The Lumad Struggle for Social and Environmental Justice: Alternative media in a socio-environmental movement in the Philippines

Belinda F. Espiritu


This study examines the role of alternative media in the socio-environmental movement for justice for the Lumad, the indigenous peoples of the southern Philippines, and the fight to protect the environment in the Philippines from extractive companies and mono-crop plantations. Using thematic textual analysis and framing analysis, the study analysed selected news articles, press releases and advocacy articles from and civil society group websites posted online from September to December 2015. Anchored on Downing’s theory of alternative media as social movement media and Fuchs’ theory of alternative media as critical media, the study reveals four categories of alternative media: (1) as giver of voice to the oppressed Lumad; (2) as social movement media used for social mobilisation; (3) as an alternative media outfit fulfilling a complementary role with the socioenvironmental movement; and (4) as making social movements’ offline activism visible. It concluded that alternative media play a vital role in socio-environmental movements and the continuing challenge to mitigate the climate crisis.


Alternative media, civil society, counter-hegemony, critical media, environmental justice, ethnic minorities, Indigenous peoples, neoliberalism, socio-environmental movement, social justice, social movement media

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