The University of the Philippines Visayas, through BANTALA: UPV Media Excellence Awards, partnered with the Philippine Press Institute, Hanns Seidel Foundation, and Iloilo Media-Citizen Council to organize a seminar-workshop among media practitioners, bloggers, and vloggers in the region for the crafting of guidelines for online reporting.
According to PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino, there are no existing guidelines for online reporting, thus a need to develop one. Mr. Sebellino also expressed that aside from media practitioners, the participation of bloggers, vloggers, and academics gave a holistic perspective to the discussion.
The draft guidelines revolve around safety, ethics, and best newsroom practices based on the experiences of the participants. A separate technical working committee is yet to refine the initial draft.
Mr. Sebellino added that this is the first time that PPI organized such an activity. After the refinement of the guidelines, they are aiming to replicate it as well in other regions.
Mr. Francis Allan Angelo, the PPI Trustee for Visayas and the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper Daily Guardian, reiterated that the proposed guidelines are not to impose but for the consideration of media practitioners, bloggers, and vloggers.
“They will have something to read when they are confronted with certain situations that might require some ethical and safety requirements. So, we are not imposing here, we are just actually discussing. And with our discussion, we came up with something… at the end of the day, ethics, practice, everything is personal, nasa atin na iyon,” Angelo said.
CREATION OF THE PROJECT
The project was conceived by Dr. Zoilo Andrada Jr., Project Development Assistant for Mass Media and Communication, along with Ms. Gerthrode Charlotte Tan-Mabilog and Mr. Angelo.
The team pitched the idea to PPI which they positively responded with full funding assistance from HSF, a non-stock, not-to-profit, non-governmental entity funded by the Federal Government of Germany, the Government of the Free State of Bavaria/Germany, and the European Union.
“The media shift is inevitable as technology develops. The bottom line is that consumers – the major players of the communication process—should be conscious of media shift to appreciate its content,” Andrada explained in his session.
Similarly, in his welcome message, UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano raised his concern about media disruption. He pointed out how technology has become not only a tool but an extension of our lives and vice versa.
“Digital technology has the capacity to shift the way you think or the way you communicate with people; and if communication and sociality are so central to our identities – you could imagine what technology like this can do. Digital technology transforms the way you define news.”
Before crafting the guidelines, the participants further capacitated themselves with the jam-packed training workshop. The topics discussed were online reporting, digital safety and security, fact-checking, and using online platforms most especially TikTok.
At the end of the training about the use of TikTok, the participants proudly showcased their wit and creativity as they produced their own TikTok videos. It was not solely for entertainment because they used it as a tool to fight disinformation.
According to Ms. Aine Grace Bravo, a senior newswriter and newscaster from Aksyon Radyo Iloilo who was also one of the participants, there is an urgent need to learn the intricacies of the different digital platforms to be relatable, especially to the new audience.
“We should learn to innovate and be creative without compromising our credibility and reliability. I believe that by using these new platforms, traditional media are still relevant source of information for a wide audience who are looking for credible and reliable news,” she asserted.
RESPONSE TO THE CHALLENGE
The draft of the Western Visayas Guidelines on Online Reporting is the response of the concerned media practitioners, bloggers, and vloggers in the region to the challenges posed by media disruption.
These challenges may be complicated but their commitment to upholding and promoting social responsibility in digital media has not waned, instead, it amplified.
Ms. Caroline Lee, the program coordinator of HSF - Philippines, expressed her gratitude to the participants for their overwhelming enthusiasm and active participation.
She also claimed that their support for PPI and other partners for the realization of the project was meaningful because of the success of the activity.