AM Radio News Media Coverage of the 2013 Senatorial and Party-list Elections: Radio was focused on personalities and controversies (March 19-April 12)

Written by CMFR on May 9, 2013 – 3:33 PM -

AS IN 2007 and 2010, CMFR reviewed the coverage by selected AM radio stations.

During the period monitored, a number of non-election issues edged out reporting on the elections. When radio did report the elections, coverage was hardly different from that of previous years, with many election-related reports focusing on controversies facing candidates that were personal in nature and which had nothing to do with their platforms or advocacies.

There was no report on the party-list elections at all during the period reviewed.

Scope of the monitor

From March 19 to April 12, 2013 CMFR monitored three popular morning news and public affairs programs: One on One with Igan and Lala Roque (DZBB), Rated Korina (DZMM) and ISYU (DZRH).

Number of Reports

Out of the 321 reports from the three radio programs, only 45 (14.018%) were election-related. There were 15 (33.3%) such reports on the elections from March 19-26 and 30 (66.6%) from April 1-12.

These reports focused mainly on general election concerns, at 26 (57.77 percent) out of the 45. Most reports looked at developments in overseas absentee voting and problems concerning the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines. Some radio programs reported the traffic situation in those places where campaign rallies were held, as well as the survey rankings of senatorial candidates.

These were followed by reports and commentaries concerning the senatorial candidates with a total of 12 (26.6 percent). These reports were mostly about the platforms of senatorial candidates, a rumored debate between administration candidate Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel and UNA’s Nancy Binay, as well as developments in the romantic life of re-electionist Senator Francis Escudero. Local election issues were in six reports (13.33 percent) in the programs monitored (particularly the heated exchange between Manila mayor and reelectionist Alfredo Lim and former President and mayoralty candidate Joseph Estrada.

There were only two reports (4.44 percent) on the congressional (lower house) elections. Meanwhile, there was no report in the three programs on the party-list elections or related issues.

Noticeable during the two weeks of monitoring was the relatively small number of election-related reports despite the election season.  Such events as the tiff between celebrity and presidential sister Kris Aquino and her former husband James Yap, the suicide case of a University of the Philippines Manila freshman student, the hostilities in Sabah between the members of the Royal Sultanate and Malaysian forces, the removal of the grounded US Navy Ship from Tubbataha Reef, the election and installation of the new Pope, and Lenten celebrations consumed much of the air time of the three programs monitored.

But One on One with Igan and Lala Roque aired the highest number of election- related reports with 19 (42.22 percent). It was followed closely by Isyu which had a total number of 15 (33.3 percent) and Rated Korina with 11 (24.4 percent).

Table 1: Total Number of Election-related Reports

 Table 1: Total Number of Election-related Reports

Isyu and One on One with Igan and Lala Roque usually aired two election-related reports a day but there were also instances when they had three or more reports. Rated Korina on the other hand had a consistent single-report record per date.

However, there were also dates when all three had no single election-related report as other non-election issues took precedence.

Table 2: Total Number of Radio Reports

Table 2: Total Number of Radio Reports

Table 3: Total Number or Radio Reports per program

Table 3: Total Number or Radio Reports per program

Most of the election-related reports were deemed important enough to be reported and discussed during the first half of the programs: 21 (46.6 percent) out of 45. Four (8.8 percent) landed as the lead story of the day, 20 election-related reports (44.4 percent) were aired in the second half of the program.

Coverage of the senatorial candidates

Senatorial candidates and issues were reported 12 times (26.6 percent) out of the 45 total election-related reports and commentaries. On top of the issues concerning the senatorial candidates were Escudero’s relationship with actress Heart Evangelista and the couple’s dispute with Evangelista’s parents. Among all the senatorial candidates, Escudero was the most covered because of the controversy surrounding his personal life.

Rated Korina did not air any report on the senatorial elections.

Coverage of the of the party-list groups

There was no identified report or commentary on the party-list groups and elections. Neither was any person or issue related to those elections mentioned.

Coverage of elections in general

General concerns about the election received the highest number of reports and commentaries with a total of 26 (57.7 percent) out of the 45 election-related reports The source code and other PCOS machine-related issues, and the Commission on Elections’ level of preparedness, were the subjects of most of the reports.

Themes

Out of the 45 election-related reports, sixteen reports (35.5 percent) focused more on the conduct of the campaign. This included the campaign strategies and sorties by senatorial candidates and those running in the local elections.

In the local elections, the most covered were the Estrada and Lim campaign activities.

Themes related to the Commission of Elections were also in most of the reports.

Table 4: Themes

Table 4: Themes

There were slightly more reports that provided background compared with those that did not. Out of the 45 election-related reports, 23 (or 51.1 percent) provided adequate background. Meanwhile, there were 22 reports (or 48.8 percent) that did not provide essential background information to support their reports and commentaries.

The news reports with background were: In Rated Korina, nine (81.8 percent) out of 11 election related-reports; One with Igan and Lala Roque, eleven (57.89 percent) out of 19; and Isyu, three (20 percent) out of 15.

It was evident that most of the reports in Isyu had no adequate background to their stories. Their reports were also mostly single-sourced. The program had two interviews with senatorial candidates (Loren Legarda and Richard “Dick” Gordon) during which the questions came across as meant to portray them positively to program listeners.

Table 5: Background

Table 5: Background

Fairness and Balance

Out of the total 45 election-related reports, twenty reports (44.4 percent) were neutral. Eight (or 17.7 percent) were positively slanted for a candidate or a particular political party while 17 (37.77 percent) were negatively slanted.

Isyu showed an obvious bias in favor of President Benigno Aquino and the Liberal party in its reports and commentaries. One on One with Igan and Lala Roque and Rated Korina were more neutral in their reports, and there was no evident institutional bias against a particular candidate or party.  The identified biases in the two programs were due to the personal perspectives of the anchors who discussed election related issues in the commentary segments of the programs.

Table 6: Fairness and Balance

Table 6: Fairness and Balance

- by Angelica Belladonna C. Leonor and Siera Lou A. Mata

More of the Usual (Part 2)

Written by CMFR on April 30, 2013 – 11:36 AM -

The CMFR Monitor of the
News Media Coverage of the 2013 Campaign and Elections
Feb. 25 to March 10, 2013

==================================================================

Given the role of elections in the making of Philippine democracy, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season has always demanded watching.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is monitoring the news media coverage of the 2013 campaign and elections in the context of the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offers to the Philippine media. 

From Feb. 25 to March 10, CMFR monitored the major publications and television news programs for their election coverage. The newspapers covered were Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and The Philippine Star. CMFR monitored the following TV programs: 24 Oras (GMA-7), Aksyon (TV5), Newslife (PTV 4), Solar Network News (Solar News), and TV Patrol (ABS-CBN). CMFR is also monitoring the following public affairs programs and election specials for the project: Balwarte (TV5), Election 2013 (Solar News), Harapan 2013 (ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC), Hatol ng Bayan (PTV-4), KampanyaSerye (ANC), Kandidato 2013: Senador (GMA-7), news.PH (Solar News), and Reaksyon (TV5).

In addition, CMFR is also reviewing the coverage by other newspapers, TV news and news websites as part of its regular media monitor.

To know more about the project and its findings, please visit http://www.cmfr-phil.org/mediaandelections.

================================================================

 

Television Analysis

The four television news programs focused on the senatorial candidates. The program also paid more attention to reporting Team PNoy’s activities. UNA had a far smaller share of airtime. Like print, senatorial candidates who are running under minor political parties or independently were given little coverage. The coverage of the party-list group also remained lacking in substance.

Cynthia Villar was the center of reports on TV Patrol and 24 Oras with at least seven reports combined, while both Newslife and Aksyon had Sonny Angara for their most covered candidate, with around six reports about him.

Number of position-related reports by the four monitored primetime newscasts

Number of position-related reports by the four monitored primetime newscasts

Issues Covered

Among the issues covered during the period were the situation in Sabah and the “Team Patay, Team Buhay” propaganda campaign by the Catholic Church in light of the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill. Senatorial candidates such as Team PNoy’s Loren Legarda were asked for their stand or position on the Sabah issue.

There were many reports that sounded as if they were taken from the daily schedules of sorties of the candidates. Much of the coverage focused on the location of the latest political rally by a candidate or a political party, including their campaign statements and gimmicks. One notable example was a Feb. 25 report of Newslife that focused on the campaign sorties of Team PNoy that day.

Data Graphs

tv2

Total Number of Election-Related Reports

PTV 4’s Newslife had the highest percentage of election-related reports compared with the three other programs.  Newslife’s election-related reports accounted for 14.19 percent of the programming (44 out of 310 reports), while 24 Oras had the lowest number of election-related reports with only 7.76 percent (19 out of 245 reports). TV Patrol and Aksyon garnered 12.08 percent (32 out of 265 reports) and (27 out of 225 reports) 12 percent respectively.

A huge number of election-related stories came from the networks’ election specials and public affairs programs such as “Biyaheng Totoo” and “Eleksyon 2013” from 24 Oras, “KampanyaSerye” from TV Patrol, “Pagbabago 2013” from Aksyon and “Hatol ng Bayan” from Newslife.

 

tv3 

Top Broadcast Themes

The four programs focused on how the campaign was being conducted, such as the candidates’ sorties, paraphernalia, jingles, and strategies. A far second were the 25 reports that addressed the candidates’ views on development/policy issues.

COMELEC-related news, personality, and peace and order were among the other themes covered during the period.

Slant

tv4

The four monitored news programs were largely neutral in their coverage: TV Patrol (72.5 percent), Aksyon (70.83 percent), and Newslife (60.87 percent). Meanwhile, 24 Oras had 52.63 percent of its reports neutral.

Public affairs programs and election specials

The public affairs programs and election specials during the two-week monitoring period (February 25-March 10) presented analyses and additional information that news programs did not provide. Among the issues discussed were the Freedom of Information Bill, the country’s Sabah claim, the Reproductive Health Bill and others.

Hatol ng Bayan focused on issues such as the social media’s role in elections and the political spectrum, while Reaksyon concentrated on topics like the gimmicks of the candidates during elections and the debate among senatorial candidates.

Meanwhile, the weekly public affairs programs were more focused the senatorial candidates and their stand on various issues including such controversial ones as the Sabah issue.

Harapan 2013 focused on the campaign fund issue, and the ads and views of senatorial candidates on various issues. The programs Kandidato 2013, news.PH and Election 2013 also focused on the senatorial candidates’ advocacies.

Aside from highlighting senatorial candidates, the advocacies and platforms of some party-list groups and local candidates were also reported. Programs such as Balwarte and KampanyaSerye featured local elections in Masbate, Lanao, Ilocos, Saranggani, South Cotabato and General Santos.

Almost all the themes of the programs were on elections in general.

 

Senatorial

House of Representatives

Partylist

Local elections

Elections in general

Hatol ng Bayan 1 9
KampanyaSerye 2
Harapan 2013 2
Elections 2013 1 2
news.PH 1
Balwarte 2
Reaksyon 4 4
Kandidato 2013 2
Total 8 2 4 16

Hatol ng Bayan and Elections 2013 mostly covered elections in general. The weekly public affairs programs KampanyaSerye and Balwarte were mainly on local elections, while Harapan 2013 and Kandidato 2013 were on the senatorial candidates. Reaksyon mostly covered elections in general.

No public affairs program reported on the elections for the House of Representatives. There were a total of eight reports on the Senatorial elections, none on the House of Representative, two for the Party–list, four about Local elections and 16 on Elections in general.

Themes

Campaign conduct

Campaign finances

Contest/

Horse race

Polls/

Surveys

Personality

Hatol ng Bayan 1 2
KampanyaSerye 1 1
Harapan 2013 1 2 1
Elections 2013 2 1 1
news.PH 1 1 1 1
Balwarte 2
Reaksyon 1 4
Kandidato 2013 2
Total 5 3 7 2 9

 

Poll

Automation

Other COMELEC related issues

Election-related violence/ peace and order

Civil society and elections

Development/ policy issues

Others

1 1 1 3 2
1 1
1
1 1
1 1
7 1
1
1 2 1 2 15 3

 

Almost all public affairs programs addressed development and policy themes during the two-week monitoring period. They focused more on issues relevant to the public especially to new voters rather than on the candidates. Just like Hatol ng Bayan, Reaksyon also focused on issues useful to the public but it also interviewed senatorial candidates.

Kandidato 2013 and Harapan 2013 focused on three senatorial candidates per week whom they interviewed on their stand on various issues.

 

- Alyssa Mae J. Balleta, Justine Marie F. Bernardo, Rose Ann I. Cardosa, Isabelle R. dela Cruz, Akiko John M. Domingo, Elvira R. Entusiasmo, Jennifer D.G. Hermosilla, Christine Mae T. Juan, Jenielyn P. Mallari, John Paul G. Marquez, Rowena A. Martin, Reina Beatriz P. Peralta, Reuben Andrew R. Razal, Jerica Z. Santos, Bryan L. Serrano, and Arriane Mae V. Tristan 

More of the Usual (Part 1)

Written by CMFR on April 29, 2013 – 4:54 PM -

The CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of the 2013 Campaign and Elections
Feb. 25 to March 10, 2013


Given the role of elections in the making of Philippine democracy, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season has always demanded watching. 

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is monitoring the news media coverage of the 2013 campaign and elections in the context of the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offers to the Philippine media.

From Feb. 25 to March 10, CMFR monitored the major publications and television news programs for their election coverage. The newspapers covered were Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and The Philippine Star. CMFR monitored the following TV programs: 24 Oras (GMA-7), Aksyon (TV5), Newslife (PTV 4), Solar Network News (Solar News), and TV Patrol (ABS-CBN). CMFR is also monitoring the following public affairs programs and election specials for the project: Balwarte (TV5), Election 2013 (Solar News), Harapan 2013 (ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC), Hatol ng Bayan (PTV-4), Kampanyaserye (ANC), Kandidato 2013: Senador (GMA-7), news.PH (Solar News), and Reaksyon (TV5). 

In addition, CMFR is also reviewing the coverage by other newspapers, TV news and news websites as part of its regular media monitor.

To know more about the project and its findings, please visit http://www.cmfr-phil.org/mediaandelections.


Newspaper Analysis

The number of election-related reports in the three papers monitored during the period decreased as other issues took precedence in the daily coverage, such as the hostilities between members of the Malaysian police and the “Royal Sulu Sultanate Army” in Sabah and the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI from the papacy.

Out of the total 300 front page news reports from the three newspapers, only 45 were election-related (15 percent).

The Inquirer published a total of 17 election-related reports out of 96 front-page reports (17.7 percent), while the Bulletin had a total of 15 election-related front page reports out of 91 (16.5 percent). The Star’s election-related front page reports were 13 out of a total of 113 stories (11.5 percent).

Types of election-related reports

The three newspapers focused on the senatorial elections and candidates on the front page. Reports about candidates running for seats in the House of Representatives and local posts were mostly on the inside pages.

Front-page election-related reports (Bulletin) February 25 to March 10, 2013

Bulletin (Feb. 25-March 10, 2013)

 

Front-page election-related reports (Inquirer) February 25 to March 10, 2013

Inquirer (Feb. 25-March 10, 2013)

 

Front-page election-related reports (Star) February 25 to March 10, 2013

Star (Feb. 25-March 10, 2013)

 

News subjects

From February 25 to March 10, the country’s three biggest newspapers prominently covered candidates from both Team PNoy and the United Nationalist Alliance. Senatorial candidates running in minority parties such as Ang Kapatiran Party, Makabayan, and Democratic Party of the Philippines or running as independent bets were not given enough coverage by the papers.

The Bulletin’s frequent subjects were Sonny Angara (LDP), Chiz Escudero (IND), Alan Peter Cayetano (NP), Koko Pimentel (PDP-LB), Loren Legarda (NPC), and Cynthia Villar (NP). Their names were included in three reports during the monitoring period about the “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulin posted on the wall of San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City. In the case of Villar, her television statement that Filipino nurses need not be exceptional since most of them end up as room nurses once abroad resulted in a controversy. In a Feb. 23 episode of GMA News TV’s election forum Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato (Challenge of the Candidates), Villar answered a question about why she sided with the owners of nursing schools that the government wants to close down and not with the nursing students.

“Actually hindi naman kailangan ang nurse ay matapos ng BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) kasi itong ating mga nurses ay gusto lang nila maging room nurse, o sa Amerika o sa other countries, ay mag-aalaga lang sila. Hindi naman kailangan na ganoon sila kagaling,” Villar said. She later apologized for her comments.

Pimentel was a subject of the reports because of his request to the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic to reveal or disclose the source code to be used in the forthcoming polls.

Among the Star’s frequent news subjects were Miguel Zubiri and Nancy Binay for their views on such issues as the Sabah conflict and political dynasties.

Themes

The three papers had many reports that focused on the “horse race” aspect of the elections. A number of stories were on poll/survey results. The Bulletin had many personality-themed reports with a total of thirteen reports.

A number of Star stories addressed “development/policy issues” such as governance, charter change, and political dynasties.

Reports’ slants

Most reports were neutral. Out of the total 45 election-related front page reports, there were 27 neutral reports, of which 14 were positive, and 4 negative.

The Inquirer had 11 neutral reports; five were positively-slanted and one negatively-slanted. The Bulletin also had 11 neutral reports and five positively-slanted reports. The Star published six neutral stories; four were positively-slanted, and three negatively-slanted.

Online

Almost all the sites monitored posted the lists of official candidates for the Senate and party–list groups. The major news sites also educated readers the position or opinion of the candidates on various issues such as the Reproductive Health Law, the freedom of information bill, and political dynasties, as done in GMA News Online’s Mga Isyu ng Bayan (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/eleksyon2013/isyungbayan). Information materials on what the voters need to know and what to do in the upcoming election were provided.

Website specials such as Inquirer.net’s portal provided not only news about the election but also  infographic guides to enable the public to learn more about  the election period, as well as instructions and on how to vote, and getting to know senatorial candidates.

- Alyssa Mae J. Balleta, Justine Marie F. Bernardo, Rose Ann I. Cardosa, Isabelle R. dela Cruz, Akiko John M. Domingo, Elvira R. Entusiasmo, Jennifer D.G. Hermosilla, Christine Mae T. Juan, Jenielyn P. Mallari, John Paul G. Marquez, Rowena A. Martin, Reina Beatriz P. Peralta, Reuben Andrew R. Razal, Jerica Z. Santos, Bryan L. Serrano, and Arriane Mae V. Tristan 

Reporting Political Dynasties

Written by CMFR on April 26, 2013 – 1:48 PM -

OF THE political dynasties in the country, the Ampatuan clan is  among the most controversial because of its alleged involvement in the Ampatuan Massacre of  November 23, 2009 in which 58 people including 32 journalists were killed.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism conducted a forum, “Maguindanao: The Politics of Dynasties”, last April 11 which looked at the various political clans operating in Maguindanao. PCIJ presented  a three-part investigative report  to its audience of  guests from different media organizations and groups concerned about elections and governance in Mindanao, especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“We chose Maguindanao because it has the most political dynasties” Malou Mangahas, executive director of PCIJ, said.

Among the forum speakers were Mussolini Lidasan, executive director, Al Qalam Institute-Ateneo de Davao; Bobby Tagontong, Maguindanao coordinator, Citizens’ Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (CCARE);  Laisa Alamia, head, Commission on Human Rights-ARMM; and Dr. Ronald Mendoza, Executive Director, Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center.  They discussed the historical background of government in Maguindanao, the state of the current government, the power of political clans, warlordism, the Ampatuans, and other issues and problems.

PCIJ also launched a video documentary on  Maguindanao politics entitled “Angkan, Inc. (Clans, Inc.),”  by PCIJ’s multimedia director, Ed Lingao. Its main goal was to identify the best techniques (data-gathering, documentation, data-base building, and investigative reporting, etc.) in uncovering the causes and enabling factors of political violence at the local level.

“Angkan, Inc.” focused on Maguindanao because of it has so many political clans but so little development. Almost everybody in Maguindanao’s Shariff Aguak and Datu Unsay towns is a voter, according to research. Out of the 34,376 residents in Shariff Aguak, there were 33,684 voters in 2010 (or a staggering 97.9 percent of the residents). In Datu Unsay, the total number of voters last 2010 was 13, 584 voters although the residents were only 12, 490. Maguindanao is also the poorest province in the country.

According to  Commission on Elections (COMELEC) data, the Ampatuans are the number one political clan in Maguindanao. They have 80 candidates running for different positions in the 2013 elections, of which number some have been implicated in the Maguindanao massacre.  They are followed by the political clans Midtimbangs,  of whom 26 are running for office; the  Sangkis, 25; the Sinsuats, 22; and the Mangudadatus, 18.

Johairah Ampatuan, the wife of the prime suspect in the Maguindanao massacre and former governor, Zaldy Ampatuan, is running for a second term as mayor of Shariff Aguak, the capital of Maguindanao.  Her daughter Johaila is running for  vice mayor. Murphy Ampatuan, the cousin of Andal Ampatuan, clan patriarch and Zaldy’s father, is the opponent of Johaila for vice mayor of the town.

The documentary, “Angkan, Inc.” recalls that 16 Ampatuans won in the 2010 elections;  the Midtimbangs, seven, while the Mangudadatus had five winners.

PCIJ classifies the  Ampatuans, Midtimbangs, and Mangudadatus as “fat dynasties” because  their members  are in both elective and non-elective positions in the government. The Ampatuans are the fattest dynasty in Maguindanao.

In  “Angkan Inc.”, Mendoza asked two questions for  viewers to answer: “Sa isang fat dynasty, nasa tao pa ba ang karapatang mamili ng mga mamumuno?  Kung magkakamag-anak ang nakaupo sa iisang lugar, may pag-asa pa bang mapigilan ang pang-aabuso sa pondo ng bayan? (In a fat dynasty, do the people have the right to choose their leaders? If relatives are governing the place, is there a chance to stop  corruption in that place?) 

Political dynasties are not limited to Maguindanao.  In other areas, provinces, and even in the National Capital Region, political dynasties exist. Some 70 percent of the Philippine Congress is dynastic, according to PCIJ research.  Fifty percent of congressmen belong to a political clan.

Thin and Fat Dynasties

PCIJ classifies the political dynasties in the country into two types, the thin and the fat.

In a thin dynasty, for example, an incumbent mayor is on his last term and one of his relatives is  running for his post.  In this type of dynasty, only one government position is being manipulated by the members of the political clan.

On the other hand, in a fat dynasty  the members of the political clan are in power and/or are running for different government positions at the same time. 

“The more fat dynasties you  have, the more poverty there’s likely to be” Mendoza said.

APC believes the presence of fat dynasties is among the reasons behind the poverty in Maguindanao because the money of the province only circulates among the members of the clan.

Based on the Good Governance Index (GGI) conducted in 2005 and 2008, Maguindanao was  the poorest among the 79 provinces in the country.  One out of two Maguindanawons were considered poor. The same poverty index found that nationally, only one out of four Filipinos was poor.

Each Maguindanawon only earned about P23, 700 a year or less than P1, 975 per month.  Based on the report posted last year at the news website Bulatlat.com, the poverty threshold or the minimum amount required to meet a family’s basic food and non-food needs of the Filipinos in 2011 is P46 per day or 1,380 per month.  Maguindanawons are within the threshold but most of them are still considered poor. According to Mahar Mangahas of the polling organization Social Weather Stations, the median household threshold in Mindanao is P6,00 per month.

The people of Maguindano also have the shortest life expectancy compared to the people of other Philippine  provinces. Angkan Inc. said most  Maguindanawons can only live up to 58.5 years,  compared to the 76.4 years life expectancy of those who live in La Union.

Reporting political dynasties

Media play a very vital role during election periods.  Through media, voters have the opportunity to look at the lives of the candidates.  Whatever the media report can affect the decision of the voters.

The  media during elections cover  campaign rallies,  controversies, platforms, anomalies, and other political issues. But Mangahas said the media still need to focus on political dynasties as a major factor in the outcome of Philippine elections.

Reports on political clans should of course be  fair and balanced. But they should also be in- depth, based on research and analytical.  Media should consider the credibility of the candidates whether they belong to a political clan or not. Newbies in politics should also be covered so the voters will know them much better.

“The press should also scrutinize the new candidates—to find out  if they have more potential to be better leaders than the incumbents,” Malou Mangahas told PJR Reports.

This does not mean that the coverage by media  of elections should focus only on, and stop with dynasties. The election itself and the next chapter of politics and administration should be the main story.

“Hindi lang dapat dynasties ang kino-cover.  It’s really elections and holding public officials to account for  the promises they make.  ‘Yong governance nila, kung ayos o hindi.  Sa amin, ang tingin namin,  an election is just a high point (Not only dynasties should be covered. It’s really election and holding public officials to account for promises they made.  Did the government officials perform well? In our opinion, an election is just a high point in the democratic process,)” she said.

Media are not perfect. Every newspaper, television and radio company has its own shortcomings in covering election-related stories like political clans.  But what’s most important is for them to know their mistakes, and to provide  better reports on elections because whatever they publish or air can affect the vote of everyone, said Mangahas.—By Reina Beatriz Peralta and Jennifer Hermosilla

Covering or seeking cover?: The curious cases of blocktimers in Negros Occidental

Written by CMFR on April 26, 2013 – 1:20 PM -

“There is in the Philippines a season when politicians cross over to broadcast journalism, blurring the line between the Fourth Estate and the establishment that its members are supposed to fiscalize, and erasing the traditional tension that is supposed to exist between the Press and the powers-that-be,” writes Bacolod-based freelance journalist Julius Mariveles about the blocktiming practice in Negros Occidental during the current mid-term election season.

“That season is the election season, when politics, the news media, and entertainment are thrown into one merry, colorful, noisy, and moneyed mix. It is also the time when some broadcasters and journalists become candidates, running for various elective positions and becoming members of traditional political parties.”

To know more about the blocktiming practice in Negros Occidental and its connection with the upcoming elections, read the rest of his story “Covering or seeking cover?: The curious cases of blocktimers in Negros Occidental” here: http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2013/04/18/covering-or-seeking-cover-the-curious-cases-of-blocktimers-in-negros-occidental/

Mariveles recently served as production chief and news director of Aksyon Radyo Bacolod. His first story on blocktimers for CMFR can be read here: http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2012/10/01/mixed-blessing-or-mixed-curseblocktiming-in-bacolod-city/

To know more about this unique Philippine broadcast media practice of blocktiming, visit our special page on blocktiming.

CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of 2013 Elections

Given the special nature of the 2013 campaign and elections, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season bears watching. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is monitoring the news media coverage of the 2013 campaign and elections in the context of both the special circumstances in which they were taking place, and the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offered to the Philippine media. 

CMFR has been monitoring media coverage of Philippine elections since 1992, and in every instance has made recommendations towards the improvement of 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.


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