Gearing Up the Gatekeepers

With less than three months left before the presidential elections in the Philippines, one of the overlooked yet important questions has been, how do you ensure independent, responsible and credible election reportage?

Together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Office in Brussels, Belgium, the FNF Philippine Office organizes an eight-member delegation that consists of six media representatives from the leading and most influential news outlets in the Philippines: Saleema Refran and Michael Aguana from GMA 7, Abelardo Ulanday of Inquirer, Stacy Lynne de Jesus of Rappler, and Alvin Maaño and Jacqueline Sierda of TV5. Two delegates, Bart Guingona and Ira Angelo Cruz, are part of the civil society organization Pagbabago@Pilipinas, whose work on the annual MediaNation has brought about anti-corruption reforms in the media sector.

"The challenge we ultimately face is how to change the nature of election reportage in the country-from looking at elections as a mere horse-race to dealing with principles and pressing issues," stressed Bart Guingona, the head of the media delegation.

On 21-25 February, the delegates will participate in the Information Programme entitled "New European Trends in Electoral Reporting" in Brussels, Belgium, which includes dialogues with renowned journalists, media practitioners, communication specialists and Members of the European Parliament. Among others, the programme consists of exchanging ideas on new trends in electoral reporting and political campaigning, media freedom and pluralism, the use of electronic data and the influence of global political developments on national campaigns.

"FNF has witnessed the unfolding of reforms in the media sector, and we want to sustain these efforts through this Information Programme. Especially with the run up to the national and presidential elections, we are pleased to support your initiatives in upholding ethics and integrity in the media sector, while getting acquainted with new methods, techniques and strategies for election reporting," said Jules Maaten, FNF Philippines Country Director.