Thursday, March 02, 2006

Vague orders from NTC

Someone commented in the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility blog:

"Please can someone post the so-called Telecommunications media guidelines that we are supposed to be against? Everybody is talking about how they violate media freedom but if we don't know what they are, we cannot really analyse them and see how it relates to the internationally set standards on freedom of expression. It's like condemning Proc. 1017 and GO 5 without having read them."

Here is a post from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) blog reporting about the reissuance of National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) circulars prohibiting broadcast stations from airing material that "tends to incite to sedition, rebellion or treason and uses language that is 'indecent or immoral.'"

The main problem of these circulars is: How do you define which materials incite people to rebel or which are seditious or not? How should media follow these guidelines while still keeping in mind the values of the profession, such as objectivity, balace, fairness, accuracy, among others? How do you cover, for example, legitimate news sources such as personalities and groups calling for the ouster of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?

Here is the NTC's Memorandum Circular No. 01-01-01, which was issued on Jan. 2001 and reissued after the government issued Presidential Proclamation no. 1017:

WHEREAS, the National Telecommunications Commission has received sufficient and reliable information form the Office of the Press Secretary of suspicious elements who are out to create a destabilization move against the duly constituted government;

WHEREAS, radio broadcasting and television station are duty bound to provide adequate public service which include among others, airing of fair and balanced reporting;

WHEREAS, in the interest of justice and fair play and all laws in connection therewith such as radio broadcasting and television stations; franchises and authorities, Memorandum Circular No. 11-12-85 is hereby reiterated as follows:

"5" All radio broadcasting and television stations shall provide adequate public service time; shall conform to the ethics of honest enterprise; and shall not use its stations for the broadcasting and/or telecasting of obscene or indecent language, speech, play, act or scene, or for the dissemination of false information or willful misrepresentation, or to the detriment of the public health or to incite, encourage or assist in subversive or treasonable acts.

"6" All radio broadcasting and television stations shall, during any broadcast or telecast, cut off from the air the speech, play, act or scene or other matter being broadcast and/or telecast, if the tendency thereof is to propose and/or incite treason, rebellion or treason, or language used therein or the theme thereof is indecent or immoral.

In addition, the airing of rebellious/terrorist propaganda, comments, interviews, information and other similar and/or related materials shall be prohibited. (highlighted text Bryanton Post's)

All broadcast media entities, radio or television must conform with the abovementioned guidelines.

17 January, Quezon City, Philippines

(Sgd.)
Nestor C. Dacanay
Deputy Commissioner
(Officer-in-charge)

(Sgd.)
Aurelio M. Umali
Deputy Commissioner

In reaction to these circulars, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the national association of the broadcaster of the Philippines, released this statement:

In view of the prevailing state of affairs affecting our country and in order not to unduly alarm the public, the KBP leadership enjoins its members to strictly observe the KBP Television and Radio Codes that require balanced programming and presentation of news and public affairs. Coverage of events should be accurate, informative, adequate and must present all sides. The “right to respond” must be observed at all times.

Attention is called to the provision of the KBP Television and Radio Codes that states that rallies and demonstrations are legitimate news events and may be covered at the discretion of the station. However, care must be exercised that the coverage does not provide false information that leads to incite the public to rebellion.

In the coverage of troop movements, members are reminded that there are national security implications and lives are at stake. Any coverage of this nature should NOT identify the location of the troops or provide/show identifiable landmarks, give troop estimates, identity of troop personnel and destination or direction of troops.

In a dialogue with the NTC Commissioners, the KBP was assured that the NTC respects the freedom of the press and of free speech and expression protected by the Constitution. Further, the NTC Commissioners stated that in the enforcement of the laws, rules and regulations affecting broadcast, due process will always be observed in tandem with the self-regulatory mechanisms of the KBP. The Commission further committed to a continuous dialogue with the KBP on matters affecting the industry.

(Sgd.)
Ruperto S. Nicdao Jr.
Chairman

(Sgd.)
Butch Canoy
President

2 comments:

luthien said...

"6" All radio broadcasting and television stations shall, during any broadcast or telecast, cut off from the air the speech, play, act or scene or other matter being broadcast and/or telecast, if the tendency thereof is to propose and/or incite treason, rebellion or treason, or language used therein or the theme thereof is indecent or immoral."

pray, tell me, how do you define this tendency? what may be a "tendency" to you may not be for me.

bryant said...

Exactly. Who defines this "tendency"? The government? Since when did the government started defining news for the press?

 
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