Media's Public

‘Tell the press. Don’t tell the press. It’s entirely up to you.’

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

The public official decides when to talk and when to clam up to news reporters. Until the law or the court compels disclosure — or someone from inside leaks the information.

THEY HAVE this big secret that only 14 people know about: fictional U.S. president Josia Bartlet in the TV political drama “The West Wing” has been suffering for seven years from a “relapsing remitting case” of multiple sclerosis. And they’ve been hiding his MS from the rest of the world, including most of his co-workers in the White House.

Abbey Bartlet, the president’s wife, pressed by a key staffer who is out of the loop, says the famous line in the episode “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen” (year 2000). The quote is one of the Sorkinisms (after its creator-writer Aaron Sorkin) from the hugely successful NBC serial. During its 10-year run (1999-2006), “The West Wing” won three Golden Globes and 26 Emmys and was #10 in the Writers Guild of America list of 101 Best-Written TV Series. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Unpatriotic’ journalists: Tiglao blasts ‘false’ writings abroad

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

Must sense of nationalism stop Filipino writers from ‘badmouthing’ their country abroad? A ‘Manila Times’ columnist and former Arroyo publicist raises issue of patriotism.

Rigoberto D. Tiglao, columnist of “The Manila Times,” had a career in journalism that began in 1981 as reporter of a business daily based in Manila. His vast journalistic experience included past stints as bureau chief of “Far Eastern Economic Review” and columnist of “Philippine Daily Inquirer.”

Government service interrupted his work with publications when he was appointed chief of the Presidential Management Staff, press secretary and ambassador, among other posts. After president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stepped down, Tiglao returned to journalism as “Times” columnist. Read the rest of this entry »

Uson, Rappler and MPC: what the firestorm is all about

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

Mocha Uson tangles with Rappler on its standing as a media outfit and Harry Roque over ties with media.
And she seems set to wage war against Malacañang Press Corps as well. Is she confused about her role as a PCOO official?

THE Presidential Communication Operations Office (PCOO) has the right to lay down rules for accrediting journalists who cover the president and activities in Malacañang. It can also change those rules: usually with the assent of the Malacañang Press Corps (MPC), not as matter of media right but for the working relations between them. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Li’l narco’ fake news item about Trillanes: trad-media ‘started it’

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

Two mainstream columnists are suspected of originating the bogus story. Not a satire website and the slew of fake-news blogs that later used the story about the senator.

U.S. President Trump, according to the story, was asked by a reporter aboard Air Force One about a meeting between Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Senator who?” Trumped supposedly said, “Like I said, senator who? The lil narco who met Marco? How’d he get a visa? Isn’t he wanted, doesn’t he have an arrest warrant or something?” Read the rest of this entry »

Reporting cuss words of Andanar, Panelo

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

Policies of news outfits on obscene language vary. So may the interpretation of policy by editors within the same organization. Online though, they hardly bother about rules.

May mga maingay na pala-i**t, yon ang problema sa kanila, hanggang ingay lang. Wala namang napatunayan…”
— Communication Secretary Martin Andanar, before Filipino overseas workers in London Read the rest of this entry »

‘Fake news bill’: section on black propaganda out of place

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

The second kind of fake news, when it is used as propaganda, may be wielded not only against a rival politician but the journalist who reports it.

IGNORED or put aside in the committee hearings on Senate Bill #1492 is the second kind of false information or fake news (hereinafter just called “fake news”). Or maybe, the news reports omitted the discussion on that part of the bill and focused on private bloggers hired by PCOO and were peddling fake news. Read the rest of this entry »

Senate’s fake news bill: ‘patay’ — or maybe not

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

The president might veto Senate Bill #1492 if kept in its present form but it could be for the wrong reason. As in libel laws, constitutionality of the proposed legislation is not the core issue. Its major flaw is that it does not define fake news explicitly.

“… I am sure they cannot pass a law on fake news.”
— President Duterte, Oct. 4, 2017

This needs to be said again. Philippine media has long accepted that free speech or free press is not absolute. Laws on libel, slander, inciting to sedition, national security and contempt, among others, limit that freedom and journalists do their work fully recognizing it. Read the rest of this entry »

Not being a journalist is no excuse for peddling fake news

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

Sen. Bam Aquino asked Mocha Uson why she had not sought the side of the people she castigated in her blog. “I’m not a journalist, po,” she repeatedly said

“Ang ginagawa ko, di po ako journalist…”
— Mocha Uson, PCOO assistant secretary who also writes a blog, during Senate hearing on bill seeking to criminalize fake news

THERE’S no universally accepted definition of a journalist. Standards and definitions vary. Each group or sector engaged in communication or with media has its own concept of what a journalist is. Read the rest of this entry »

Mocha Uson’s fake news is also PCOO’s fake news

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

The asst. secretary’s ‘arrangement’ with PCOO chief Andanar about her blog won’t work if his office doesn’t own responsibility for its content.

At the Sept. 20 Senate hearing on the budget of Presidential Communication Operations Office for 2018, PCOO chief Martin Andanar was asked by Sen. Nancy Binay how his department could fight fake news when his asst. secretary, Margaux Mocha Uson was herself peddling fake news. “It’s difficult,” said Binay. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Reinventing’ PNA: it’s more than stopping serial errors

By Pachico A. Seares
Public & Standards Editor
SunStar Cebu and SunStar Superbalita

It’s not just a matter of the Philippines News Agency getting it right and avoiding mistakes in content. Much is expected from the government’s official news carrier.

Last Sept. 8, when Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco was named to supervise the government-run Philippines News Agency (PNA) and stop its embarrassing gaffes, he assured the public they are “birth pains” and are “effectively addressed.” Read the rest of this entry »