Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quick quick post

News, indeed, never sleeps.

Just a few minutes ago, the U.S. House of Representatives, voting 228-205, rejects the $700-billion Wall Street bailout bill (Twitted this too). U.S. stocks down as bailout plan fails in the House.

Analysts also said that Barack Obama scored some victory points in the recent U.S. Presidential debate. With a few days left before the upcoming vice-presidential elections, Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria writes: Palin Is Ready? Please.

In local news, journalists who sued presidential spouse Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo for his mass filing of libel suits want him to testify. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is a signatory to the complaint.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama and McCain's 1st Presidential Debate

Here is the first 2008 U.S. presidential debate between Republican nominee Sen. John McCain and Democrat nominee Sen. Barack Obama. The debate focused on issues related to foreign policy and national security, including the global financial crisis. It is more than one hour and 30 minutes, so make sure you have the time and good Internet connection to watch it.

PinoyPress also reports the two candidates' views on political, economic, and social issues between U.S. and Asia.

Speaking of the financial crisis, Jon Friedman of MarketWatch criticizes the press for its "wimpy" coverage of the economic meltdown.

Media shouldn't shy away from explosive language
Commentary: Mealy-mouthed financial reporters should tell it like it is
By Jon Friedman, MarketWatch
Sept. 26, 2008

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Over the past few, stunning weeks, the reporters covering the apparent collapse of capitalism have tried mightily to be prudent and proper. In this extraordinary period, however, I'd prefer bluntness and brutal truth.

This is no time for journalists to be hedging their bets and falling back on imprecise, sugar-coated language.

The Wall Street media may want to dispel notions that they're merely trying to capitalize on a scary time and sell newspapers, increase their Web clicks and raise television ratings. Remember, journalists were skewered after the tech bubble burst in 2000. The public blamed the media for acting as cheerleaders for the fragile Internet stocks.

But these days, the media are taking their good intentions too far. They're failing to describe accurately the bloodbath (and, you bet, "bloodbath" is an acceptable word, too).

Read more here.

Journalism's raison d’ĂȘtre in society

Technology has allowed the rise of blogging and citizen journalism, and at the same time, helped produce the current 24/7 news cycle and multimedia journalism practice among media organizations. News gathering has become increasingly complex as well, offering challenges to journalists in covering events and issues. As citizens shift to the online medium both to consume and produce information, decreasing circulation figures and ratings have sparked fears of the demise of the media as we know it.

In these interesting times, journalists should review the values of the profession--why we are here in the first place. What is journalism's function and purpose in society? What are the obligations and responsibilities of journalists?

Citizens too have rights and responsibilities when it comes to news; rights and responsibilities which have become specially pronounced since the advent of blogging and citizen journalism.

Written by respected American journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel, The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect, comprehensively discusses the essential elements that define journalism and the role of press in society. It also discusses the role of citizens in newsmaking in the Internet age.

"The Elements of Journalism delineates the core principles shared by journalists across media, even across cultures. These principles flow from the essential function news plays in people's lives," the Committee of Concerned Journalists said. A new edition, published April 2007, includes a 10th principle: the rights and responsibilities of citizens. This 10 principles flows from the "new power conveyed by technology to the citizen as a consumer and editor of their own news and information."

What are the Elements of Journalism?
From The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect
Source: Committee of Concerned Journalists

1. Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.

2. Its first loyalty is to citizens.

3. Its essence is a discipline of verification.

4. Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.

5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power.

6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.

7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant.

8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.

9. Its practitioners have an obligation to exercise their personal conscience.

10. Citizens, too, have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the news.

The book's introduction, which explains how the book got started, can be read here.

Debbie Uy, a colleague and MA classmate who currently serves as readers' advocate of the Davao-based Mindanao Insider, discussed these elements in two successive column pieces. (First part here, second here).

Melinda Quintos de Jesus, executive director of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), also discussed the values Kovach and Rosenstiel discussed in the book for the April 2008 issue of the PJR Reports (which I wrote about earlier). In covering the current political crisis in the Philippines, she wrote, a review of basic principles may help clarify the role of the press. Since the CMFR site is currently undergoing some platform and design changes, I suggest you read Ma'am Melinda's piece in this cached page here.

I am also planning to write more about the elements of journalism in future posts. For now, let me just agree with Roy Peter Clark of The Poynter Institute when he said this about Kovach and Rosenstiel's book: "The most important book on the relationship of journalism and democracy published in the last fifty years."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update on the Rolando Ureta case; Burmese junta frees U Win Tin

Freedom Watch, the institutional blog of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), has a multimedia report updating the public with the Sept. 6, 2008 hearing of the murder case against the alleged killers of broadcaster Rolando Ureta. The multimedia report is the first one CMFR made in its newly-created Youtube account.

Update on the Rolando Ureta case hearing
Source: Freedom Watch

Freedom Watch has also made a quick post on the much-awaited release of Burmese journalist U Win Tin from jail.

On the current economic crisis

The Wall Street financial crisis continues to hog headlines and airtime (good reads here and here). Even some local major news organizations have appropriately made several banner and front-page reports on the issue.

For those living under a rock in the past weeks or grappling with all those big-sounding business and financial terms related to the crisis, you might want to visit Carlos Conde's PinoyPress helpful post. You might want to read some of the links there for a quick understanding of the issue, but I recommend reading all the links he posted--just make sure you have enough time to do so. (Heck, I'm not even halfway finished in reading all the links Sir Caloy posted.)

The Attack of the Jargonites
September 19, 2008
By Carlos H. Conde

As with many business or financial story, the meltdown that just happened on Wall Street is often difficult to digest, what with all the jargon and the complex methodologies used by investment and insurance companies to get to where they are now. Does anyone really know what a “derivative” is or what a “credit default swap” really means? And who the hell are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

Reading the papers and watching the news reports about the Crash of 2008 can often feel like they were written and produced by journalists who exist in a parallel world, a surreal, separate universe populated by Jargonites.

Read more here.

Hat tip to journalist Tonyo Cruz (who is this year's Best News and Media Blog in Philippine Blog Awards 2008) for linking readers to this commentary from Ian Bell of London-based The Herald: Capitalism has proven Karl Marx right again, Bell writes. In his post, Tonyo discussed the progressive, anti-imperialist view of the U.S. economic meltdown which effects reverberate throughout the rest of the world. He also linked related readings and news in other posts (here and here)

For more information about the effects of the U.S. crisis especially in the Philippines, do visit Money Smarts, the Inquirer.net blog of business editor Salve Duplito. She has blogged the issue several times (including this and this). Duplito's blog has been a very helpful information resource for Filipinos, especially the ones who are jittery--and quite understandably--on what the repercussions of the crisis.

It seems that financial and economic woes will continue to dominate media space and airtime in the next few days. But for how long? According to the U.S. based Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research organization that monitors U.S. media's coverage of issues, a month before the meltdown started, the economy was not a major news agenda.

The Lull before the Storm
Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism
Sept. 18, 2008

"The credit crisis hit Wall Street hard the week of September 15. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was bought out Bank of America, and insurance giant AIG was rescued with an $85 billion bailout by the Federal Reserve. On Sept. 15, the Dow fell 504 points, the worst one-day drop since 9/11. Two days later, the market plunged another 450 points.

"While this recent financial turmoil has dominated headlines and become the focus of the presidential race, PEJ’s News Coverage Index reveals that in the month preceding these events, press attention to the U.S. economy was at a low point for the year."

Read more here. Infographic above from the same article.

I know local research think thank IBON Foundation is having a forum today on the US economic meltdown. "The global crisis will further worsen the Philippines’ own economic crisis as neoliberal reforms have further deepened its links to the US and the global economy," IBON said in a statement inviting people to attend today's forum. "However, the economy would have been less vulnerable if the domestic economy were not overly dependent on trade, foreign loans and capital, and if nationalist economic policies were in place." I was supposed to attend the event, but decided to ask another colleague instead. I hope IBON would post the proceedings online.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No to Arroyo's term extension--FSGO

A group of former senior government officials has launched an online petition calling for immediate resumption of peace talks on Mindanao, and against any possible term extension for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.


For the on-line signing of this petition, please visit: http://www.fsgo.org.ph/.

Your contact details (except the city or province you are in) and your email address will not be posted and will be kept as a confidential information by the FSGO Secretariat.
Please note that organizational signatories are also being solicited. For this, please contact me directly or send email to the FSGO secretariat at info@incitegov.org or mmibanez@incitegov.org.


Moves For Term Extension Will Not Die:
Filipino Citizens Should Prepare For Action

We, the organizations and individuals who have signed this statement, are citizens of this Republic alarmed by current political developments. We note that in spite of various protestations by political leaders from the administration and the opposition, the talk of a brazen attempt to extend the term of Mrs. Arroyo simply will not die.

Charter change to be initiated in Congress through a constituent assembly has seemingly been stopped in its tracks by the vocal opposition of many members of the Senate, whose two-thirds approval would logically seem necessary to convene a constituent assembly. Yet the House of Representatives, through the Speaker, and the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, has announced that it will be holding “public consultations” to elicit public opinion on charter change, whether for federalism, shift to a parliamentary system or such other excuse/justification as may later dawn on the proponents. Some legislators have been vocal in pushing their interpretation that “the Constitution requires only a two thirds vote of its members to propose amendments to the Constitution,” an interpretation that would make the Senators’ votes almost irrelevant in the process.

The current administration has swung violently on the matter of the conflict in Mindanao from rushing to sign the MOA on Ancestral Domain with the MILF to the abrupt cancellation of the peace talks, the dissolution of the peace panel and the attempt of Mrs. Arroyo to disown knowledge of the agreement; and now a relentless armed confrontation that is seemingly designed to goad the MILF and other groups into a combative reaction or a series of violent actions. The inevitable armed confrontations and deaths that will follow could be a ready-made platform to suspend the writ of habeas corpus or, heaven forbid, even the declaration of Martial Law. The Constitution requires only a vote of a majority of the members of Congress, voting jointly, to approve and extend Martial Law.

We declare our commitment to a just and sustainable peace in Mindanao . We will initiate and support all possible actions that will bring about an inclusive process to begin with ceasefire and return to the peace table.

We declare our united opposition (1) to any moves that exploit the Mindanao situation to extend Mrs. Arroyo’s stay in power, (2) to any attempt to amend the Constitution before 2010, (3) to any attempt to change the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly, and (4) to any step towards declaring Martial Law.

We call on all Filipinos to be vigilant, to inform themselves, to organize with like-minded fellow citizens, and to prepare to show our leaders and officials the true power of our democracy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Charice Pempengco on Oprah Winfrey show

I know there are so many issues right now, but I hope you would forgive me for posting clips of Filipina singer Charice's recent guesting (actually, her second) on the Oprah Winfrey show. It's Saturday anyway. Besides, it's not everytime we see a Filipina singer on American television.

From Youtube user lifefullofjourney:

Welcome to the Pig Pen

I agree with the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) when it blamed the media for overblowing the "Lipstick on a Pig" controversy. The quality of how we conduct elections and choose our leaders , whether in the US or in our sorry country of ours, depends on the discourse of campaign and political issues.

Notes From The Pig Sty
In which we all get dirty
By Megan Garber
Sept. 10, 2008

What (audiences) recognize, rather, is the press’s framing of those accusations, the media’s treatment of the controversies. And the fact that LipstickOnAPigGate is a controversy—indeed, the fact that it’s a narrative in the first place—is the fault of the media.... The media, in allowing themselves to be so easily hijacked by campaign spin...are not only implying their own irrelevance in this whole campaign. They’re fostering it.

Read more here.

Another useful post here. Additional readings from Slate on the US election campaign: an unsolicited advice for Democrat vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden to beat Sarah Barracuda; how umbrage has become the most widely-used tactic in the campaign; and the hottest rhetorical device of the 2008 campaign--the antimetabole.

Undermining the right to know and the country's democracy

Here's a statement of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) on the Supreme Court affirmation of its March 25 decision favoring executive privilege. The ruling, CMFR said in the statement, does not only affect the public's right to know and the role of press in society but also the vitality and future of democracy in the Philippines.

Statement of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Assault on the Public's Right to Know

Source: Freedom Watch
Sept. 11, 2008

The Supreme Court’s affirmation of its March 25 decision in favor of executive privilege undermines the public interest function of the press to provide information to a citizenry that has a right to it on matters of public concern. Even more dangerously it also erodes the democratic imperative of transparency in governance.

By expanding the coverage of executive privilege to include communications authored or solicited and received by a presidential advisor, in this case then National Economic and Development Authority Director General Romulo Neri, the Court has legitimized government secrecy to an extent yet to be established by practice.

Read more here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Jon Stewart disses Sarah Palin's media defenders

Can't get enough of this. The clip below shows Jon Stewart pwning media commentators who support Republican vice-presidential bet Sarah Palin. Definitely a must-see video, especially if you are closely following the upcoming U.S. elections.

Did I hear somebody shout "hypocrisy"?

Hat tip to colleague JB who earlier posted this. Youtube video courtesy of user 1stAmendmentVoter.

Lots of comments on the clip here.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Lots of things to do

I'm not really complaining though. Why, with all these goodies to read I bought just a few days ago from Fully Booked in Serendra and National Bookstore.

My main problem is that I still haven't read all the books I previously bought and got from friends and colleagues. Now, if only I could read three books a week, just like one veteran writer I know. Sigh.

I probably should take a break before reading all these books--something which I should have done earlier, such as watching the Eraserheads reunion gig (Sigh again). Should I watch Paul Potts's concert in Manila on Oct. 8? Or should I relive good ol' memories of Pulpcommunity and watch the "Oldies Night: The Reunion" next week?

Oldies Night: The Reunion
presented by Unifying Force Productions


Whorelocke, Powertools,Pentavia, Orgasm Addicts, Diwa, Akaw First Project, Malik Mata, Vie, Descant Gott and After Math

Sept.14 Sunday @ 9Mile Bar, Kalayaan Ave, QC. 9pm onwards.
Damage:100bucks Event Shirts will be sold @ the gate for 200php

2nd Philippine Journalism Review out--and living in the Philippine age of apathy

In case you do not know, the second issue of the Philippine Journalism Review (PJR) is already available. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), publisher of the PJR, is in the process of renovating its site (paging Ederic haha). Thus, the announcement below is still not posted on the CMFR site.

Second issue of only refereed journal on journalism released
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

THE second issue of the Philippine Journalism Review (PJR), the only refereed journal in Asia devoted to journalism concerns and issues, is now available, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) has announced.

Now an annual, the Philippine Journalism Review, or PJR, used to be a press monitoring publication in magazine format. That function has been taken over by the monthly PJR Reports, which CMFR also publishes. The first issue of the reformatted PJR appeared in 2007 and was launched during the awarding ceremonies of the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism that year.

The 2008 issue of PJR has a paper by St. Scholastica's College journalism professor Ma. Aurora Lolita L. Lomibao on the beat system ("Revisiting the Beat System"), Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter DJ Yap's "Literary Journalism in the Philippines from the 1950s to the 1980s," and Philippine Social Science Council Technical Services and Information head Joanne B. Agbisit's "Media-Policy Interaction in the Passage of the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995."

GMA 7 researcher Ederic Eder also reviewed an online publication ("Global Voices Online"), while University of the Philippines journalism professor Danilo A. Arao interviewed "barefoot journalism" advocate Ben Domingo ("Understanding Barefoot Journalism). A commentary by Johanna Camille Sisante on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's error-correction box ("The Inquirer Box of Errors") completes the 2008 issue contents.

University of the Philippines journalism professor and CMFR Deputy Director Luis V. Teodoro edits PJR, assisted by Prof. Danilo A. Arao, who is its managing editor. The PJR Board of Advisers is composed of academics from the Ateneo de Manila, the University of Santo Tomas, the University of the Philippines, St. Scholastica's College, the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

PJR copies may be ordered from the CMFR (840-0889; 894-1314, 894-1326) and the Office of Research and Publication of the UP College of Mass Communication (981-8500 local 2668).


By the way, speaking of Dean Teodoro, please read his latest BusinessWorld column titled "Heroes". Outstanding analysis of our national heroes and today's Philippine society. Sadly, we are currently living, in his words, in the Philippine age of apathy.

Luis Teodoro
Aug. 29, 2008

Revolutions are after all waged by the millions — and heroes made by vast constituencies: by the nameless men and women who, confronting police batons, tear gas, water cannon, and even guns, create and imbue leaders with the courage, the sense of community and the single-minded purpose that enable them to be the faces and voices of protest and change. To our sorrow ours does not seem to be a heroic age; and we do not have — we have actually lost — the constituencies that once made heroes of ordinary and flawed mortals.

Read more here.
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