THE national association of newspapers will promote the organization of press councils in the country as public redress mechanisms.

During the 18th National Press Forum held on May 1 at Traders Hotel in Manila, Philippine Press Institute (PPI) chairman and president Jesus “Jess” Dureza said the project, undertaken to mark the PPI’s 50th anniversary, was inspired in part by the success of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC).

The CCPC is a 15-member council composed of seven media members and eight non-media members. It has been meeting quarterly since Sept. 21, 2005.

A forum for media issues, CCPC defends press freedom and promotes professional journalism. It accepts complaints from aggrieved news sources relating to accuracy and the right of reply.

By providing an added means of redress, CCPC hopes to discourage the filing of lawsuits against media and the killing of journalists.

PPI will provide funding support to member-newspapers seeking to set up press councils, Dureza said.

PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino told Sun.Star Cebu that Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines would provide an initial P1 million for the project for the setup of four local councils this year.

During the forum, CCPC deputy director Cherry Ann Lim presented for CCPC executive director Pachico Seares the “10 reasons the Cebu Citizens-Press Council has survived.”

This gave the PPI members a glimpse of the CCPC’s structure and activities.

The forum also featured talks from Google Southeast Asia’s Cathy Candano, Exotech Solutions’ Mark Cu Unjieng and advertising consultant Aries Estrella on the opportunities for traditional and online media.