PPI confab: reclaiming the value of journalism in disinformation age

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PPI confab: reclaiming the value of journalism in disinformation age

 This year marks the 54th anniversary of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), also known as the national association of newspapers. This milestone serves as a testament to the enduring two-pronged vision of PPI: 1) To defend press freedom (the significance of which nowadays cannot be stressed enough); and 2) to promote ethical standards within the ranks of its member-publications.

 “It is a feat that is both humbling and challenging, especially when we consider that this is happening at a time when our nation has been marred by crass partisanship and a maelstrom of populist rhetoric, made more intense by digital hyperactivity, the scale of which seems unprecedented,”  said Alfonso Pedroche, PPI chairman-president.

 As in previous years, PPI is holding its annual National Press Forum on May 24 and 25 in Manila, not only in celebration of its founding but, more importantly, to bring together the members in a once-a-year opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion on an issue that matters to all of the Philippine media.  The publishers and editors from the member-newspapers will be joined by guests from the academe, government, embassies, and civil society organizations.

 The theme for this year is “Reclaiming the Value of Journalism: In an Era When Clickbait Is King,” around which the PPI aims to have a discussion that, among others, will highlight how the media, the community press included, could reclaim and assert its role in todays public agora, while upholding news as a public good instead of peddling it as a commodity in an atmosphere severely polluted by misinformation, malinformation, and disinfomation — telltale marks of today’s information disorder.

 “We need not belabor the fact that the media is in deep crisis in today’s digital ecosystem. Among others, it is battling growing public distrust, declining revenue that severely impacts its capacity to pursue good journalism, and the commodification of news that is anathema to serious journalism,”  said PPI training director Tess Bacalla.

 Confounding these issues is the growing specter of threats to press freedom in a country that was once dubbed a bastion of a free and vibrant, albeit rowdy, press. Add to these troubling realities. she said, are the rise of an information disorder, where fact and falsehood are constantly at odds, or, worse, at times indistinguishable from the other.

 On its decision for the theme, the PPI Board took note with deep concern as well, the apparent decline of commitment to public journalism and a fundamental shift in the values attached to journalism.

 “Consider, for instance, the proliferation of click-bait news articles that leave readers feeling deceived once they have read the last paragraph of a story, or media reports that are far from fake news yet are misleading or dishonest, the measure of their value being virality, or number of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’, rather than their overall quality, measured in terms of  accuracy, nuance, context, depth of analysis, and intellectual rigour,”  said PPI executive director Ariel   Sebellino.

 How can the media step up to the plate to bring about an engaged and empowered citizenry, who, despite divergence of opinion, rally around shared democratic values and commitment to public good? Are facts now a mere relic from the printing press era?

 Is there any doubt that the malady of ‘fake news is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg? The public’s loss of trust in the media, the marginalization of the traditional gatekeepers — including not only the media but also institutions like schools and churches (that used to mediate messages) — in favor of today’s social mediators, the role of human editors having been supplanted by algorithms, popularity as a measure of the value of news stories — these and more are symptoms of a far more malignant malady that deserves more than a casual treatment.

These and other questions will be discussed during the conference by resource persons Atty. Florin Hilbay, Manny Mogato, and Ramon Tuazon.

This year’s event is being supported by Nickel Asia Corporation as its principal partner for its civic journalism programs, and in part by PH-EITI, PAGCOR, SM Investments, Hotel Jen (hotel partner for two years), Land Bank of the Philippines, PhilHealth, Ayala Corp., PCSO, Veterans’ Bank, BCDA, and McDonald’s.

The Civic Journalism Community Press Awards, now on its 22nd season will highlight the two-day event.  There are nine dailies and 7 weeklies vying for five major categories, namely, best in photojournalism, best in environmental reporting, best in business and economic reporting, best editorial page, and best edited paper.

The finalists are: Herald Express, MetroPost, The Mindanao Cross, Baguio Midland Courier, Samar Weekly Express, Baguio Chronicle, and BusinessWeek Mindanao for the weekly category; and Sun.Star Baguio, Cebu Daily News, Edge Davao, The Freeman, Sun.Star Bacolod, Mindanao Times, Visayan Daily Star, Sun.Star Davao, and Sun.Star Pampanga for the daily category.

The awards program, the only one of its kind by far, is being managed by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) and supported by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC). (30)

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Fighting Disinformation

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Close to 200 students, teachers, and employees pose with the training team of the Philippine and sign the covenant during the conduct of its scholastic program on fake news at the Polytechnic University of Philippines (PUP) at its main campus in Sta. Mesa. Supported by Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) as PPI's principal partner in civic journalism which is the latter's flagship program, this is the third installment of the campus roadshow which is an expanded program of last year's seminar series. (Photos by Rogine de Mata/PPI)

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PH-EITI Media Fellowship at PICC


Media Fellowship   Twenty-four journalists from NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao participate in the closing activity of the partnership between the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) at the PICC. Select fellows whose proposals were initially approved and who will be given grants, presented the outlines of their stories for critique. The fellowship workshop is an offshoot of the training series conducted frim December last year to February this year. Published stories by fellows will be.part of a compendium by EITI. (Photo by Rogine De Mata Rogelio/PPI)

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His legacy lives on


The board of trustees, members, and secretariat of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) are saddened by the passing of media icon and seasoned newspaper man Amado 'Jake' P. Macasaet who was a long-time chairman-president of the PPI from 1996 to 2012.

He represented Malaya in the board as publisher. He was conferred chairman emeritus in 2013, the first and only recognition so far bestowed by the institute to a former chairman.

"He is a great loss to the industry and will be missed for sure," noted Al Pedroche, PPI's current chairman.

Sir Jake was instrumental in making sure that the 54-year old organization sticks to its mandate and "not be used by anyone or any politician or organization".

Ariel Sebellino, PPI executive director remembers Sir Jake as straightforward. "He doesn't like so much or many frills in our events. When I introduced some, he would say, 'Anong kaartehan na naman 'yan, Ariel. Pero maganda naman.' These are just some of his unforgettable lines," Sebellino reminisced.

He worked with him for 16 years, preparing reports for him and 'coaching' him spiels for his remarks in PPI's big events.

Sir Jake was a staunch advocate of decriminalizing libel, among other matters that sorely affect the media.

Allan Mediante, PPI vice-president also recalled his fondness for Sir Jake. "For the first time during his time, we were able to do our board meeting and oathtaking as officers outside Metro Manila. At first we thought, he did not want to fly. But he agreed that we hold it in Cagayan de Oro," Mediante said.

Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Jesus 'Jess' Dureza mused that during the turnover of chairmanship to him by Sir Jake in 2013, the latter declared during the annual membership meeting, "you're in good hands".

PPI staff also had funny moments with him. "Nakakatuwa siya. Malakas lang talaga boses niya pero maalaga. Favorite niya ang ginataang tilapia pag board meeting namin sa office," Nemy Joquiño said. She usually calls Sir Jake to remind him of PPI events.

"Sir Jake's legacy wil live on. I will always remember his reminders to me, usually during pep talks as we puffed together," Sebellno added.

The Philippine Press Institute condoles with the Macasaets.

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Digging Stories That Matter (Surigao and Baguio Leg)


DIGGING STORIES THAT MATTER. The seminar-workshops in Surigao City (first photo) for Mindanao leg and Baguio City (second photo) for Luzon-NCR leg on January 2018 complete the media training series on covering the extractive industries organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) in partnership with the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) Secretariat. Fifty-nine journalists from PPI-member publications and other media outfits and platforms attended all three workshops that kicked off in Cebu City in December 2017 for the Visayas leg.

The second phase of the partnership will be submission and approval of story proposals with corresponding grants amounting up to P20,000.00. (Photos by Kier Labrador and Rogine De Mata Rogelio/PPI)

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FINAL SALVO: Let’s Get Real on Fake News


FINAL SALVO. Silliman University in Dumaguete hosted the last of the seminar series on "Let's Get Real on Fake News" and led the signing of the covenant in the fight against disinformation. A total of 170 attendees from various schools packed the audio-visual theater of the university's College of Mass Communication. The communal thumbs down opened the program and the signing closed it. The Philippine Press Institute (PPI), also known as the national association of newspapers conducted the seminars with support from Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) in line with its scholastic outreach and civic journalism programs. Vera Files provided the presentation on fact-checking. (Photos by Kier Labrador/PPI)

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Digging Stories That Matter (Cebu Leg)

PPI-DOF photo after seminar

Print and broadcast journalists from all over Visayas participate in the first of the workshop series and media fellowship on covering the extractive industries titled "Digging Stories That Matter" in Cebu City from December 6 to 9 organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) in partnership with the Philippine Extractive Industries Initiative (PH-EITI) Secretariat. The last two workshops will be conducted in January 2018 in Surigao City and Baguio City. (Photo by Kier Labrador/PPI)

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PTFoMS backs OSG move to appeal CA ruling on Reyes


MANILA -- The head of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Thursday said it supported the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in initiating an investigation to find the “stench” with regard to the Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision to release former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes from detention due to insufficiency of evidence in the Ortega murder case.

Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday said the appellate court's decision to clear Reyes of charges for allegedly ordering the murder of radio host and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega “stinks” and that he would conduct an investigation to “find out where the stench came from.”

In a Palace briefing, PTFoMS executive director Usec. Joel Sy Egco said the task force shared the same sentiment.

He pointed out that the OSG was one of the member agencies of PTFoMS, an inter-agency task force created under President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 1 (AO 1) for the purpose of monitoring all cases of media killings and mobilizing all member agencies in order to attain justice for the family of slain journalists and media workers.

“The PTFoMS will do all within its powers and will perform all legal and appropriate actions and ask our media partners ... for support in order to find out where the stench really came from with regard to the release of former Governor Reyes to the detriment of a slain journalist,” Egco said.

He said the belief that the decision stinks was also shared by the Ortega family and their lawyers during their meeting following the CA decision.

Their belief is rooted on the previous Supreme Court decision upholding the jurisdiction of the lower court in determining probable cause, and that the CA justices who voted for the release of Reyes may be held administratively liable for going against the SC.

"So ito iyong nakikita namin na possible. I’m not saying that this is going to happen. But it depends on the interested parties, in this particular case specifically the family. Kung gusto nilang mag-pursue, may interes sila sa kaso. They may do so. But we are of that belief," Egco said.

In the meantime, the Palace official said the CA decision is an “unwelcome development,” calling it “a nightmare from where we all should wake up.”

“It sets a bad precedent to cases of similar nature. It sends a chilling effect not only to the families of victims but even to us, to those at the frontline against the problem of media killings,” he said.

“Natatakot ako dito, ako personally. We are on the frontline of the fight against media worker killings. Napakahirap maghanap ng witness, ang hirap mag-file ng kaso, ang hirap magpahuli ng suspect, ang hirap mag-monitor ng kaso sa Korte, ang daming kung anu-ano. And then sa isang iglap biglang mawawala. What about the other more than 100 cases that we’re handling? So that’s my, kumbaga iyong primal fear,” Egco said.

As such, the head of the task force on media security said that he had already prepared a formal request for Calida to take charge and find way to effectively reverse the CA decision.

“We give our full trust and confidence to the office of the Solicitor General to effectively seek a reversal of this nightmare… of this, according to (Presidential Spokesperson) Secretary (Harry) Roque in the past few days, which is a travesty of justice,” he said.

“Hindi lang ano, kailangan ma-reverse ito. Because as I said, for me this is a nightmare and kailangan pagtulung-tulungan natin ito otherwise natatakot ako na bumagsak iyong ibang mga ganitong klase ng kaso. Hindi magandang example,” Egco said. (PNA)

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UP to hold the 5th National Communication Research Conference


The Department of Communication Research of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) is holding the 5th National Communication Research Conference in Baguio City on 22 to 25 November 2017. This year’s theme is “Filipino Communicative Experience,” in time for the country’s 120th Year of Independence next year.

Over 600 communication and media students, faculty members, and professionals are expected to participate in the two-day main conference on 23 and 24 November 2017 where seven plenary speakers, ten competition papers, and 66 parallel session papers will be presented at the University of Cordilleras Main Campus (UCMC). Two parallel pre-conference workshops on research reporting will be held on 22 November at the UCMC and two post-conference workshops on research design will be held simultaneously on 25 November at the University of the Philippines Baguio (for students) and at the University of Baguio (for graduate students and faculty members).

Hon. Mark O. Go, Representative of the Lone District of Baguio City, will give the Opening Keynote Remarks. Professor Maria Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco, PhD, 2017 Gawad Tsanselor para sa Natatanging Guro awardee of UP Diliman, will talk about Filipino values and social media during her keynote marks at the Closing Ceremony.

Interested parties can contact the NCRC2017 Secretariat at ncrc@up.edu.ph or visit https://www.facebook.com/NCRCPhilippines/ for information about the conference.

The onsite non-refundable registration fee is P500. It covers the conference kit which includes the Book of Abstracts, a conference ID, the certificate of attendance, a pen, and a small notebook.

The NCRC is being staged together with the College of Arts and Communication of the University of the Philippines Baguio, the University of the Cordilleras, and the Philippines Communication Society. The Philippine Press Institute is NCRC’s press partner.

Now on its fifth year, the NCRC is the geographical expansion of the Communication Research Student Conference, first held in 2008. It is the first time that NCRC is being held outside the UP Diliman campus.

The NCRC is endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and its organizer, the Department of Communication Research is a CHED Center of Excellence in Communication. It has received a Quill Award on Communication Training and Education from the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).


For more information contact:
Contact Person
Fernando Paragas, PhD, Program & Publicity Team Head
National Communication Research Conference 2017
Email fcparagas@up.edu.ph
Phone 981-8500 loc 2671
(PPI as official media partner)

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'FAKE NEWS IS NOT NEWS." The officers of the Negros Press Club (NPC) were among the 300 participants who led the signing of the covenant against disinformation and misinformation in the seminar on 'Let's Get Real on Fake News' at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNOR) in Bacolod City. This is the second to the last of the scholastic series organized by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) with support from Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) in collaboration with the local press club. The final leg will be in Dumaguete City.
Photos by PPI's Kier Labrador

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