News “management” we can do without

Standard

The kidnapping of ABS-CBN anchor Ces Drilon has again raised and underscored a number of professional and ethical issues in Philippine journalism practice.

The professional issues certainly include the need for media organizations to adopt guidelines in the coverage of crisis and conflict situations. As a companion to those guidelines, safety training for those likely to be covering crisis and conflict situations has also become more and more urgent.

Continue reading

Black man’s burden

Standard

It’s become conventional wisdom among observers in the United States and other countries that a Democratic Party victory this November will mean a shift in US government policies at home and abroad. It doesn’t matter who the Democratic candidate for president will be. Although they have different styles, the thinking went, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would undo the damage eight years of the George W. Bush presidency have inflicted on both the United States and the world.

Barack Obama’s emergence as the Democratic Party candidate for President this November is at least partly due to the results of the surveys, most of which show that despite his race, Obama could defeat Republican John McCain. Despite her support across a broad spectrum of white workers, the middle-class and women, Hillary Clinton’s being a woman, and an aggressive one at that, has been widely held against her. It suggests that sexism’s an even more difficult hurdle in US politics than racism.

Continue reading

One night in Bangkok

Standard

“The next coup will be at 8 p.m. tonight,” Kavi Chongkittavorn declared at the start of a meeting of the board of directors of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) last week in Bangkok. Kavi is editor of The Nation, one of only two English-language newspapers in Thailand, and chairs SEAPA. Five journalists’ and media groups from Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand comprise SEAPA, a non-governmental organization founded in 1998 for the defense and enhancement of free expression and press freedom.

The ever good- humored Kavi meant his “announcement” as a joke. But as the whole world knows, a military coup removed the Thaksin Shinawatra government from power one sultry night in Bangkok in 2006. Although the generals did eventually allow elections, and there’s a civilian government in power in Thailand, political instability and the fact that coups have occurred so often in Thailand have made another Night of the Generals at least possible.

Continue reading

The 8000-pound gorilla

Standard

The foreign chambers of commerce based in the Philippines have joined the debate over power issues — and earned accusations that they’re interfering in what’s alleged to be a government effort to reduce electrical power costs.

The chambers of commerce of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Korea and Europe wrote Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo early this week. Regime threats to review and possibly renegotiate power contracts with Independent Power Producers, the Joint Foreign Chambers said, “will cast doubt on the stability of policies and regulatory rules and on the integrity of investment promotion programs in the Philippines.”

Continue reading