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CMFR releases Report on News Media Coverage of 2010 Campaign and Elections
POSTED BY || 14 February 2011

The Philippine press registered a number of improvements in its coverage of the 2010 campaign and elections.  The leading media organizations broadened their coverage of independent candidates and small parties, and provided the electorate information on the advocacies and/or programs of individual candidates.

However, some lapses were still evident, among them the uncritical use of propaganda spin and character assassination in the coverage, as well as scant coverage of the vice presidential, senatorial and party list elections.  Government media’s mistaken concept of public information as public relations led to biased coverage in favor of Arroyo administration candidates.

These are among the findings of the CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of the 2010 Campaign and Elections, which contains the overall findings of the CMFR’s 2010 election coverage monitoring project.

CMFR has been monitoring media coverage of Philippine elections since 1992, and in every instance has recommended changes in media coverage.  These efforts have not been unrewarded. Changes in media coverage incorporating some of the recommendations of the CMFR monitor in 2004 were evident, for example, in the media coverage of the 2007 elections.

In its 2010 findings, CMFR noted that modern technology also influenced the manner and conduct of the 2010 campaign and election coverage. The press prominently used social networking tools and citizen journalism initiatives in their reporting; but CMFR expressed concern over the integrity and quality of information online.

The Monitor recommends that the sources of funding of radio blocktimers  be made known, and  blocktimers identified  during campaign and election periods.

The CMFR Monitor report also recommends the amendment to the Fair Elections Act  to rescue it from the changing and seemingly whimsical interpretation of its provisions by the Commission on Elections. The amendments should include clear rules on TV airtime limits for candidates.

The Monitor report contains CMFR’s findings on the coverage by Manila-based newspapers, television news programs, special and public affairs shows, news and blog sites, radio stations, and tabloids of the 2010 campaign and elections.  It also contains analyses of:

  • The coverage of local elections by Cebu-based English and Bisaya dailies;
  • The coverage by the broadsheets and leading networks of the automation of the elections, and civil society initiatives in keeping the elections fair and honest;
  • The  extent and impact of political advertising on electorate choices; and
  • The quality and quantity  of election day coverage

CMFR published the project findings with a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy

For inquiries about the book, please contact CMFR at (+63 2) 894-1326/894-1314or email staff@cmfr-phil.org.

Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility