Who are we?
PAPI today remains as the country’s largest media fraternity composed of publishers of about 500 community newspapers in the regions and provinces, and a few national publications as Regular members. Its membership is further swelled by practicing community journalists, both print, broadcast and online, mostly from the regions and provinces, as Associate Members.
PAPI’s affiliate publications have an estimated total print circulation of over 2,000,000 copies every week. Since provincial radio broadcasters and regional TV anchors, as awell as cable TV hosts normally read the contents of these community papers on air,PAPI affiliated community publications beat Metro Manila papers in terms of readerships and audience reach. Countryside communities hardly reached by Metro Manila publications have remained as exclusive turfs of PAPI affiliated media instruments.
Why you should join us
If you are a publisher, whether of a print publication or online, or a media player who seriously values your vital role as such, you are welcome to join PAPI.
Proper, truthful and effective information management is a vital ingredient for the development of a well informed and constructively responsive citizenry.
Community media players including publishers, editors, broadcasters, reporters and information officers, if truly united, can help develop such desired well informed citizenry, and can therefore be a potent force for social change and national development.
You can be an element of such a potent force. Read on.
PAPI has taken upon itself the mission to help consolidate publishers and the community press into one vibrant media fraternity; vigorously defend and promote press freedom; promote responsible news reporting and enhance the reporting skills and efficiency of practicing and future media practitioners through training and seminars; and develop a well informed public that is actively responsive to the needs and demands of sound public welfare.
PAPI envisions a well informed national citizenry and regional communities that are truly aware of their rights and responsibilities, and responsive to various initiatives by both the government and private sector groups towards the promotion of meaningful social welfare and national progress.
PAPI BRIEF HISTORY
Born under inauspicious circumstances in 1974, PAPI has a colorful history.
Following the tragic declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972, all publications in the country, except Bulletin Today – and the Island Observer in Mindoro — were closed. Overnight, thousand of journalists lost their jobs, and most people had no way of knowing what was going on in the country.
After the initial shock, publishers meet together to present their plight to the Martial Law authorities and work out a solution. Their appeal found a logical response. The Publishers Association of the Philippines was shortly organized and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 14, 1974 as a non-profit, non-stock corporation.
The incorporators, all known leaders in the publishing industry, were Brig. Gen. Hans M. Menzi (Bulletin Today), Raul L. Locsin (Business Daily), Juan A. Perez (Philippine Daily Express), Kerima P. Tuvera (Evening Post), and Rosario B. Olivarez (Journal Group of Companies).
Gen. Menzi was elected as its first president, together with Mariano B. Quimzon (Bulletin Today) as secretary-treasurer. Sol L. Villa as overall coordinator, and Robert M. Mendoza, executive director. Its national board included the organization’s regional chairmen from the country’s 11 regions then — Oseo Hamada (Baguio Midland Courier), Region I; Claudio Cortez (Cagayan Star), Region 2; Benigno Razon (Tarlac Star), Region 3; Mario S. Romero (The Island Observer), Region 4; Ramon Toleram (Naga Times), Region 5; Aurelio Servando, Jr. (Weekly Scope), Region 6; Zoilo Dejaresco, Jr., (Bohol Chronicle), Regions 7 & 8; Armando Lopez (Zamboanga Times), Region 9; Bienvenido Cruz (Mindanao Star), Region 10; and Gil Abarico (Mindanao Mail) Region 11.
Under the PAPI umbrella, newspapers were allowed to resume publication provided they strictly followed the government’s guidelines. The organization served a dual role of seeing to it that member publications observe government edicts and at the same time act as go-between erring publications and Martial Law enforcers. Many journalists had been saved from stiff jail terms and newspapers from total closure by PAPI’s intervention.
When Martial Law and press restrictions were lifted in 1981, newspapers and magazines mushroomed throughout the country. The end of the dictatorship, however, ushered in a turbulent decade. The assassination of opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino on August 21, 1983 precipitated a succession of events that led to the 1986 People Power Revolution.
The fateful events leading to the historic People Power revolt threw Philippine media into the center of a political and social whirlpool. From Ninoy Aquino’s massively attended funeral procession, to the controversial investigation by the Agrava Commission of the 26 soldier-conspirators, Manila-based media failed to sate the hunger for news by a highly agitated and awakened Filipino nation.
The reluctance of major media establishments to give full and honest reporting of the unfolding events led to the rise of the so-called alternative press or Mosquito Press, among which were the tabloid WE Forum, Veritas, Pahayagang Malaya, Inquirer, Mr. and Ms. Magazine, and Business Day.
These papers showed their audacity by publishing news critical to the Marcos regime, which helped galvanize the growing opposition against it, and engender widespread disenchantment towards the dictatorship. “Xeroxed” or photocopied news reports also gained strong popularity among readers, especially among the middle class working in Makati’s financial district. Their materials include critical write-ups of the Marcos rule and news clippings from foreign publications which Marcos censored from mass dissemination in the country for so long.
In the provinces, the community press, most of which retained their affiliation with PAPI, also took on the militancy of their Manila colleagues, giving extensive coverage to local protest movements. Corruption and shenanigans by local leaders were likewise prominently focused on.
The rest was history. In 1986, the People Power Revolt, a civilian-backed military uprising, toppled the Marcos dictatorship. Succeeding governments, however, failed to satisfy the high expectations of the people. A window of opportunity that could have radically reformed Philippine society and steer it to meaningful development was wasted by the Cory Aquino government. The economy nearly took off during the time of President Fidel Ramos, but the Asian financial crisis in 1997 derailed it. The national economy further sank under President Joseph Estrada who was forced to resign on charges of widespread corruption and plunder. He was convicted by the Supreme Court but was instantly pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, without experiencing even a day in an actual jail.
In all these developments, PAPI continued to perform its mandate of shepherding its members towards greater professionalism as well as deeper awareness of their responsibilities not only as fiscalizer, but also as catalyst for peace, progress and development.