Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ANGRY AT MEDIA? Enrile shows how

by Jess Dureza
 ( Author is a lawyer and the chairman/president of the Philippine Press Institute, a national organization of Philippine newspapers and publications. He also sits in the Philippine Press Council representing Mindanao.)

 METRO MANILA ---The Philippine Press Institute (PPI) met the other night in downtown  Makati and discussed how to deal with the complaint filed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile against the Philippine Daily Inquirer.  It stemmed from the publication of PDI of a story that identified him  as allegedly the "mastermind" or "brains"  behind the alleged PDAF scam of Janet Napoles.  Senator Enrile vehemently denied this.
        Instead of filing a libel or civil case in the regular courts, it was instead filed before the Philippine Press Council (PPC),  asking for an investigation and the corresponding sanctions imposed, if warranted. I will not talk here  about the merits of the  Enrile complaint. I will just show to you what this process is all about.
        This grievance procedure is not known to many. But at PPC, an aggrieved citizen can lodge a complaint against the newspaper concerned without going to court and seek redress from the print media sector itself.    PPC is  composed of sectoral representatives from the academe, civil society and private media. It somehow serves as a "watchdog" in that an individual can lodge a complaint against a PPI newspaper-member if he feels aggrieved due to a published article and he needs to also have his side reasonably heard as a way of vindication.  It is a mechanism that allows the  media sector itself the matter of policing its own ranks and disciplining its own members and at the same time upholding press freedom. 
        However, there are certain "jurisdictional elements" that must be present to set in motion this procedure of seeking redress. Here are some basic things to bear in mind before the council can take cognizance of a complaint.
        First,  the newspaper subject of the complaint must be a PPI  member. This is necessary because sanctions cannot be imposed on non members for obvious reasons, the press council being an instrumentality of PPI.  Secondly, there must be no other pending case in court or in any other body over the same subject matter. In this case, a certification submitted by the complainant must first attest to this non-pendency. Thirdly, there must be a waiver on the part of the complaining party as to judicial recourse, meaning he will forego of his right to go  to the regular  court or any other administrative body to seek redress if he submits to the jurisdiction of the press council. Lastly, the complainant must show proof that he had  communicated to the newspaper concerned to give his side to a published derogatory report  but this has not been given due consideration by the said publication.
        If all the above elements are present, the press council shall then take cognizance of the complaint and after due investigation and hearing both parties, a decision is rendered. An erring newspaper will be required to publish the decision of the council and/or  will be ordered to give reasonable space for the publication of the complainant's own side of the story subject of the case. If the newspaper refuses to comply, a possible fine can be imposed and the other PPI  newspaper-members may then proceed to publish in their own publications either  the decision or the side of the aggrieved party or both.
        This mechanism for redress has not been resorted to too often by aggrieved citizens principally because this procedure for redress is not known to many yet. In fact,  there were not too many of such  complaints lodged  before the council up to the present. According to records, the most notable and the latest case so far heard was the case filed by former Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo against the late  Philippine Star columnist Max Soliven, for the latter's  series of commentaries allegedly derogatory to former ES Bert. But this happened  many  years ago.    In fact, incumbent PPC chair Tony La Vina said the council had been inactive for sometime and needs to re-charge batteries now with the Enrile complaint filed before it.
        Provincial or regional press councils may also be organized by the local press groups to address their own local problems. I was informed that the press council that is most active and functioning today  is the press council in Cebu City. I touched base with the council through Ms. Cherrie Lim when I was in Cebu  last week.We need to replicate this mechanism nationwide. For the moment, the Philippine Press Council has been moribund and it got out of long slumber only  with this recent complaint filed before it by a senator of the Republic.
        This will now bring me to some other  important points I wish to stress. If the press council is active and functioning and worthy of the public's trust, there is in fact no more need for Congress to pass  the controversial  "right to reply bill" that media is opposing.  I understand the "right to information"  bill that media is pushing is still pending in Congress and is subject to a "quid pro quo" deal where the last time I checked,  Congress seemed to push for an  "exchange deal"  for  the latter's baby, the Right to Reply bill. Come to think of it,  there is no more need for this "tit for tat" arrangement. The intendment of the "right to reply" law is rendered moot by this press council mechanism. Moreover, by  availing of the press council grievance machinery, we all avoid and prevent  long, tedious, expensive and acrimonious  law suits and cases between the press and litigants seeking redress.
    We always also  hear the advocacy of de-criminalizing libel. This press council mechanism, if normally availed of by those who have complaints against newspapers, will bring about this desired end -- even before the law is amended. Ultimately, this  will all bring us  a more responsible ,  a much livelier and  freer press -- a necessary bulwark of our democracy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Katarungan dapat makamit ng mga biktima bago bumaba si Pnoy sa 2016

MALOLOS—Tuparin ang pangako, ipagkaloob ang katarungan sa mga biktima sa Maguindanao Massacre sa Hunyo 2016.

Ito ang nagkakaisang panawagan ng mga mamamahayag sa Gitnang Luzon ay Pangulong Benigno  Aquino III kaugnay ng ika-apat na taong paggunita sa Maguindanao massacre kung saan ay 58 katao ang pinaslang kabilang ang 32 mamamahayag.

Kaugnay nito, nagpahayag din ng pag-asa si Hukom Jocelyn Solis Reyes, na posibleng makamit ng mga biktima ang hinahangad na katarungan bago bumaba sa kanyang puwesto si Pangulong Aquino sa Hunyo 30, 2016.

Angpanawagan para sa katarungan sa darating na 2016 ay binigyang diin ng mga mamamahayag at mag-aaral sa Bulacan at Pampanga kung saan isinagawa ang paggunita noong Nobyembre 21 at 22 ayon sa pagkakasunod.

Sa panayam ng Mabuhay kay Fred Villareal ng National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Pampanga chapter, binigyang diin niya na sa paghiling ng katarungan, dapat ay may nakatakdang panahon.

“Kailangan ay timebound ang ating demand,” sabi ni Villareal ng makapanayam sa telepono noong Martes,Nobyembre 19.

Iginiit pa niya na simula sa Enero ay sisimulan na ng mga sangay ng NUJPang pagbibigay ng countdown para sa kampanyang “Justice by 2016.”

Ito ay tatampukan ng buwanang paggunita sa Maguindanao Massacre na isasagawa tuwing ika-23 ng buwan.

“We cannot have a countdown kung walang malinaw na panahon na dapat itong matupad,” sabi ni Villareal.

Gayundin ang naging paninindigan ng sangay ng NUJP sa Bulacanna kanilang inihayag sa pamamagitanng isang pahinang ;pooled editorial na inilabas na noong Nobyembre 21 kaugnay ng paggunita sa Maguindanao Massacre na isinagawa sa harapng bantayog ni Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar sa harapng kapitolyo sa lungsod na ito.

Sa nasabing pahayag, sinabi ng NUJP-Bulacan na ”hinahamon natin ang administrasyong Aquino na tiyakin na makakamit ang katarungan para sa mga biktima sa Ampatuan massacre bago siya bumaba sa tungkulin sa Hunyo 2016.”

Hinamon din ng NUJP Bulacan ang mga  ang administrasyong Aquino at iba pang mga lokal na opisyal na tiyaking ang maayos na working envitonment para samga mamamahayag sa bansa.

Samantala, iginiit ni Rommel Ramos, station manager ng Radyo na Bulacan na samantalang humihiling ng katarungan ang mga mamamahayag sa 2016, dapat ding tiyakin ng pamahalaan ang zero casualty o wala ng mamamahayag na papaaslanging mula ngayong hanggang 2016.

Ito ay nangangahulugan din ng responsableng pamamahayag sa hanay ng mga mamamahayag.

Ang magkakaugnay na panawagang ito ay tumutukoy sa patuloy na pagtaas ng bilang ng mga mamamahayag na pinaslang sa bansa.

Batay sa huling tala ng NUJP,umabot sa 157 ang pinaslang na mamamahayag sa bansa mula noong 1986.

Ito ay higit na mas mataas sa naitalang 153 noong nakaraang taon.

Para naman sa Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ),  at Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), binigyang diin nila ang bhilang ng mga mamamahayag na pinaslang sa panahon ng panunungkulan ng bawat pangulo ng bansa.
Batay sa pag-aaralng PCIJ at CMFR, umaboty na sa 23 mamamahayag ang pinaslang sa loob ng 40 buwang panunungkulan ni Pangulong Aquino.

Ang nasabing bilang ay mas mataas sa naitalang 21 mamamahayag na pinaslang sa panahon ng panunungkulan ni dating Pangulong Corazon Aquino; dating Pangulong Fidel V. Ramos (11), at dating Pangulong Joseph Estrada (6).

Sa panahon naman ng siyam na taong panunungkulan ni dating Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo,umabot sa 80 ang bilang ng pinaslang na mamamahayag, kasama ang 32 sa Maguindanao Massacre noong Nobyembre 23, 2009.

Ang nasabing araw at itinakda rin ng International Freedom of Expression Xchange (IFEX) bilang International Day to End Impunity (IDEI).

Ang impunity ay nangangahulugan ng kawalan ng napaparusahan sa pamamaslang sa mga mamamahayag. (Dino Balabo)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ka Nene, beteranang mamamahayag, 59

By Dino Balabo

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan—Ipinagdalamhati ng kapamilya, mga kaibigan at mamamahayag sa Bulacan ang biglaang pagpanaw ni Maria “Nene” Bundoc-Ocampo. Siya ay 59.

Ayon sa pamilya ng mamamahayag, si Bundoc-Ocampo na mas kilala sa tawag na “Ka Nene” ay pumanaw bandang alas-8 ng gabi ng Lunes sa Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH) matapos atakihin sa puso.

Ayon pa sa impormasyong inilabas ng mga kapamilya at kaibigan, nagsimulang makaramdam ng di maganda si Ka Nene noong Biyernes at isinugod sa Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) noong Linggo, Setyembre16.

Inilabas siya ng BMC noong Lunes ng madaling araw, ngunit muling isinugod sa La Consolacion Hospital sa bayan ng Plaridel kinaumagahan hanggang sa ilipat sa QCGH kung saan siya binawian ng buhay.

Naulila ni Ka Nene ang kanyang kabiyak na si Roberto, at mga anak na sina Roberto Jr., Nico Diwa, Ana Hiyas, at Buhay Isaias at pitong apo.

Ang kanyang labi ay kasalukuyang nakaburol sa kanilang tahanan sa Mabiyaya Street, Masagana Subdivision, Barangay Sta. Rita sa bayang ito. Wala pang itinakdang araw ng libing.

Ang pagpanaw ni Ka Nene ay ikinalungkot ng mga kapwa mamamahayag matapos itong mabalitaan sa pamamagitan ng text message at facebook.com.

Karaniwan sa mga mensaheng ipinost patungkol sa pagpanaw ni Ka Nene ay “Condolence po,” “lubos po kaming nakikiramay,” “malaki siyang kawalan,” “nami-miss ko na agad siya.”

Ito ay nagmula sa mga kaibigan, kapwa mamamahayag at mga kasapi ng ibat-ibang sangay ng National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Philippine Press Institute (PPI), at maging sa Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) kung saan ay naging aktibong opisyal at kasapi si Ka Nene.

Bilang isang mamamahayag, si Ka Nene ay nagsimula sa Philippine News Agency (PNA) bilang Pilipino Editor sa ilalim ng pamamatnubay ng yumaong si Jose L. Pavia, ang dating general manager ng ahensiya.

Si Ka Nene ay isa rin sa orihinal na mamamahayag na nagsimula at nagtatag ng pahayagang Mabuhay na inilathala ni Pavia sa Bulacan noong 1980.

Nagsilbi rin siyang desk editor ng Pilipino Star Ngayon noong huling bahagi ng dekada 80, kung kailan ay sinimulan niyang ilathala ang pahayagang Punla, isa sa dalawang lokal na pahayagan sa Bulacan na kasapi ng PPI.

Bilang isa sa mga unang babaeng mamamahayag sa Bulacan, si Ka Nene ay ilang beses din nakaranas ng pananakot; at bilang tagapalathala ng pahayagang Punla, nagpakita siya ng matatag na paninindigan sa katotohanan.

Sa mahabang panahon ng kanyang pamamahayag, si Ka Nene ay tumanggap ng ibat-ibang parangal, kabilang ang Gawad Plaridel na tatlong beses niyang tinanggap mula sa pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Bulacan.

Nagsilbi rin siyang guro sa Bulacan State University (BulSU), at tagapagasanay sa ibat-ibang training workshop na inorganisa ng pahayagang Punla at ng NUJP.

Si Ka Nene ay ang ikatlong mamamahayag sa Bulacan na binawian ng buhay sanhi ng sakit sa taong ito.

Ang una ay si Bienvenido Ramos, ang dating punong patnugot ng Liwayway Magazine, at Mariz Jaucian ng pahayagang Bagong Tiktik.

Si Ramos ay pumanaw noong Abril, at si Jaucian ay nitong unang linggo ng Setyembre.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Radyo Bulacan is now online

Add caption
LISTEN.  Now, you can watch and listen to you favorite 

 programs aired over Radyo Bulacan by going online.  Just
 log on to www,ustream.tv and search for RTV Bulacan. or

 simply type on the URL field:  www.ustream.tv/channel


Metrobank Journalist of the Year Awards

 SHAPING THE NATION THROUGH POWERFUL STORIES.  True to its tradition of recognizing excellence and in celebration of its 50th year, the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) will once again award the best journalists from print, broadcast and online media for 2012.  Via the signing of a memorandum of agreement for the Journalists of the Year (JOY) Awards, the MBFI  has partnered with the Probe Media Foundation Inc. (PMFI) to administer the awards program  that will include nomination, screening and judging a journalist's body of work for the last five years. "Metrobank has always been exposed in the sectors that are concerned with development.  The media for one, have been very helpful,"  says Aniceto M. SobrepeƱa, President of MBFI.  In November 2001, Sheila Coronel, Dean Armando Malay and Jessica Soho became the first batch of awardees.  In the photo are: MBFI Executive Vice President Elvira Ong Chan, MBFI President Aniceto M. SobrepeƱa, PMFI Founder and Trustee Cheche Lazaro, PMFI Vice President Twink Macaraig; (standing) MBFI Executive Director Nicanor L. Torres, Jr. and PMFI Executive Director Yasmin Mapua-Tang.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Philippine Press Institute oppose Angara's privacy bill

The Philippine Press Institute objects to the proposed

because it violates the constitutional freedoms of expression and the press.
We are not, however, closing our minds to any discussions –  with your sector and any other that may want to involve itself in them  – about matters involving those freedoms, especially where they become a potential subject of any legislation.

Call to oppose 2 counter-FOI bills

OPPOSE HB 5835 AND SB 2965

Certain members of the 15th Congress apparently have no knowledge of, or have chosen to ignore, the fact that freedom of information is a human right, and that

It would not matter were these individuals not charged with the task of legislation.  The fact that they are, together with their antipathy to freedom of information and a free press, constitutes a mix lethal for free expression and freedom of information in the Philippines.

Two bills, one in the initial stages of the legislative process, and the other on the brink of approval by both houses of Congress, are illustrative.

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco of Marinduque has filed several bills, including House Bill (HB) 5835 which would increase the fine for each count of libel. 

Velasco notes that the Revised Penal Code provisions on libel are 82 years old and are outmoded. Indeed they are—but in the sense that the penalties they mandate, including imprisonment, are antithetical not only to press freedom but also to the democratic need of citizens for information on matters of public interest. Rather than increase the penalties for libel, an enterprise that can only be described as retrogressive, Velasco’s energies are better spent decriminalizing it.

Senate Bill (SB) 2965, the reconciled version of three House and Senate bills now entitled  “The Data Privacy Act”, would create a National Privacy Commission with the power to monitor the processing of personal information in all forms and media of communication, to halt the process in the name of privacy and national security, and to penalize violators, including private entities, government officials and agencies  as well as the media, for obtaining, or causing the release or publication of,  “personal information”.

Section 31 mandates that “The penalty of imprisonment ranging from two (2) years and four (4) months to five (5) years and a fine not less than Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (Php 500,000.00) but not more than Two Million Pesos (Php 2,000,000,000.00) shall be imposed in case of a breach of confidentiality where such breach has resulted in the information being published or reported by media. In this case, the responsible reporter, writer, president, publisher, manager and editor-in-chief shall be liable under this Act.”

SB 2965 defines  “personal information”  as “any information whether recorded in a material form or not, from which the identity of an individual is apparent or can be reasonably and ascertained by the entity holding the information, or when put together with other information would identify an individual.”  The definition would therefore include information vital to the imperatives of transparency and accountability in both government and those sectors of the private sector whose work has a bearing on public interest. SB 2965 is also contrary to the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill that has been submitted to the Congressional Committees on Public Information.

Not only media and journalists’ organizations must oppose SB 2965 and HB 5835. Human rights  organizations and accountability and transparency watch groups—every organization concerned with freedom of information, government accountability and with the right not only to disseminate but also to receive information-- must unite in preventing these and similar bills from passing the legislative mill, which, in contrast to the speed with which it has processed SB 2965, has failed to act on the FOI bill despite the painstaking efforts of its stakeholders, which include no less than the free press, free expression groups, and the entire Philippine citizenry.