ESTABLISHING integrity through fair and unbiased reporting without sacrificing the truth is needed to protect the press, the Davao Citizens Media Council chair said.
In an interview last May 9, Antonio Peralta, who is also the Honorary Consul of Finland, said journalists must practice a set code of values to establish their credibility to earn the respect of the public they serve.
Meanwhile, former TV broadcaster and 1st District Councilor Temujin “Tek” Ocampo said in his privilege speech during the 18th Regular Session of the City Council on May 9 that the Davao Citizens Media Council can help initiate several measures to protect the integrity of the press. These include creating an environment of peace and reliability, serving as an adjudicator for fair reporting, and advancing the skills of journalists, among others.
“The Davao Citizens Media Council’s main objective is to create a mechanism for the promotion of press freedom, the protection of journalists and support for responsible journalism, to stave off attacks on the press such as libel suits and other forms of reprisals,” Ocampo said.
Along with that, the City Council passed a resolution recognizing the importance of the Davao Citizens Media Council.
Peralta also said journalists must also be mindful of the responsibilities that come with their job.
“Because it is not only just whether it is negative or positive, all of that will have an impact,” he said. “What we’re trying to do here is to establish an atmosphere of transparency and, at the same time, get the trust of everybody to work together for a freer press.”
According to Peralta, the media council is still in its formative stage. One of their plans is to develop a roadmap of activities to define its true character, such as consulting stakeholders to gather inputs.
“The council is for everyone. It’s not just for a select few. That’s the way we like to model [it] like in Europe, in Sweden, where the press is freer, but at the same time responsible,” he said.
The nature of the media council only covers the entire Davao region, and should there is a need to go beyond Davao, Peralta said that it would be up to the body to decide.
On the role of the citizens and gov’t
Peralta warned that some news on social media is fake, which became prevalent during the pandemic. That’s why people need to be vigilant to combat disinformation.
He also urged the police to ensure that the journalists get adequate protection from harassment and physical threats by taking these reports seriously.
“That’s what we’d like to do, to establish that credibility of the council [so] that we can work with everyone, [such as the] stakeholders, especially those members of the media, and the general public itself. It’s a delicate balance that the council will play,” he said.
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