Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

MISSED

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Media, Ramdom thoughts

Amidst this busy day in the newsroom, and under the pouring rain while shooting a spiel in EDSA, I suddenly miss my Kabataan News Network (KNN Manila) family.

I miss my partner (in crime!) Nicai de Guzman, and our sometimes-funny-most-of-the-time-naughty stories.

Nicai and I during our hosting stint in SM-UNICEF's Drink for Two. (May 2008)

I miss Danz Maderazo and his light resemblance, and his infamous talent to mimic Jessica Soho.

Danz and I in one of our snack times as KNN reporters. (May 2008)

I miss Angelo Supe and his poker face, and his eloquent lines that make the entire group ROFL.

Angelo and I during our "tambay" in Probe Productions. (June 2008)

I miss Hanna Jaber and her motherly nature, and her random lost moments that are effortlessly funny.

Hanna and I during a KNN workshop in Astoria Plaza (February 2009)

They are my closest (COF!), but of course, I also miss other reporters and our bosses as well. (Hi Ate Ros, Ate Yas and Tita Nancy!)

KNN, as I’ve said many times way back, contributed alot to my growth as a youth and student, and in my pursuit in life.

I always wish for more good times with KNN…

Interviews for Population and Development story and I during our visit in Rodriguez Landfill. (July 2009)

I know there is  always one. Me excited.

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TO WHOM DOES IT REPORT?

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Media, Politics

I will not speak as if I am an expert or professional analyst. I just want to express my own, personal views on the INCIDENT INVESTIGATION and REVIEW COMMITTEE on the August, 23, 2010 Rizal Park Hostage-taking Incident (IIRC Report) provided by the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) special body.

The First Report of the Luneta Hostage-Taking Incident is commendable. It affirms President Aquino’s pledge of accountability and transparency to the Filipino people. The body drafted and finished the Report very fast and it seems that they know what they are doing. However, the report’s tenor appears that it writes for China and not to seek the truth and shed light on the matter. It starts with the chronological account of what transpired from as early as 6 a.m until the assault’s end at around 9 p.m. It reconstructs the story primarily from first-hand testimonies of the freed and survived hostages, police officers involved, negotiators, “accessories” to the crime, media and even from the bystanders in Quirino Grandstand. It also includes medical, forensic and (initial) ballistic reports and analyses. The Report points the finger of blame, obviously to the Philippine National Police (PNP) through one of the Report’s highlights, the so-called Critical Incidents. This part tackles the lapses and inactions on the side of the authorities or the potentially “make-or-break” situations for the authorities and the Hostage Taker. The first Critical Incident is the lost of chain of command and clear delegations of task which led to the inability to establish a Crisis Management Group (CMC), according to the Crisis Manual and Protocol, it is the City Mayor (Mayor Alfredo Lim) who has the authority to establish such. Under CMC were sub-groups that could have been very useful and at times critical to the negotiation’s success such as a psychologist. Second is the misunderstanding and underestimation of the Hostage Taker’s demands, thus the negotiators’ moves were flawed and at the disadvantage of the hostages’ safety. They did not feel that base on the negotiators’ assurances of positive result in accordance to his demands and not to mention phone conversations between the Hostage Taker and the DOJ Sec., Ombudsman the police officers on ground, the Hostage Taker’s expectation level goes up. In relation to the second, third are the unfruitful tools of negotiation that only trigger the Hostage Taker’s anger such as the “Motion to Review” instead of an “Order of Reinstallation” following from the presumption that due to their assurances and many options opened to the Hostage Taker, the latter’s expectations rises up. Due to this, the huge possibilities of peaceful break down that even the alternatives opened up were rejected. Fourth was “(t)he acts, omissions and reaction, of the authorities concerned with resolving the crisis situation, to the initial breakdown”. The loss of the handlers’ focus on the main incident due to Gregorio (Hostage Taker’s brother) is evident. The Report said that the brother could have been a very powerful instrument to salvage the tearing down negotiation and revive the trust of the Hostage Taker. The fruit of the Fourth is the Fifth which is the arrest of Gregorio as ordered by Mayor Lim that led the Hostage Taker to shoot the hostages. The Sixth is “(t)he departure of Mayor Lim and General Magtibay from the Advance Command Post at a crucial time. It is caused by “error in judgement” and paralyses the existing operation. Anything planned to be done in a restaurant could be done better in the Command Post. Lastly, the Eight Critical Incident is (t)he absence of an organized Post Assault Plan”. Having this could make rescue of hostages easier, securing the area better to avoid further harm and recover of the scene of investigation more efficiently. The lost of command is proven when no point person/office is tasked/directed to collect the crime evidences. There was no crowd control also that resulted to media riding inside the ambulances just to have footage and a bystander injured from the Hostage Taker’s stray bullet. The crux of the issue boils down to the lack of training, equipment and readiness of the PNP. The Report continues on the media’s coverage, salient points are raised including coverage having gone over board as evident is the “showing of tactical or strategic footages”, the coverage of Hostage Taker’s brother’s arrest, the live interview with the Hostage Taker over Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) station DZXL with Michael Rogas as anchorman.

Indeed there are no statutes that prohibit media to cover in such “news worthy” stories because the People are guaranteed of the freedom to know and the media have autonomy and self-regulation. However, when innocent lives are at stake and national interest is at risk, the media personnel must know, like how they know where their elbows are no matter how irregularly seen, how to self-regulate and where to balance ethics, business and competition. The Report added that ”(e)thical rules and regulations governing journalist covering a crisis situation, locally and internationally, vary in the manner they are phrased, but the essence of the ethical rules and considerations are the same”. These operational rules and code of ethics must work in actuality beyond its pedestal as texts. In the Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking, it is evident that media failed to do so. Yes, there is no innocent world out there, but there is no guilty world out there too, unless we make the former an excuse. The assessment part of the Report ended criticizing the media’s unethical coverage (especially RMN) that compromises the negotiators’ chance to appeal to the Hostage Taker.

After reading the First Report, I know that it is not half-baked. It presents the facts chronologically and logically. It removes my prior notion that it is written for China. It is still somehow written for the very institutions that either holds or maintains the current social order. It is also a good reminder for the future policemen and media practitioners. I will however read the assessment for media for the second time and hopefully make a “Second Report” on the First Report.

Again, this is not an expert’s view of the matter. There are just personal opinions with their own biases. After all, after things have been said, we must all go back to the very fact that the Report should not be a trophy for the authorities or the President, neither a “graphic” fictional story for an ordinary reader. This Report should be a compelling reason for everyone to end the culture of being “reactive” and start being “proactive”.

Full text can be downloaded at http://www.gov.ph/2010/09/17/first-report-of-the-iirc-on-the-rizal-park-hostage-taking-incident/

This space could have been an entry about the new President’s Inauguration. Of course, I have my own angst about the country’s politics but as I made up my mind, I find myself still thinking about Probe, the closing of its regular show and at the same time, the official retirement of its very own CheChe Lazaro.

Probe is Probe. No other documentary shows come close. Nothing beats the pioneer. For sure, I am not the only one who’s sad in its farewell episode. When I first knew this, I wonder what will happen to the Production itself. I once asked my colleagues about this but the truth of the matter is always uncertain.

The story is familiar, because Kabataan News Network (KNN) is also closing today.

Probe, with its Foundation (PMFI) taught me a lot through the years. I have been a youth reporter of KNN since 2005. I was even promoted as Assistant Bureau Manager (BM) in 2008 then another level up, as Bureau Manager in 2009 up to the present. KNN life is rich in experience and definitely an unforgettable one. This taught me how to be a professional broadcaster in an early age. This has been my strict training ground where BMs back then will not tolerate mediocrity, my claim-to-fame and bragging trophy to my family, classmates and friends, my happy place not because meals are free and transportation expenses are reimbursed but because real friends and mentors are here.

Joseph reporting in the middle of the ricefield under the sun's heat.

KNN gave me unique experiences like immersing in a peasant community to capture their stories (see Gapos sa Gapas (2009) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsux7A-TvVs), probing about street foods (see Tuhog (2007) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPiwCOJ2FXw) or discovering child labor in my community in Marikina (see Sidecar (2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8RUZRzEWDc) and many more video stories that I was once a production assistant, cameraperson or writer.

Joseph during his stand-upper about the Reproductive Health bill

I just responded to a text message of a schoolmate asking if the closing is true. It is sad that these uncompromising productions will close soon but one thing is for sure, they will remain as inspiration for aspiring media practitioners in the future.

Indeed, no goodbyes for Probe and KNN, because I know we will kick back higher and stronger. Good vibes, good times!