PPI members up to the challenge of longevity, want to stay relevant

“The print will survive.”

When this resounding message echoed in the plenary hall, the members of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) certainly knew what they were talking about and the challenges they are up to or against.

Almost a hundred delegates from PPI-member publications and guests from various sectors and partner-organizations shared the same sentiment during PPI’s multi-pronged 60th anniversary. For three days from April 24 to 26 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, the overarching themes on sustainability, viability, innovation, and including proper use of Artificial Intelligence in newsrooms and reportage, were oft-repeated in the General Membership Meeting, National Press Forum and Learning Exchange Forum on the Media-Citizen Councils.

“As we look into the future, we are committed to continuing our mission in a world that is rapidly evolving. We recognize that the next decade will bring new technological advancement, changing media consumption habits and further challenges to press freedom and journalism ethics,” said Rolando Estabillo, PPI chairman-president and publisher of Manila Standard.

He stressed that the vision of PPI is to be at the forefront of addressing these challenges, advocating for a robust and free press, and training the next generation of journalists to report with accuracy, fairness, and integrity.

PPI, also known as the national association of newspapers and online news publications, has been the cornerstone of media integrity, advocacy, and education in the Philippines. For six decades, the esteemed media watchdog and advocacy group has not only stood guard over the principles of ethical and responsible journalism but has also nurtured and empowered members of community press nationwide to uphold these values. The institute was established in 1964, declared moribund during Martial Law years, and restored in 1987 after the EDSA Revolution.

PPI’s principal and institutional partners such as Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) honored during the 28th edition of the Community Pess Awards, Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), International Media Support (IMS), Dutch Embassy, Novartis Philippines, and Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP), supported the institute’s continuing initiatives and advocacies on the professional and ethical practice of journalism and media education for various publics.

Both Novartis and PHAP funded two new categories on health in the longest-running awards program for print in the country. IMS, Dutch Embassy and HSF have given support to PPI’s most ambitious project to date, the creation of Media-Citizen Councils.

In an unprecedented move, the PPI on its founding anniversary put the spotlight on the contemporary Media-Citizen Councils. To date there are nine Councils outside Metro Manila. Five more will be established at the end of the year. “This is no longer about PPI. It’s the community owning a Council so that journalism survives, gets support from the public through the presence of various sectors in the Council, (working) around the framewok of media self-regulation, good journalism and safety,” said PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino.

Revered veteran journalist and former PPI chairman Alfonso Pedroche who currently represents The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon in the PPI Board, said that PPI’s unequalled longevity affirms “the importance of a free and independent press as indespensible part of our democracy”.

The PPI’s annual event serves as venue for discussion of various issues that matter to publishers, owners, editors and reporters, and recognition of excellence in print journalism. It has a stable and growing roster of members from Mindanao, Visayas, Luzon and the National Capital Region (NCR).

“Our work is not just about protecting the rights of journalists or media organizations; it is about safeguarding the right of every citizen to access accurate and reliable information,” said Mr. Estabillo in the final program of the three-day event. ***