Benguet journalists briefed on safe election reporting

TO MINIMIZE harm among community-based journalists and broadcasters while covering and reporting the 2016 elections, a safety reporting seminar was conducted by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Baguio-Benguet Chapter.

The training-workshop with the theme “Briefings on Safety Reporting for the May 2016 Elections” was participated by at least 30 journalists and broadcasters from the Cordillera, Pangasinan and Tarlac.

NUJP Baguio-Benguet Chapter secretary general Kimberlie Quitasol explained the seminar sought to equip media colleagues on handling threats and risks during election coverage.

Quitasol cited the murder of 58 people – 32 of the victims were journalists – on November 23, 2009 in Maguindanao as the worst case of election violence in Philippine history.

“There are various threats to members of the media during elections and these threats vary from one place to another, thus we need to reeducate ourselves on safety coverage and reportage including ethics,” Quitasol said.

Associate Professor Danilo Arao of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman - College of Mass Communication, said in his lecture that factual information should always be presented to the public.

Arao defined information as the combination of data and analysis.

For information to be presented in the proper context, Arao suggested for the media to look into the preparations of the Commission on Election as well as fact-checking of data provided by public relation of poll candidates.

Arao said journalists should also report the qualification of party-list groups, political dynasty as well as issues and intricacies that surround the automated polls.

Also, Arao said stories should focus on platforms instead of focusing on the sensational pronouncements of the candidates.

“Media need to help voters make informed decisions, among other tasks,” Arao stressed.

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