A favorite slogan chanted by young activists like us in the early 1970s, when Marcos was already contemplating martial law but before he actually declared it, went like this: One activist would start with a loud marching voice: “Ano’ng sagot sa martial law?” And the response would resonate like a march of thunder through the street, echoing across the urban valley of tall buildings: “Digmaan!–Digmaan!–Digmaang bayan!” Continue reading “What never to forget”
Lessons from the underground press of the martial law era
“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”
That quote might be a startling, almost cynical take on the meaning of press freedom. But it was a respected American journalist, A.J. Liebling, who coined the now-famous aphorism. The terse statement was supposed to emphasize the harsh realities of capitalist ownership behind the noble expectation that journalists freely exercise their right, nay, fulfill their duty, to always provide the public with honest information and informed opinion.
In any case, little did Filipinos realize just how painfully that saying would apply to them on September 23, 1972. On that fateful Saturday morning, we all woke up to find no newspapers delivered to our doorsteps or sold on the sidewalks. We twiddled our radio sets (in my case, set just right beside my pillow, the better to hear the early morning news), asking with great puzzlement why they only emitted static noise on that morning.
Continue reading “Lessons from the underground press of the martial law era”