The Philippine Press Institute (PPI), also known as the National Association of Newspapers and considered the oldest media organization in the country, has been instrumental in the creation of media or councils in some parts of the country since 2022.
There are now six media-citizen councils that have been established in Batangas, Iloilo, Davao, Central Luzon, Aklan, and Leyte-Samar.
The first three were conceived and virtually launched during the pandemic on August 19, 2022. The last three were created immediately after a three-legged orientation and workshop in 2023.
The first press council in the Philippines was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 4363 enacted on June 19, 1965. It was said to have been abolished with the proclamation of Martial Law in 1972.
Since its revival in 1993, the Philippine Press Council founded by the Philippine Press Institute has evolved and is now a platform to address various media issues and concerns within the community, apart from being a mechanism for Right of Reply and redress within the Philippine Press Institute.
Its membership was extended to representatives from the academic, business, and legal sectors. With the establishment of a contemporary media-citizen council since 2022, its composition has expanded to include other sectors such as medical professionals, LGBTQIA+, vloggers, LGUs, military, police, an electric cooperative in the case of the Leyte-Samar Media-Citizen Council which saw the need to have a regional council and invite a wide array of non-media sectors crucial to demographic inclusivity.
“Each Council is unique in that sense. The sectoral representatives in (a) Council Board vary from one council to another, as so vetted by a core group who initially decides on the membership composition and structure, before they could even elect their officers,” says Ariel Sebellino, PPI executive director.
This year with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, PPI conducted orientation and seminar workshops for the creation of three additional media-citizen councils Central Luzon (regional), Aklan, and Leyte-Samar (regional).
In the orientation and workshop in Tacloban City for the Leyte Samar Media-Citizen Council held on August 29-30 this year, PPI Seminar Director and Manila Standard managing editor Joyce Babe Pañares, cited two reasons for PPI’s perseverance and dedication in pursuing the creation of media councils across the country: first, as a protection mechanism for media by gathering the support of its natural allies as well as providing a grievance mechanism and platform and second, is to hold media accountable.
“We want to start with addressing the eroded trusts plus attacks in the form of libel case, mga cease-and-desist orders galing sa LGUs. Kung minsan mga treats against our reporters, editors and publishers, to actual killings in media,” she said.
In the offing is the establishment of media-citizen councils in Surigao, General Santos, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the support from IMS. (Rissa Silvestre, PPI)