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.
Key words: citizens-press council, media literacy, media self-regulation, media watchdogs, press freedom
[Edited by Patrick F. Campos, this study, completed in 2015, originally appeared in Plaridel, A Philippine Journal of Communication, Media, and Society, ISSN 1656-2534.]