News broadcasting is a long-standing supplier of political news to the majority of Filipinos. But as disinformation takes root in other platforms, the tenured legacy of television and radio as credible news distributors is gradually being corrupted to distort history.
Marcos manipulates news broadcasting in his favor by accrediting and legitimizing biased channels. During the 2022 national elections, for one, Marcos deliberately selected the hyperpartisan networks of NET25 and SMNI for exclusive interviews post-election, enabling him to dodge questions about his family history and inflate Marcosian opulence.
On top of selectively promoting pro-Marcos channels, legitimate news outlets are forced out of the public sphere. ABS-CBN, the largest media broadcaster in the country, had its network shut down after being denied franchise renewal, and, much like the company’s cessation during Martial Law, its frequencies were assigned to pro-administration channels, such as SMNI.
NET25 and SMNI’s deceptions extend to radio where the medium’s capacity to spread false information is often unscrutinized. Only 32 percent view radio as a source of misinformation, compared to social media at 68 percent.
Radio disinformation is difficult to control when it can embed itself into audiences faster than we can correct it, according to Daphne-Tatiana Canlas, a faculty member from the UP College of Mass Communication. Media watchdogs have engaged the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas to enforce ethical broadcasting policies, but radio disinformation takes on more velocity since it can be dictated on air, she said.
In an article analyzing political radio talk, sensationalizing politics leads the listener to perceive radio information as processed and reality-defining. This becomes alarming when 65 percent of adults who obtain their news from radio rely on local outlets like the ones controlled by SMNI and NET25.
These strategies of overtaking legacy news with pro-Marcos channels gradually dilute critical broadcasting and conceal the atrocities committed during Martial Law by giving them less exposure. When a broadcast is under threat of being eclipsed by propagandists, it becomes the collective duty of all media outlets to combat the disease of disinformation by contextualizing news in history. ●
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