Media and the country


Like any other countries in Asia, Philippines is one of ex-colonist country; The country was colonized by Spanish in 16th century, United States in 19th century. No wonder, with that long history, Philippines is heavily influenced by those two countries in culture, politics, economics and social. One of the example is language. Kotse in Tagalog word which mean a car, is adapted from Spanish language.

The development of mass media in Philippines, also get a contribution from its close colony – in particular United States. It brought the technology such as radio and television into Philippines. As an overview, I will explain a little bit history in radio and television. Radio development began from wireless telegraphy, and since Christmas Eve in 1906 radio started its function as source of information and entertainment, until today. Moreover, television development was through a long journey. Each part of the television was invented by different inventors, then in 1938,DuMont laboratories began selling the first television sets to public. Not long after that NBC and CBS received a license to begin commercial broadcasting from their experimental stations in New York City.

Radio in the Philippines

In the Philippines, June 1922, two 50-watt radio stations were established in Pasay and in Manila by Henry Hermann. It was the time when Filipinos were ready to accept radio news and entertainment programs. Local businessmen recognized this as opportunity to earn money then they established their own radio stations to advertise their products and services.

The radio development in the Philippines was not really smooth; it was up and down through the war situation. In 1946, after World War II ended, Philippines gained its independent. Since then radio in Philippines could focus on the element of information, education and entertainment. Philippines people were enjoying full freedom of expression, it made Philippines media as the freest media in the world. At the same time entertainment industry started to gain its momentum; starting from variety show, drama, comedies, contest, etc. At that point in time, the influence of Western was very significance, it can be seen from wardrobe style, hair-do, and program’s packaging. In line with the radio golden era, advertiser also earned more money. Since then, commercial and radio became inseparable couple.

Television in Philippines

According to Prof. Elizabeth Enriquez, television is the only technology that was developed  not for war purposes but for entertainment. In some ways, television is more interesting than radio. It please our eyes and thought. We don’t need to think hard just to enjoy entertainment from television. Just lie back in couch, and enjoy it.. In the early days, the price of television set was expensive. No wonder, at that time people would prefer radio as their entertainment sources. But, after the production cost of television became cheaper, radio was left by its fans.

The first television broadcast in the Philippines was in 1953. From there television industry became the major tool to influence society. For example: the reality show was use to tease government decision or else; people love to watch telenovela and use it as their reference for fashion, beauty image, happiness in life etc.

Post-Colonial Theory and Philippines media

According to post-colonial theory, what was happened in the development of Philippines’ media is a way of colonial country to engage their power and dominant in ex-colonist country. The colonial country sees its culture, way of thinking; language, religion, ideology etc are much better than the colonist country. So the colonial country thought the way to humanize the native people is to implement its good-and-much better culture into native people. So that after leaving the colonized country, there is a chance that native people will preserve the culture or the way of colonial people’s life. This ideology would be a good thing if local people could use it wisely, for example education, economy, social, politics, etc. But this would be a step back for local people, if they started to forget their traditional culture, language, music, dance etc. Instead of preserving their own culture, the native people will easily embrace the colonial country culture. For example is Kidlat Tahimik, a Filipino filmmaker. He uses his talent, capability, and knowledge to preserve his local culture in Baguio, North Luzon. Not many people have awareness toward local culture like Kidlat Tahimik. But his contribution realize me something that no matter how exotics and beautiful our culture, the important thing is that our traditional culture is our identity; it is our way to see ourselves and make sense of our culture. If we forget it, we have no difference with colonial people who discredit Asian people as second level citizen.


History of Broadcasting, Irving Fang



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