Saturday, March 18, 2006

The battle rages on

That sums up the article I and Nathan J. Lee wrote for the March issue of the Philippine Journalism Review Reports (PJR Reports) regarding the continued government clampdown on the press despite the lifting of Presidential Proclamation 1017. Check out the PDF copy of our article, which was the issue's main story.

As one of the two sidebars to the main story, I also wrote a bit about some of the provisions contained in the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines which can be used to "stifle the press and force it to toe the Palace line." Among such provisions cites the crime of inciting to sedition.

The sidebar also discussed some of the findings of the baseline study jointly made by The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (publisher of PJR Reports) and Article 19 (a free expression group based in London) on the state of press freedom in the Philippines (Actually, aside from the Philippines study, Article 19 also has studies looking at the state of press freedom in various countries in Southeast Asia.)

The baseline study stated: "An expression or news can only be categorized as 'endangering the public order' if it passes a three-part test," which falls under an international set of principles on the right to freedom of expression and national security recommened to UN states like the Philippines for consideration.

"Given this three-part test," I wrote, "can the government prove that Daily Tribune editor-publisher Ninez Cacho Olivares and two of her paper's columnists should be charged with 'incitiing to sedition'?"

Click here for the sidebar. The other sidebar was an executive summary of the petition media organizations and jounalists filed on March 8 asserting media's freedom against prior restraint.

The said March issue of the PJR Reports also carries a well-writting and scathing commentary by Vergel O. Santos on 1017 and stories about the cancellation of the Diyos at Bayan at QTV-11 written by Booma B. Cruz and the Ultra tragedy.

Some of the stories in the issue are not uploaded in the CMFR/PJR Reports pages (like the stories on the Marine standoff and the Inquirer Compact) and some of the photos in the PDF copies are a bit pixelized. Plus, the digital copy of PJR Reports does not carry the other sections of the magazine, such as the "Speaking of Media" and "Crisis" Local and International.

More importantly, the digitized copy does not have the "Monitor" section, considered as the "heart" of the magazine. In this section, we note the press coverage on various issues, hoping to raise a discussion of how the press conducts itself on issues and hopefully, improve its coverage. Reports were either given a kaimito (star apple) mark -- meaning the report did its job well -- or a kalabasa (squash) mark -- the report was not good enough and should have been improved. There are some reports that get both kaimito and kalabasa marks.

Here's a monitor summing up the 1017 coverage:

(Kaimito) Cheers for the press for covering non-stop all developments related to Presidential Proclamation no. 1017.

TV stations aired special reports on the issue, with news and public affairs programs focusing on the various aspects of the infamous proclamation. Websites and blogs kept up with mainstream media by recording the latest developments on the issue.

Below is a monitor on how the press reported on the Muslim cartoons controversy:

(Kalabasa) 24 Oras reported on a Feb. 15 rally of a group of Muslims in front of the Danish embassy in Makati without explaining what the controversy was about. The television news program did not even say that the Makati rally was just one of the many protest actions over the controversial cartoons worldwide.

For more details on how to get PJR Reports, please call (63 2) 894-1326/894-1314/840-0889 (telefax) or email us at Our website is


luthien said...

"Given this three-part test," I wrote, "can the government prove that Daily Tribune editor-publisher Ninez Cacho Olivares and two of her paper's columnists should be charged with 'incitiing to sedition'?"

my point exactly. nakakatawa siya minsang basahin kasi --- hehehe --- pero i don't think the articles even the cartoons aren't seditious enough.

bryant said...

Yeah, right you are luthien. No matter what one says about The Daily Tribune (The Tribune often ends up in the "Monitor" section of the PJR Reports, though on the negative side), it's hard to argue if its articles incite people to sedition.

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