Category: How the Press Stands

STATEMENT

Cebu Citizens-Press Council Saturday, July 27, 2019 Senator Sotto’s bill doesn’t define ‘false content’ and grants arbitrary power of virtual censorship to government bureaucrats. ​​The Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) earnestly…

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Cebu Citizens-Press Council
Saturday, July 27, 2019


Senator Sotto’s bill doesn’t
define ‘false content’ and grants
arbitrary power of virtual
censorship to government
bureaucrats.


​​The Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) earnestly asks Senate President Vicente Sotto III to restudy his Senate Bill #9, filed last July 1, 2019, which seeks to prohibit “publication and proliferation of false content” in the internet.

What CCPC believes are the major defects of the bill:

[a] It defines “content” but not “false content,” which is what the Sotto bill seeks to prohibit.

CCPC found the same flaw in Sen. Joel Villanueva’s “fake news” bill, SB 1492 in the 17th Congress. Not specifically defining “false content” will open media — and the rest of the public using the internet — to orders from DOJ to rectify, take down or block access or even prosecution.

The absence of a definition that excludes errors of publication or lapses in editing – violations of journalism norm or standard , as distinguished from malicious falsehood – makes media vulnerable to harassment and persecution from those offended by the published material, mostly public officials.

​​[b] It vests huge power on the DOJ Office of Cybercrime, which can issue those rectify/take-down/block-access orders on complaint or “motu propio” without hearing the alleged offender. The DOJ cybercrime office can exercise its powers without due process; it alone determines “sufficient basis.”

And appeal is made only to the DOJ secretary, enabling one office in one department of the government virtual “censorship” functions. What may alarm is that the procedure allows instant judgment on falsehood with a bureaucrat’s decision promptly executed until it is reversed by a higher bureaucrat.

​​The intention is to shoot down false or fake news. The casualty could be free press and free speech instead.

Pachico A. Seares, Executive Director
Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC)

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Media Self-regulation through Media Literacy: Insights from the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC)

Abstract How does the press regulate itself? Through document research, key informant interviews, and participant observation, the researcher studied how the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) promotes media self-regulation (MSR) among…

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Abstract

How does the press regulate itself? Through document research, key informant interviews, and participant observation, the researcher studied how the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) promotes media self-regulation (MSR) among the Cebu press and media literacy (ML) among citizens and netizens in Cebu, a metropolis in southern Philippines. Led by civil society leaders, the editors-in-chief of Cebu newspapers, and other media leaders, the CCPC conducts MSR through the reactive mechanism of adjudicating complaints about accuracy and fairness or right of reply raised against Cebu’s five local newspapers. Its proactive mechanism involves the promotion of MSR among local journalists and the initiation of ML for citizens and netizens. MSR thrives in a setting that involves four stakeholders: newspapers, media advocacy groups, citizens, and netizens, and it can be enhanced and sustained through ML, which ensures greater participation of citizens and netizens as media watchdogs and defenders of freedom of expression.

Click here for the full text.

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CCPC cautions public in assessing “media plot”

“A matrix presented by public officials could lead to something more than a verbal attack from those criticized. In the campaign on illegal drugs, many of those in the matrix…

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“A matrix presented by public officials could lead to something more than a verbal attack from those criticized. In the campaign on illegal drugs, many of those in the matrix were killed. The result from the media matrix could be worse: a muzzled or cowed press and journalists in jail, missing, or dead.”

CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL
Statement on the alleged media
plot to destabilize government

One, the news report cited anonymous sources. Two, the basis was a matrix that didn’t show it was evidence-based and  thus could be just self-serving. Three, allegation of a conspiracy of media with other sectors did not mention specific incidents or present documents that tend to prove the “plot.” Four, it came just after a special report on the alleged link of the First Family to illegal drugs and the size of their wealth.

We are tempted to call it garbage but we resist. Instead we ask media consumers  for caution in assessing the accusation. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) already said that “for now,” they see “no specific threat.”

Media knows that in its work, unfavorable exposure of public officials’ dubious behavior  usually draws return fire. While it may be seen as collective assault on the press, the few news media outlets specifically named in the matrix can defend their reports, on content and motive.

The problem stands out though: Which of the mass of stories from media are false or rigged news? Which conduct outside the newsroom is deemed subversive? And it looks incongruous that news media outlets accused of falsehood and fraud in the reports are among the entities actively exposing the fake stories from public officials’ propaganda machines and, occasionally, even in media itself.

We cannot help but be alarmed. A matrix presented by public officials could lead to something more than a verbal attack from those criticized. In the campaign on illegal drugs, many of those in the matrix were killed. The result from the media matrix could be worse: a muzzled or cowed press and journalists in jail, missing, or dead.

We encourage the public to help defend our democratic institutions and systems. They may call out errors of media. And, more crucially, they can avert any attempt to stifle criticism against the conduct of those who govern.

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Under-coverage of local governments: public officials’ gripes, media’s explanation

  Mayors, mostly of LGUs outside Metro Cebu, complain that their projects and programs have not been publicized by mainstream media. “They send out reporters and news crew to us…

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Mayors, mostly of LGUs outside Metro Cebu, complain that their projects and programs have not been publicized by mainstream media. “They send out reporters and news crew to us only when the news is sensational or negative.”

IN THE southern town of Argao, Cebu locals and tourists alike may be jailed if caught smoking at a public place. The local government has had a working anti-smoking ordinance since 2016.  

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero

Argao Mayor Stanley Caminero, however, laments that this “initiative and other well-meaning programs” in his town have not been given enough exposure or coverage by the Cebu media.

“Even Gov. (Hilario) Davide is not exempted sa ‘no smoking’ ordinance. Apan ang akong smoking ordinance wa pud na ma medya,” the mayor, a medical doctor, says.

One time, Caminero recalls, the Argao government had to launch “Dalagang Argawanon” at the Capitol Social Hall in Cebu City to ensure the event would’ve media coverage.

But are local executives as desirous of media coverage when the story in question tends  to depict them in less than positive light?

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Public officials miss media when they trumpet success. They’re glad reporters are not around when scandal breaks.

While some mayors lament  media “under-coverage” of towns and cities in far-flung areas, which afflicts even urban centers in Metro Cebu that are outside Cebu City, public officials and media…

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Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña.

While some mayors lament  media “under-coverage” of towns and cities in far-flung areas, which afflicts even urban centers in Metro Cebu that are outside Cebu City, public officials and media managers  are not without measures to cope with the situation. Technology and the various media platforms provide wider access for government publicists. And news chiefs just have to be more adept at meeting audience  demand with reduced resources.

WHEN Toledo City Mayor John “Sonny” Osmena sometime ago publicly complained  that Cebu media was not covering his city, he was in the midst of trotting off accomplishments since he assumed as mayor.

Sonny ran for city mayor in 2013 and was reelected in 2016. He griped about media “under-coverage” of Toledo as he announced a string of  successes in his governance. “You come to Toledo only when there is a disaster or a big crime,” he whined.

True enough, as also expressed by other mayors interviewed by  CJJ.

But would these mayors want media coverage if the object of interest were a scandal brought about by official bungling or corruption? Would they not appreciate the lack or absence of  media scrutiny then?

Public officials’ trait

It has been a common trait of politicians, or of most public officials, who rely on public trust to keep their job. Trumpet achievements. Hide or obscure failure.

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Congress seeks to fix venue of libel to place where community journalist lives, works

Bills now pending in Congress narrow the venue of the filing of libel cases to the place where the journalist lives or works, or where the main office of his…

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The Revised Penal Code requires libel suits to be filed in the Regional Trial Court of the province or city where the libelous article was first published, or where the offended parties lived or worked when the offense was committed. Complainants have filed suit in places far from where community journalists work. SUNSTAR PHOTO

Bills now pending in Congress narrow the venue of the filing of libel cases to the place where the journalist lives or works, or where the main office of his media outfit is located.

House Bill 6916, “An act providing for the venue of the criminal and civil action in libel cases against a community or local journalist, publication or broadcast station,” provides the venue of libel cases against such journalists and media outfits as the “Regional Trial Court of the province or city where the principal office or place of business of the community or local journalist, publication or broadcast station is located.”

The objective of the bill is “to prevent harassment of community or local journalists, publications or broadcast stations.” Continue Reading

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Stopping the police ‘perp walk’

CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT June 17, 2018 The decision of PNP chief Oscar Albayalde to stop parading crime suspects puts back in place the order of then PNP chief Jesus Versoza in…

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CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT
June 17, 2018

The decision of PNP chief Oscar Albayalde to stop parading crime suspects puts back in place the order of then PNP chief Jesus Versoza in 2007 that bans the Philippine equivalent of the U.S.-style “perp walk.” Continue Reading

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CCPC decries ‘toughened’ rules on media coverage at House of Representatives

  CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT May 8, 2018 News editors and reporters generally recognize reasonable rules on media coverage to make the flow of information “systematic and orderly.” We are concerned…

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CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT
May 8, 2018

News editors and reporters generally recognize reasonable rules on media coverage to make the flow of information “systematic and orderly.”

We are concerned though about the “codified rules” on media coverage released last April 23 by the House of Representatives.  Continue Reading

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Citizens-Press Council defines fake news

CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT March 6, 2018 CCPC offers definition of ‘fake news’ The Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) today released its definition of “fake news” or “false news.” In five…

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CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT
March 6, 2018

CCPC offers
definition
of ‘fake news’

The Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) today released its definition of “fake news” or “false news.”

In five paragraphs, the definition tells what “fake news” is, what it is not, when standards of journalism are violated, and scope of content. Continue Reading

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Transparency, openness victim in Malacañang’s lockout of Rappler reporter

CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT on Rappler incident February 21, 2018 Whether Malacañang has the legal right to lock out Rappler news reporter Pia Ranada and CEO Maria Ressa from Malacañang is…

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CEBU CITIZENS-PRESS COUNCIL STATEMENT on Rappler incident
February 21, 2018

Whether Malacañang has the legal right to lock out Rappler news reporter Pia Ranada and CEO Maria Ressa from Malacañang is obscured by the ugly light it casts on a government committed to openness and transparency. Besides, what can it hide from other media that it can by excluding Rappler? Continue Reading

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