into force that gives
journalists access to government documents and
protocols. However, criticism has been directed at the
fact that the media has a hard time getting the
documents they want to read, because of the many
A special police unit was created in 2006 to combat
the violence against journalists, but this has not led
to any major changes.
According to a law, the Human Security Act of 2007,
journalists can be intercepted if they are suspected of
conspiring with terrorists. In 2013, a journalist was
convicted of a fine for publishing the name of a
criminal suspect who had already been named in a police
report that was public.
There is a censorship authority for film and
television programs, but it rarely interferes with
A small number of families control a large part of
the media offering that they often use to advance their
own political and financial interests. There is an open
debate about whether bribes are paid to influence the
media's news reporting. There are about 500 newspapers.
About 10 newspapers, most of them in English, are
responsible for more serious news reporting. The most
important newspapers include People's Tonight,
Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, Manila Times, Abante,
Malaya, Daily Tribune, Business World and Philippine
Daily Inquirer, the largest of which say they have a
circulation of a few hundred thousand. There are also a
number of tabloid magazines on tagalog and cebuano
mainly contains sensation articles. Many of the more
serious magazines also publish special tabloid
Most of the several hundred radio stations are
financed with advertising. In rural areas, many radio
stations are owned by locally influential families. Many
churches also have their own radio channels. The largest
network is Manila Broadcasting Company. Television
broadcasts are dominated by commercial channels such as
ABS-CBN and GMA. Some channels broadcast in local
languages. Many people also watch cable TV. Movies and
various entertainment programs attract the most viewers.
The main state TV channel is PTV4.
About two-thirds of all Filipinos are online, often
through smart phones. Of these, at least 97 percent have
a Facebook account, and more and more Filipinos now
receive a large portion of their news via Facebook.
In Reporters Without Borders index of freedom of the
press in the world, the Philippines ranked 2018 in
number 133 of 180 countries.
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Gilla Duterte or risk being attacked in social
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
60 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100