Cabaero: United in indignation

Cabaero: United in indignation

The response of media and civil society organizations to the unethical radio interview of a four-year-old rape survivor in Cebu showed their unity in opposing glaring violations of journalism ethics and the laws to protect minor rape survivors.

These organizations called out Brigada News FM broadcasters Juril Patiño and Dennes Tabar and the radio station for the retraumatization of the minor victim who was asked to provide details of the attack during the interview. They demanded an investigation, punishment and corrective measures.

Those that issued statements were the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas-Cebu Chapter, Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists, STET–Women in Cebu Media, Cebu Citizen-Press Council, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines–Cebu, Integrated Bar of the Philippines–Cebu City because Patiño is a lawyer, and the Children’s Legal Bureau.

It isn’t often that these media organizations would be one to call out excesses, believing it is best to leave criticism to internal mechanisms and market pressure. In this case, their response was immediate and their call for accountability was urgent. They were united in their indignation over media abuse. What more can a united media do to push reform, relevancy or sustainability?

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Highlight of International Women’s Month: Cebu became the venue, once again, for a historic gathering of women journalists from all over the country in a conference to talk about their welfare and safety. I say “again” because this was the second after the one held here last year, also in March, and “historic” as it has the potential of marking an important shift in media with women given the opportunity, recognition and support to thrive in the industry.

Some 50 women journalists spent the weekend of March 15-17, 2024, here to discuss “creating a safe space … in the face of online and physical threats and sexual harassment that make the profession an increasingly dangerous and distressing one for women,” the Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) at the Ateneo de Manila University said in a Facebook post. The event was a national conference of the Movement for the Welfare and Safety of Women Journalists (We-Move), spearheaded by the ACFJ.

There were discussions on safe and unsafe spaces in journalism practice and exercises in mindfulness and self-care, and some singing and dancing on the last night.

Some young women journalists admitted being “starstruck” (their word) by the presence of big-name television journalists and didn’t waste time taking selfies with them. The young ones turned out to be the more energetic in the singing and dancing.

The ACFJ partnered with STET-Women in Cebu Media, Kordilyera Citizen Media Council, and the Mindanao Institute of Journalism for the conference funded by the International Media Support.

We-Move was born last year when senior women journalists met in Mactan, Cebu, at a conference supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in the Philippines.

The next one might be held in Cebu again.


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