Communications and the New Media (first of a series)-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, August 6, 2012
WE LIVE in a world of constant communication and everything that we do or say in most of our day-to-day dealings has something to do with human relationship. What is rather peculiar with us nowadays is that aside from our person-to-person dealings or use of telephony in our communication, it has also become a way of life to check our mail boxes not outside our doors but in our virtual idiot box called computer. Technology has indeed evolved and the wide use of social media by a great number of users worldwide has dictated a new trend in communication.
When Jay Jaboneta was tapped by the Presidential Communication Operations Office during President Benigno C. Aquino III’s first year in office, the young IT expert and his team brainstormed on how to make heroes of the Filipino people. Jaboneta used the popular social network platform Facebook to bring the President and his message closer to the people and the bureaucracy. P-Noy’s FB site has indeed provided a link that shared stories of partnerships from across the country and the world and this can be observed by the millions of likes. One of the goals of P-Noy’s social media team according to Jaboneta was to empower the Filipino people with digital tools that will enhance their daily lives and assist government agencies in delivering basic services online.
The statistics presented by Jaboneta during a recent communication for development seminar in Manila showed that there are about 29.7 million Filipinos that are online which is equivalent to 1/4 of our total population. There are about 19 million Filipinos on Facebook and two million on Twitter while about 80 million are mobile phone users. On news consumption, about 70 percent of Filipinos still get their news from traditional media such as TV, Radio and Print according to the data presented by Jaboneta and 30 percent get their news from the web.
On that same seminar facilitated by the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication Development, it’s President Ramon Tuazon who discussed the various mind shifts in public information work and sited dissemination biases, use of traditional mass media, customer blindness and culture sensitivity among others by many of the government’s information arms or channels.
Among the various multimedia channels, media culture and creative strategies employed by planners and management, Tuazon further discussed what he calls “Drivers of Change” as part of Communication for Development (C4D) which fully utilizes information and communication technology as every citizen’s platform to globalization and the world.
According to Rod Cornejo, perception is reality and this statement conforms to the dictum “vox populi” or “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Cornejo, who is a Trustee of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication and member of the Manila Overseas Press Club, expounded that the government serves as protector of the people and media is the voice of the people. While government sets the rules, media monitors and when government errs, media exposes observes Cornejo.
The Philippine Press Institute according to Tuazon has formulated a Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct in Writing a Story and the code suggested the some guidelines.
According to the PPI code, all efforts must be exerted to make stories fair, accurate and balanced. Single-source stories must be avoided as a rule as there is always the imperative to get a second, third or more.
Documents are required, particularly for stories alleging corruption or wrongdoing by public officials or agencies, private individuals, corporations and groups or sources.
As a rule, the PPI code states that anonymous sources shall be discouraged, especially if they are coming from the public sector or publicly accountable agencies.
Writers shall avoid at all times language, photographs, visuals and graphics that are racist, sexist, insensitive and disrespectful. The identities and photographs of children and women who figure in the news as victims of sexual abuse such as rape, incest, sexual harassment, prostitution, battering and others must not be printed, and details about their personal circumstances and identities must be withheld.
It is likewise important to note that suspects in criminal cases must be properly described as suspects according to PPI. Documents that had been leaked by sources, especially those from the government, must be properly described as leaked documents, when used in a story.
As much as possible, the source must be identified. Writers shall accord equal prominence to rejoinders, rebuttals and clarification from persons or agencies criticized in stories. When errors of fact or impression are committed, we must acknowledge this on print, and promptly issue a clarification.
Lastly, misleading practices such as misrepresentation, trickery, impersonation, and the use of hidden tape recorders in newsgathering can seriously undermine a newspaper’s credibility and trustworthiness and should be avoided. An editor confronted with a decision to employ such methods should meet the following conditions and these are; public importance, alternatives, last resort and disclosure. (To be continued)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 07, 2012.