Meeting Media Leaders in the Philippines

Feb 62009

Thanks to my hosts at the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, I had the opportunity to meet leading members of the vibrant media community during my three-day visit to Manila. Thanks to my hosts at the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, I had the chance to meet leading members of the vibrant media community during my three-day visit to Manila. Representatives of GMA Netwok 7, the Philippine Press Institute, the Associated Broadcasting Company, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, and Inquirer.net gathered at a lunch organized by PCIJ's Malou Mangahas. We talked about the media's efforts to cover the country's turbulent political news and the danger journalists who report on these issues face.

Knight International Director Elisa Tinsley (third from left) meets with members of the Philippine media.

PCIJ's Rowena Carranza-Paraan also led me on a tour of media organizations, where newsroom/dot com convergence appears to be a key concern. All of the editors said they were eager to meet a Knight International Journalism Fellow who will work with PCIJ on a new crowd-sourcing project in the poorest provinces. The goal: to help impoverished communities track and report on the effectiveness of government assistance programs.

The media are fighting hard to maintain their independence and, despite the competitive nature of their work, have banded together to protect freedom of the press, which they say increasingly is threatened by political and economic interests. The level of journalism in the capital is high; it is well developed and sophisticated. All here agree that media in areas outside the capital are in need of assistance so they can keep tabs on government promises to improve conditions in remote areas of the archipelago.