Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fighting Back (updated)

Journalists who are set to file a civil class action suit today on behalf of the Philippine press against presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo updates its pooled editorial on the issue. Check out the new editorial here.

Wake up and smell the free and critical press

Today, the press proudly says to First Gentleman Mike Arroyo: Enough!

From Freedom Watch:

Fighting Back

Journalists who are filing today a class action suit on behalf of the Philippine press against presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo have just released a pooled editorial, criticizing Arroyo's suits as having an effect on press freedoom.

"The class action suit does not dispute the right of Mr. Arroyo to file libel charges against anyone he believes has wronged him through a libelous imputation. Journalists are also aware that libel suits are part of the media territory," the editorial stated. "But the sheer number of suits he has filed (10 against 45 respondents) suggests that these are primarily intended to intimidate the press and silence criticism."

The editorial was prepared by the journalists who are set to file the class action suit, 23 of which have been sued for libel by Mr. Arroyo. Other journalists and media organizations, such as the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, joined as petitioners to the suit.

Click here to read the editorial.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Now is the time

If journalists are not busy dodging bullets from press freedom violators, they sure are busy answering libel suits filed by presidential spouse Mike Arroyo. At present, Arroyo has already implicated 45 journalists in his 10 libel suits, a number unprecedented in any administration.

Tomorrow, December 28, some of the journalists whom Arroyo has sued for libel, and other journalists and media organizations (among them the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility), are going to file a class action suit on behalf of the Philippine press against him. Journalists, media organizations, and citizens who want to defend press freedom and free expression in the country are urged to attend the filing of the suit tomorrow at the Office of the Clerk of Court in the Makati Regional Trial Court, 10:30 am.

It's high time we defend press freedom in the Philippines.

A killing in a time of peace

What a way to end 2006. It's literally ending the year with a bang.

From the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility's blog Freedom Watch:

Ilocos Norte reporter killed
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Assailants stabbed to death a community journalist on 20 December 2006 in Batac, Ilocos Norte, a province north of Manila.

Andres “Andy” Acosta, 46, news reporter for dzJC and the monthly community paper Northern Light, was on his way home from a Christmas party of reporters at the Northview Hotel in Laoag when he was stabbed by still unknown attackers.

Acosta managed to get on his motorcycle and headed for the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac. Witnesses saw him speeding on the national highway before he collapsed from his motorcycle and died from his stab wounds.

A journalist for the past nine years, Acosta covered mostly police stories. The motive for his death is still unknown but Superintendent Bienvenido Rayco, Batac police director, said that revenge could be the reason.

Read the full version of the report here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Human rights vs culture of impunity in Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) announces the opening of applications for the 2007 SEAPA Journalism Fellowship Program. The Fellowship theme for 2007 is, "Human Rights Versus a Culture of Impunity in Southeast Asia."

"All throughout the rest of Southeast Asia.... each nation finds that confronting rights abuses with justice, and fighting a culture of impunity itself, is vital to true human and national development," SEAPA wrote in an announcement for the opening of the fellowship. "Whether its theme reminds about the massacre of East Timorese under Indonesian rule, the disappearance of human rights workers in Thailand, the arrest and killing of student activists in Burma, or the unabated killing of journalists in the Philippines, the 2007 Journalism Fellowship Program will as always be a rich venue for reflective journalism and discussions. It will highlight the virtues of journalism's freedom to shed light, support justice, and establish truth as a fundamental foundation for any society seeking stability and progress."

See the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility blog or go to SEAPA's site for more details.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This time, Agustin douses himself with water

What was Vic Agustin thinking?

Just like what Caloy Conde had written in his blog, Agustin decided to douse himself with water in front of the camera while he was a guest at Che-che Lazaro ANC show's "Media in Focus" earlier aired this afternoon. Ms. Lazaro's other guest was none other than activist Renato Constantino Jr. Unless you're living in Mars or under a rock, you know that Mr. Agustin threw water at Mr. Constantino during a press conference of House Speaker Jose De Venecia on Charter change at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City.

"Agustin told Cheche Lazaro that he had offered Constantino, who was also at the studio, the chance to douse him with water in retaliation for what the columnist did days ago," Sir Caloy wrote in his post. "But Constantino refused, Agustin said. So Agustin decided to do the act on himself, in front of Lazaro and in front of the camera."

I was not able to watch Ms. Lazaro's show earlier, but the second water-dousing incident was replayed in ABS-CBN's early night time newscast, "TV Patrol World."

"The (Philippine Daily) Inquirer publisher should extend the suspension (of Mr. Agustin) for another month," Sir Caloy wrote. "Better still, forever. Agustin has officially become nuts, an embarrassment to the Inquirer."

Maybe Mr. Agustin has also watched too much sappy Filipino melodramas where the contravidas always douse the poor and humble leading actress with water and what-have-yous.

You want worldwide prestige plus a whopping amount of 50,000 euros? Read here

From Freedom Watch:

Are you a journalist who has written about issues involving human rights, democracy, and development over the past year or so?

The Lorenzo Natali Prize 2006, a prize excellence in reporting on human rights, democracy and development issues, is now open. Created in 1992 by the European Union for "to promote quality in journalism and to commemorate the devotion of Lorenzo Natali, the former Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of development cooperation between 1985 and 1989."

The Lorenzo Natali Prize 2006 is open to print and on-line journalists employed by the local media in following five regions:
- Europe
- Africa
- Arab World –Iran –Israel
- Asia and Pacific
- Latin America and Caribbean.

Eligible journalists should have written reports which focus on human rights or democracy in the developing world.

Read here for more.

On journalists' safety and sensitive reporting

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) launched its two latest projects last December 19 at the Newsdesk Café in Quezon City. I attended the said event, which happened right before NUJP's Christmas party that night.

Here's the NUJP statement on the event:

NUJP launches "20 Steps to Safety Campaign" for journalists and Media Guide for HIV/AIDS Reporting

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) held yesterday the back-to-back launching of its "20 Steps to Safety" campaign and the Media Guide on HIV/AIDS Reporting at the Newsdesk Café in Quezon City. Simultaneous launchings were also held in Subic and Iloilo City.

"While they may seem unrelated, both actually address very important issues that journalists should be concerned with – journalists' safety and accurate and sensitive reporting," said Jose Torres Jr., NUJP chairperson.

"20 Steps to Safety" information campaign
With the number of Filipino journalists being killed each year, safety training and awareness is a must to keep journalists safe and alive.

The Media Safety Office of the NUJP and International Federation of Journalists formally launched the poster and reporter's notebook that contain what it calls "20 Steps to Safety". These are practical tips and information for journalists facing threats or covering sensitive issues or dangerous areas.

NUJP has recorded 84 media killings since 1986, 47 under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 11 this year.

Torres noted that many of the slain journalists received threats before being killed. He appealed to his colleagues to take seriously whatever type of threats they receive and to take the necessary precautions.

The reporters' notebook and poster are available at the IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office. Local NUJP chapters may also be contacted for copies.

Media guide for sensitive and accurate reporting
The Media Guide for HIV/AIDS Reporting contains useful information for journalists that would help them in their coverage of HIV/AIDS cases and related issues. It provides basic information on HIV/AIDS, suggests possible story approaches, defines commonly used medical terms and corrects common mistakes. Most of all, it stresses sensitive and ethical reporting, particularly when interviewing persons living with HIV/AIDS.

The launching of the media guide is the culmination of a year-long project that included the holding of eight training workshops attended by a total of almost 200 journalists from different parts of the country. The workshops were held in Pampanga, Subic, Sorsogon, Iloilo, Cebu, Davao, Zamboanga and Batangas. The project also included research on Philippine media's reporting of HIV/AIDS, the results of which are also in the media guide.

The Philippine project is part of a six-country IFJ project aimed at improving reporting of HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia, supported by the Swedish trade union movement, the LO-TCO. The project's six target countries are Cambodia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Zambia.

NUJP hopes these two initiatives will result in greater safety awareness among Filipino journalists as well as improved coverage of the HIV/AIDS situation in the country.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

J'adore Seth

Seth MacFarlane is the best! For those who don't know this amazing guy, click here or here.

Wikipedia's entry describing the video above:

"MacFarlane was invited by Harvard University's class of 2006 to deliver the "class day" address on June 7, 2006. He spoke as himself, as Peter Griffin, as Stewie Griffin, and as Glenn Quagmire. Videos of the speech can be found on YouTube, Google Video, and among the external links at the end of this article. At the end of his speech, he was presented with an honorary degree."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On media killings and AIDS reporting

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is launching two important projects tonight at 7 pm in Newsdesk Cafe (Sct. Madrinan cor. Sct. Tobias, Quezon City, near Music 21 in Timog).

1. Twenty Steps to Safety
- featuring NUJP's "Reporter's Notebook" which contains important safety tips for journalists and posters that can be displayed in newsrooms and press offices.

2. HIV/AIDS Media Guide
- An International Federation of Journalists and NUJP reporting guide and research results on media reporting of HIV/AIDS

NUJP's Christmas party follows right after the event at 8 p.m.

From NUJP's Joe Torres and Weng Paraan:

December 17, 2006

Dear friends,

We may well look back at 2006 as another annus horribilis for Philippine media.

We lost at least 10 more of our colleagues even as the authorities continue to shirk their duty to solve the ever growing number of killings and bring the gunmen and masterminds to justice or actually seem to justify these crimes by hinting that the victims brought their fates on themselves. The First Gentleman set his own record at the expense of 43 of our colleagues who he has sued for libel.

And yet it was also a year of triumphs for the independent Philippine press.

We can always look back on this year with pride at the unity we showed as we defied the Arroyo government's threats and attempts to muzzle us, by force if needed, during the short-lived state of emergency. It was the same oneness we displayed when more than 600 of us signed the petition for the decriminalization of libel.

So as the year closes, we in the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines wish to invite you, dear colleagues, friends, partners and supporters to join us for a Christmas party on December 19, 8 p.m. at the NEWSDESK CAFE (Sct. Madrinan cor. Sct. Tobias, Quezon City, near Music 21 in Timog).

This is the least we can do to express our gratitude and appreciation to you who have stood with us, marched with us, raged with us and rejoiced with us and to solicit once more your company in what will undoubtedly be more challenges in the year to come.

Together, we shall prevail.

Yours truly,

Jose Torres Jr.

Rowena Carranza-Paraan

Esperat who? Damalerio who?

Profiles of journalists and media practitioners killed in the line of duty from 2001 to present (according to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility/CMFR database) are now available in the CMFR site.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Time's Person of the Year is none other than...


"For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game," Time said in its much-awaited Dec. 25 issue, "TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you."

  • Power to the People Meet 15 citizens—including a French rapper, a relentless reviewer and a real life lonely girl—of the new digital democracy
  • The YouTube Gurus How a couple of regular guys built a company that changed the way we see ourselves
Go to Time's site for more of this issue's contents.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

What are this year's best and worst US films?

The Rolling Stone magazine came out with its list of this year's top 10 Hollywood films.

"High five! After a box-office slump, movies made money again in 2006," Peter Travers wrote in the article "The 10 Best Movies of 2006." "Kill-me-now depression sets in only when I list the big winners (Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest; X-Men: The Last Stand; The Da Vinci Code). Luckily, it wasn't just Borat that hit pay dirt without getting slimed by formula pap. Martin Scorsese had his biggest hit with The Departed. And Dreamgirls proved a musical could have grit as well as glitz. And what of terrific movies that barely made a dime? They, too, have pride of place on my list of movies that mattered this year."

The 10 best films in the United States this year, according to Travers, are:

1. The Departed

2. Dreamgirls
3. Letters From Iwo Jima/Flags of Our Fathers
4. Volver
5. Babel
6. United 93
7. The Queen
8. Borat
9. Little Miss Sunshine
10. Prairie Home Companion

If Travers noted this year's best films, he also picked the 10 worst Hollywood films in 2006, with his remarks below. These are:

1. Bobby

Emilio Estevez tacks on RFK's assassination to a series of soapy star cameos and calls it humanism. Wrong, pal, it's risible exploitation.

2. The Da Vinci Code

Blockbuster book becomes a blockheaded movie.

3. Snakes on a Plane

The Internet hyped it, but audiences rightly spit venom.

4. x-Men: The Last Stand

Let's hope so.

5. Basic Instinct 2

So bad, you wanted Sharon Stone's legs to stay crossed.

6. The Nativity Story

The Virgin birth staged like a stuffy Christmas pageant.

7. Lady in the Water

M. Night Shyamalan loses his sixth sense for scary.

8. Click

Adam Sandler in a sentimental mood; it's like drowning in drool.

9. Death of a President

A fake doc that imagines Bush dead, and it's still boring.

10. All The King's Men

Southern-fried politics, and even with Sean Penn it's duller than dog shit.

Check out the Rolling Stone article here.

That makes it 61

Thank you to Jael Burgos, the son of the late journalist Jose Burgos, for lending us copies of old issues of Malaya. The latter founded the paper in 1981, which became a critical part of the alternative press during the dark days of Marcos dictatorship.

Thus, the official count of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility of Filipino journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty is now 61, not 62, as of December 12, 2006.

De Castro killed in 1984, not 1986
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

While browsing through the pages of old Malaya issues, the staff discovered that Florante de Castro, a Mindanao-based news commentator, was killed on March 9, 1984, not 1986, as has been listed in CMFR and other media organizations' databases.

De Castro, also a lawyer, was gunned down on the said date inside his house in General Santos City.

According to a March 13, 1984 editorial of Malaya, spearheaded then by the late Jose Burgos Jr., assemblyman Reuben Canoy even wrote "Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile urging him (the latter) to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the murder of [De Castro]..."

Canoy also cited the slaying of two other media practitioners, Bulletin Today's Demy Dingcong (1980) and Philippine Post's Geoffrey Siao (March 2, 1984), who were all considered killed in the line of their journalism work.

Read more here.

A "very brazen" resolution -- Newsbreak

FIVE editors of the Newsbreak magazine posted bail at the Regional Trial Court of the Manila City Hall last December 14 following the approval of the filing in court of libel charges against them by the husband of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The journalists were sued in connection with an article that appeared in Newsbreak magazine on December 3, 2003. Editor-in-chief Maritess Danguilan Vitug, managing editor Glenda Gloria, editorial consultant Jose Dalisay, former business editor Ricky Carandang and former contributing editor Booma Cruz (who also works for PJR Reports as copy editor) each posted a bail of P10,000 to preempt the arrest warrant that is expected to be issued soon.

In an interview by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Vitug described the resolution as "very brazen," adding that: “It looks like we can no longer seek protection from the law. We know we can stand our ground in court but the issue here is the message that the charges send to other journalists.”

Newsbreak staff posts bail for Arroyo libel charge
Source: CMFR

Five journalists posted bail at the Regional Trial Court of the Manila City Hall on 14 December 2006 following the approval of the filing in court of libel charges against them by the husband of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The journalists were sued in connection with an article that appeared in Newsbreak magazine on 3 December 2003. Editor-in-chief Maritess Danguilan Vitug, managing editor Glenda Gloria, editorial consultant Jose Dalisay, former business editor Ricky Carandang and former contributing editor Booma Cruz each posted a bail of P10,000 ($200) to preempt the arrest
warrant that is expected to be issued soon.

The resolution, written by an assistant city prosecutor of Manila, stated that the accused journalists “meant and intended to convey false and malicious insinuations” against Jose Miguel Arroyo, the president’s spouse. It said that the story was “highly libelous and offensive and
derogatory to the good name, character and reputation… of the First

Read more here.

In a statement posted in their website, Vitug wrote:

"Clearly, our story is not libelous. It's amazing that we've been singled out for prosecution. The message we're getting is this: no matter how responsible journalists are, you can no longer seek protection in the law.

"It is quite unfortunate that the Manila prosecutor misunderstands the role of the press. Never in the course of our work do we write "solely to besmirch" the reputation of a person. Our foremost duty is to inform readers on issues that are vital to public interest. Mr. Arroyo is only one among many public figures we have written about.

"We're ready to face Mr. Arroyo in court. We worry, though, about the impact of this libel case on our profession."

Check out the full statement.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Want to work with THE Bob Woodward?

Working with the great Bob Woodward of the Watergate fame is not exactly a walk in the park.

From Poynter:

Here's your chance to work for Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward's looking for a new full-time assistant to act as his "right hand man or woman." His ad on a journalism jobs site -- written by current assistant Bill Murphy Jr. -- says: "You will research, report, write and edit. You will also handle administrative matters -- transcribing interview tapes, helping him keep track of his calendar and requests, and running his small office" out of his Washington, DC home.

"Primarily, you will work on whatever major project Bob undertakes next, be it another book, articles for The Washington Post, etc. Most of the time you will be working on several things at once, and sometimes these 'secondary assignments' can take on a life of their own."

The ad continues:

"This is not a job to expect to have for your entire career. The normal model is 'two years or one book,' whichever comes first. It is a great and perhaps unique opportunity to learn from an accomplished journalist and to contribute to in-depth reporting on the most timely topics.

"These are meant as guidelines, and we offer them in part to encourage you to self-select a bit. To be blunt, we are probably NOT looking for someone 24-25 years old, two or three years out of college, looking to move on from his or her first job. Ideally, candidates should have five to eight years experience in journalism, books, or in-depth research and writing."

Read more here. Photo above shows Woodward with Carl Bernstein (left). Together with Bernstein, Woodward became famous with their reporting of the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of then US President Richard Nixon.

Former Nueva Ecija journalist killed

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility releases an alert on the Grande killing today:

Former Nueva Ecija journalist killed
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Two men on a motorcycle killed and robbed a former radio and newspaper reporter on 7 December 2006 in his farm in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, a province north of Manila.

Ponciano Grande, who had worked for The Recorder and The Nueva Ecija Times, died from five bullet wounds fired from a .45-caliber pistol. Annie Liwag, Grande’s common-law partner who hosts a radio program in dwJJ, said the gunmen were in their late teens.

Liwag said the assailants took P174,000 (US$3,480) from Grande. The money was supposed to pay for expenses in the farm.

Grande used to write for the two community papers and served as assistant information writer for dwNE until 2000 when he and Liwag decided to give full attention to their farm. Grande was also a board director of the Nueva Ecija Press Club (NEPC) from 1992 to 1993. Liwag said she believes the killing was not related to Grande’s previous work as a journalist. He has also not received any threat before he was killed.

Click here to read more.

A media gang-up?

Reacting to the water-dousing incident last Saturday, here's a statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines:

We stand by free expression

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is embarrassed and saddened by the ill-judged and unconscionable behavior shown by some colleagues in the media who ganged up on activist Renato Constantino Jr. during the press conference called by Speaker Jose de Venecia last Saturday.

We particularly deplore the action of columnist Victor Agustin of the Philippine Daily Inquirer who doused Mr. Constantino with water.

We will not begrudge the journalists concerned if they felt that Mr. Constantino was out of line by speaking at a press conference they believed only the media were entitled to attend.

But for them to berate Mr. Constantino and, worse, physically attack him for expressing himself is tragic. For how can we, who invoke press freedom and the right to free expression in the exercise of our calling, even deign to prevent others, especially citizens who actually own these freedoms, from exercising these rights?

The NUJP would like to make its stand clear on this sorry incident. Under no circumstances will we abide by any attempt to stifle free expression from which the freedom of the press merely emanates, especially not through physical means and especially not by one of our own.

Monday, December 11, 2006

When will the killings stop?

From the International Federation of Journalists:

47th journalist killed under Arroyo administration in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has slammed the Arroyo administration for their failure to protect journalists, after the 47th journalist was killed under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the 11th just this year, surpassing last year's total.

According to IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Ponciano Grande, a broadcaster and former columnist from Nueva Ecija, was shot and killed by two assailants on December 7.

"Despite public claims by the government that those who harm journalists will be punished, and Arroyo's lip service to investigations by the Melo Commission into unsolved journalists' deaths, it is clear by this latest murder that journalists' safety is far from a priority for the Arroyo government," said the president of the IFJ, Christopher Warren.

"More journalists have been killed in the Philippines since Arroyo came to power in 2001 than under the 14-year Marcos dictatorship. When will the government say 'enough is enough' and refuse to let the massacre of journalists continue?" he said.

Grande was reportedly shot five times with a .45 calibre pistol just metres from his wife, Annie Liwag-Grande, while visiting his farm in Barangay, Sta. Arcadia, Cabantuan City.

Local reports said the assassins, appearing to be in their teens, chased Liwag-Grande but did not harm her.

The NUJP reported that the couple had jointly hosted a program on radio station dwJJ in Nueva Ecija, and Grande had previously written for the local weeklies The Recorder and the Nueva Ecija Times.

"Sadly, the murder of Grande has meant the Philippines has lost another voice for its people," the IFJ president said.

"The IFJ calls on Arroyo to act immediately to find those responsible for this terrible murder and show the world that the Philippines will stand up for freedom of expression and will not allow any more vital voices to be silenced," he said.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who says Saturdays are boring?

Near fisticuffs mars Speaker’s presscon on con-con

A press conference called by Speaker Jose de Venecia to announce the House’ shift from a constituent assembly to a constitutional convention to amend the Charter was almost marred by fisticuffs between an administration critic and a newspaper columnist.

Only the quick intervention of security personnel prevented Renato Constantino Jr. and (Philippine Daily) Inquirer business columnist Victor Agustin from getting at each other.

Click here for more. Victor Agustin, in case you do not know, writes the controversial column "Cocktales in the City" for the Inquirer.

By the way, is this merely a typographical error in a headline of the story?

This is the homepage as of December 9, 2006, 6:10 pm:

Clicking on the Black and White Movement story will go to this. Notice anything funny in the headline?

As of 6:13 pm, I checked again the page and it's finally corrected here.

A code of ethics for bloggers?

Should bloggers, like journalists and workers in other professions, follow a certain code of ethics?

From has created a model Bloggers' Code of Ethics, by modifying the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics for the Weblog world. "These are just guidelines -- in the end it is up to individual bloggers to choose their own best practices," wrote. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism's Inside PCIJ also posted the same guidelines in its blog.


Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Bloggers should:
• Never plagiarize.
• Identify and link to sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
• Make certain that Weblog entries, quotations, headlines, photos and all other content do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
• Never distort the content of photos without disclosing what has been changed. Image enhancement is only acceptable for for technical clarity. Label montages and photo illustrations.
• Never publish information they know is inaccurate -- and if publishing questionable information, make it clear it's in doubt.
• Distinguish between advocacy, commentary and factual information. Even advocacy writing and commentary should not misrepresent fact or context.
• Distinguish factual information and commentary from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
Bloggers should:
• Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by Weblog content. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
• Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
• Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of information is not a license for arrogance.
• Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy.
• Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, victims of sex crimes and criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.

Be Accountable
Bloggers should:
• Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
• Explain each Weblog's mission and invite dialogue with the public over its content and the bloggers' conduct.
• Disclose conflicts of interest, affiliations, activities and personal agendas.
• Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence content. When exceptions are made, disclose them fully to readers.
• Be wary of sources offering information for favors. When accepting such information, disclose the favors.
• Expose unethical practices of other bloggers.
• Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Palawan reporter complains of threats

From the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR):

A radio reporter has complained of threats by a police officer after the latter became the subject of reports of wrongdoing.

Lourdes Escaros-Paet, reporter for the radio station dyPR and the weekly community nenwspaper Bandillo ng Palawan, said police officer Antonio Magbanua aired his threats over radio station dyER on November 10, 11 and 13, 2006. Paet is based in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, a province southwest of Manila.

In her letter to Magbanua’s superior, Director General Jesus Versoza of the Philippine National Police, Paet said Magbanua blamed her for his relief from the service.

Visit CMFR site for more details.

Slivers of broadcasting light

Hmm, I wonder. How many people did rely again on their old -- but still working -- radio at the onslaught of the typhoon Reming? And how many of these radio listeners have similar thoughts as Nestor Torre's?

"THE recent blackout after Typhoon 'Milenyo' cut its swath of destruction across Luzon darkened our TV screens and forced us to get answers to our many questions from our trusty —and rusty—battery-operated radio," Torre wrote here. "At first, we were grateful for the information on the storm that reporters and program hosts provided. Not long after, however, we realized that, much too often, we were getting opinion, speculation or rumor, not real information."

He also said: "Commentators were still yakking and opining off the top of their heads, deejays dithered and snake-oil salesmen slithered, hosts of religious shows intoned banal truisms as though they were the newly unearthed 11th and 12th commandments—definitely not the programming that listeners yearning for genuine solace and inspiration wanted to hear during their darkest moments."

"Happily, some slivers of broadcasting light pierced the glop and gloom," Torre noted. "We enjoyed a dramatized satire on corrupt officials, a late-night show dispensed pithy advice to the gaga lovelorn, and some good music salved listeners’ tattered and shattered sensibilities."

Read more here.

Are Angelica's Ginebra photos fake?

I was informed that this controversy sparked a few weeks ago while I was in Bangkok. But I am taking this up because of two reasons: I like Angelica Panganiban, even in her Ang TV and Sarah, ang Munting Prinsesa days; and second, the issue of faking/"photoshopping" photos as applied in news coverage has long been criticized even by journalists themselves. Remember this case?

Now, the issue with Angelica is that her photos for her Ginebra 2007 calendar were digitally manipulated to make Angelica, uh, sexier.

Angelica Panganiban, nag-react sa kumakalat na Internet pictures
Article posted November 24, 2006

Kumakalat ngayon sa Internet ang mga litrato ni Angelica Panganiban habang nagfi-fit ito ng mga swimsuit para sa pictorial. Kapansin-pansin dito ang baby fat ng dalaga, na malayo sa mga litratong gagamitin sa isang kalendaryo.

At dahil galing sa Internet ang mga larawan, hindi alam kung tiyak o dinaya ang mga ito. Hindi naman nagulat si Angelica sa mga ganitong issue, dahil napaghandaan na daw niya ang mga ito.

'Kung ano ‘yung totoo, ‘yun ang ilalabas namin. Confident ako sa kung anong meron ako, wala akong pinapaayos. Kung ano ako, eto na ‘yon,' mariin niyang sinabi."

These are the much-talked about photos:

Someone allegedly took photos of her during the said photo Ginebra shoot, and came out these alleged photos:

Angelica insists her photos were not "photoshopped."

So, who's telling the truth here?

Well, for me, whether she's sexy or not, Angelica still rocks.

Thank God it wasn't her

Good thing this didn't happen in November. Everybody was saying that Madam Auring was going to be FHM's cover girl for its November 2006 issue.

The November 2006 cover girls of FHM were:

Karel Marquez

and Amanda Griffin

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Defending a beleaguered press

From Freedom Watch, the institutional blog of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility:

CMFR/FFFJ signs MOA with IBP

Does the Philippines have a strong legal framework to defend the press and its autonomy? Can the law provide adequate protection for the press against journalist killings, political harassment such as the 11 libel suits filed by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo against 43 journalists, and to the other threats and attacks? To address this, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) giving legal assistance to slain journalists’ families seeking justice and to journalists harassed for their work.

The MoA was signed by CMFR executive director Melinda Quintos de Jesus and IBP president Jose Vicente Salazar last Dec. 5 at the Filipinas Heritage Library. Limited Protection: Press Freedom and Philippine Law, the book by CMFR on the limitations of press freedom defense in the country was launched on the same day. Also held was a forum bearing a similar

Also introduced in the forum was CMFR’s planned project with the Southeast Asian Press Alliance to administer a program that aims to train lawyers in the region on press freedom defense. CMFR also launched a publication carrying the forum's title.

To read more about the CMFR roundtable discussion, visit the CMFR site. You can also download audio clips of the event's speakers and open forum in the site.

Possible cheater(s) in an ethics exam

What's this? Possible cheating in a journalism ethics exam? And it happened in Columbia University, which is known for its world-class journalism education?

Journalism School Probes Possible Cheating on Ethics Exam
Talk Is Tense at Columbia, but Some See Incident as Real-Life Lesson
By Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 3, 2006; A11

NEW YORK -- It was an ethics exam in a journalism class, and someone may have cheated.

Ironic? Yes. Unfortunate? Certainly. But what made the incident particularly notable was where and when it took place: at Columbia University, one of the premier journalism schools in the country, at a time when media ethics are much in question.

On Friday, Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism convened a meeting to discuss misconduct in the final exam for the required ethics course "Critical Issues in Journalism."

But the school was so wary of making specific accusations that, afterward, it was not even clear what misconduct had taken place.

Students had been given a 48-hour period to sign onto a Columbia Web site to take the final exam. They then had 90 minutes to answer two essay questions.

But at least one student reported cheating to the school's administrators -- without giving any names, said students who attended the meeting. first reported about the investigation on Thursday, and the New York Times ran a story Friday. The Romenesko blog, which focuses on stories about the news media, linked to both Friday morning.

That afternoon, when the journalism school's deans convened the tense meeting, mandatory for all those enrolled in the course, about a dozen upset students lined up at a microphone to ask why deans were not doing more to apprehend the culprit, and to plead with other students to turn in the cheater in their midst, said students who attended.

After the meeting, students milled outside the school, discussing the problem with a level of anxiety that seemed to say more about the precarious state of journalism -- in an era of Jayson Blair-style fabrications and shrinking newspaper jobs -- than about one or several graduate students cheating on a test.

Read more here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Love it!

The best take I ever heard of this song (actually, more like of a medley).

UP, 299th

I know this is quite old (I first got the news here), but I was reminded of this item again when I went to my alma mater earlier today for some work-related business.

According to the a 2006 list of, out of the top 520 universities surveyed around the world, the University of the Philippines ranks 299th. UP is tied with three other schools as the top 299th university in the whole world.

UP is no. 1 in the Philippines, followed by:

nd - De La Salle University
th - Ateneo de Manila University
th - University of Santo Tomas

The top 20 universities in the world according to the list are:

1 Harvard University United States
2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
4= Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
4= Yale University United States
6 Stanford University United States
7 California Institute of Technology United States
8 University of California, Berkeley United States
9 Imperial College London United Kingdom
10 Princeton University United States
11 University of Chicago United States
12 Columbia University United States
13 Duke University United States
14 Peking University China
15 Cornell University United States
16 Australian National University Australia
17 London School of Economics and Political... United Kingdom
18 Ecole Normale Supérieure France
19= University of Tokyo Japan
19= National University of Singapore Singapore
21 McGill University Canada

This makes Peking University the top university in Asia.

In the site's 2005 list, UP, along with four other schools, only ranked 372nd out of the 500 universities surveyed.

The ranking of the universities have been analyzed based on the following criteria:

- Research quality
- Graduate employability
- International outlook
- Teaching quality

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

And in Iloilo

From the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility blog:

Two radio broadcasters shot in Iloilo

Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Two radio journalists were injured when two unidentified men fired their guns at them on 1 December 2006 in Estancia, Iloilo province, a province located about 400 kilometers south of Manila.

Arnie Pullan and Butch Aclaro, broadcasters at the MBC-Radyo Natin, were on their way home after their program when two men riding a motorcycle shot at them. Contrary to earlier reports, Pullan and Aclaro, who were also on a motorcycle, suffered no critical wounds.

According to Senior Inspector Alex Velez of the Philippine National Police, Pullan managed to duck in time. The bullet merely grazed Pullan in the left eyebrow while Aclaro suffered powder burns on his neck. Velez said the motive behind the attack is still unknown.

The two broadcasters received first aid from a nearby hospital and were immediately released afterwards.

Aclaro and Pullan, who are also employees of the local municipal government, host “The Mayor’s Hour,” a radio block-time program of Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero. The show, which started airing in October this year ceased airing on 2 December, a day after the shooting incident.

It was not the first time that Pullan became the target of an attack. In 7 June 2005, two men shot at him using a homemade shotgun. Charges of frustrated murder were filed against the suspects and the case is still pending in court. Velez said that attack stemmed from Pullan’s work as market inspector.

Eddie Lacsi, chair of the Kapisan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) in Iloilo, said the MBC-Radyo Natin is not accredited with the KBP. The KBP, which is a self-regulatory body for the broadcast industry, enforces standards in programming, advertising and trade practice through its Radio and Television Codes.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has this account of the incident:

Broadcaster critically wounded in shooting -- CPJ

New York, December 4, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists said today it was investigating whether the shooting of journalist Arnie Pullan on the central Philippine island of Iloilo was related to his work as a radio host. An unidentified gunman shot and seriously wounded Pullan on December 1 as he left the station of MBC-Radio Natin in the town of Estancia.

Pullan hosts a radio show called “The Mayor’s Hour” with Rene Cordero, the mayor of Estancia. He was shot twice in the head while riding a motorcycle with councilor Butch Aclaro, according to the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), and local and international news reports. Aclaro’s injuries are not known.

Police did not say whether the shooting was journalism-related.

Cordero claimed the attack was politically motivated “because Pullan and Aclaro are my men and supporters,” according to the daily Sun Star Iloilo.

Retired police general Restituto Mosqueda, who is challenging Cordero for the mayoralty, called suggestions that he was behind the attack “libelous, unfounded, brazen lies and baseless,” according to the Iloilo City-based daily The News Today. Mosqueda condemned the shooting and alleged that Cordero himself may have orchestrated it.

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, according to CPJ research. At least three journalists were killed this year in relation with their work.

“We deplore the shooting of Arnie Pullan, and call on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Attacks on writers and broadcasters in the Philippines, where journalists are often allied with political candidates, are far too common, and pose a real threat to press freedom.”

Monday, December 04, 2006

Do you feel Arroyo stifled the media with his libel spree?

Do you believe that presidential spouse Juan Miguel Arroyo violated freedom of expression by issuing libel suits left and right? Do you feel that Arroyo has used libel to harass and stifle the journalists, thus creating “a chilling effect” on the Philippine media?

Then join the class civil suit. All journalists and media organizations are invited to join as additional plaintiffs in the case. Click here or here for more.

Dream, Believe, Survive?

The November 2006 issue of the PJR Reports is already out. You can check out the stories available in the issue online. I would strongly suggest, however, that it might be better to buy a copy (P80) because the online edition, unlike the printed copy, does not carry the tables and infographics of the main story that can help you understand it better.

The November issue focuses on a problem basic to newspapers, whether they are a tabloid or broadsheet: surviving in this century and beyond.

Main Story

Things are not all as they seem
The Tale of the Tabloids
Hector Bryant L. Macale

Newspapers, big and small, learn the same lessons
Life Isn't Easy
Hector Bryant L. Macale

Other Stories

Media in the Philippines and Thailand
States of Emergency and the Press
Roby Alampay

Two broadsheets are bron amid Cha-cha debate
Going for the Positive Spin
Don Gil K. Carreon

Readers are vanishing, publishers are worrying
Will There Be Newspapers Tomorrow?
Chit Estella

Ranking drops because of harassment, killings
RP Still One of the Worst Press Freedom Violators
Reporters Without Borders

Must-have books for journalists
Read, Read, Read!
Jose Bimbo F. Santos

Working for Online News
Maila Ager

RTD on press freedom and law

Does the Philippines have a strong legal framework to defend the press and its autonomy? Can the law provide adequate protection for the press against journalist killings, political harassment, and other threats and attacks?

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility invites you to a roundtable discussion on

Limited Protection:
Press Freedom and Philippine Law


Atty. Ismael G. Khan Jr.
Public Information Office
Supreme Court

Atty. Raul C. Pangalangan
University of the Philippines

Prof. Luis V. Teodoro
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
and the University of the Philippines

Organized with a grant from the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of Norway

December 5, 2006
5:00 pm
Filipinas Heritage Library
Ayala Triangle, Makati Ave.,
Makati City

A cocktail reception will follow.
RSVP Carol or Don

Iloilo broadcaster shot, in critical condition

Motorcycle-riding men again?

Iloilo broadcaster shot, in critical condition
From the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

A radio blocktimer in Estancia, Iloilo was shot by two motorcycle-riding suspects Friday (Dec. 1) afternoon.

The Guardian, a local newspaper, reported that broadcaster Arnie Pullan of Poblacion Zone I, Estancia was riding a motorcycle and just left the MBC-Radyo Natin station located in the same area past 1pm yesterday when the unidentified gunmen shot him with still unknown calibers of guns.

The police said Pullan sustained two gunshot wounds in the head and remains in critical condition in a local hospital.

Pullan was with provincial board member Butch Aclaro during the shooting. Aclaro's injuries have yet to be determined as of this writing.

Pullan is the host of "The Mayor's Hour," a radio blocktime program of Estancia Mayor Rene Cordero.

The Estancia PNP refused to say whether it was job related or not. The mayor though said the motive was politics, saying he already has an idea of the mastermind and suspects although he declined to give any name.

Pullan survived an attempt on his life two years ago.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Pulitzers to allow more online material

The Pulitzer Prize, regarded as the highest national honor in print journalism, literary achievements, and musical compositions in the United States, will now allow newspapers to submit video and interactive graphics as part of their entries for the top award in American print journalism.

Pulitzers to allow more online material

The Pulitzer Prize will allow newspapers to submit video and interactive graphics as part of their entries for the top award in American print journalism, prize officials announced Monday.

Allowing more online material 'was the next logical step,' said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers. 'It emphasizes blended journalism and that's where newspapers are today.'

The Pulitzer Prize Board also replaced the Beat Reporting category, created in 1991, with a Local Reporting category.

Online material was allowed as part of all entries for the first time this year, but it was restricted in 13 of the 14 categories to written stories or still images. The exception was the Public Service category, which allowed material such as streaming video and databases.

Read more here.

While the Manila press is busy with the libel spree...

While journalists in Manila are busy preparing a class civil suit against Mike Arroyo's libel spree, another community radio practitioner, who was also a peasant activist, was shot dead recently. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility updates the earlier report made by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, (AMARC) on the November 27 killing of Anthony Licyayo.

Radio broadcaster-activist killed
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

A broadcaster was gunned down by an unidentified assassin on 27 November in Cagayan, a province more than 320 kilometers north of Manila.

According to report of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, Anthony Licyayo, 38, who is also a farmer, was on his way to attend to his rice field in Sitio Torkia, Barangay Cabaraoan, when an unknown assailant fired a shot at him, hitting him in the head.

Licyayo’s infant child who was with him was unharmed. Licyayo was chairperson of the local peasant alliance Kaguimingan, which supports the community radio, Radyo Cagayano.

Radyo Cagayano, a community radio in the town of Baggao in Cagayan, was established by the political group Bayan Muna (Nation First). On July 2, the radio station was burned down by eight armed men wearing ski masks and carrying gasoline. The radio station blamed members of the local military for the attack. The military, however, denied the

Radyo Cagayano, a staunch advocate of peasant rights, had been critical of alleged corruption by the military.

Read more here.
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