Posted at 11:06am July 10, 2020: Assuming that the Technical Working Group (TWG) formed by the Chair of the Legislative Franchise Committee of the House is objective and independent, the following is partial staffwork and some research materials with suggested recommendations for the TWG report on the ABS-CBN franchise:
“Based on the testimonies aired during the franchise hearings, following are the recommendations of the TWG:
A.On election advertisements: 1.Summary of the Testimonies on Q and A of Witnesses and Resource Persons
2.Summary of the Report of the Comelec resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said constitutional body: ___ _____
Based on the foregoing, the following is hereby recommended to be included in the franchise and made applicable to all previous new franchise grantees by way of a separate law to be enacted as soon as possible:
The grantee shall post online all the accepted and perfected contracts of election advertisements stating the names, terms, contract dates, price, minutes, and the schedule of airing, at least seven days before the start of the election campaign period.
Any grantee who reneges on any election advertising contract for any reason or who deviates from the published schedule of election advertisements thereof shall be in breach of its franchise and shall be subjected to recall proceedings of its franchise without prejudice to other lawful actions against it.
This requirements shall apply to all previous new franchise-holders through enactment of a separate law.
1.Summary of the Testimony on Q and A of ABS-CBN President Emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III: __________
2. Summary of the Report of Bureau of Immigration resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said government agency: ____ ______
3.Summary of the Report of Department of Justice Undersecretary _______ as resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said government agency: ____ ______
Based on the foregoing, a law shall be enacted to address the phenomenon of dual citizenship among owners of shares of stock in media organizations.
1.Summary of the Testimony on Q and A of ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak: _____ _____ 2.Summary of the Report of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said government agency: ____ ______
3.Summary of the Report of the Bureau of Internal Revenue resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said government agency: ____ ______
A law shall be enacted prohibiting the tax incentives offered by PEZA to corporations on pain of prosecution under the law.
1.Summary of the Testimony on Q and A of ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak: _____ _____
2.Summary of the Report of the Securities and Exchange Commission resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said government agency
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby recommended that a law shall be enacted disallowing all media corporations from issuing PDRs to foreigners or corporations owned in whole or in part by foreigners
E.On Media Workers:
1.Summary of Testimony on Q and A of former ABS-CBN employees and workers :
2.Summary of the Report of the Department of Labor and Employment resource person , _____, on the issues presented and the position and action taken by said government agency
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby recommended that all workers in all news media organizations including but not limited to reporters and their assistants, writers and their assistants, production crew and productions assistants, animation, graphics, layout and other visual artists, researchers, computer technicians, cameramen and their assistants, lights staff, crane operators, and grips, hair and make-up stylists , drivers, and all other workers whose work is necessary and desirable to the usual business of their company, regardless of the terms of their contract, shall be regularized after rendering services for more than six months of work where the work is continuous in all workdays or for an accumulated period of one year where the work is periodically discontinued.
A law shall be enacted for this purpose applicable to all news media organizations.
F.On “Political Bias” and Media Ownership by the “Oligarchy”:
1.Summary of the Testimony of the following resource persons: a.____
Based on the foregoing, it is hereby recommended that the following provisions shall be incorporated in the franchise grant and shall be made applicable to all previous new franchise grantees by enactment of a new law:
The grantee shall form a council composed of members of the broadcast industry, independent practising journalists, and media watch groups, to hear complaints against the media organization. The proceedings, findings, results, and sanctions if any shall be made transparent and shall be published in the website of the media organization.
In hearing and acting on said complaints, the following provisions (lifted from the PPI Code of Ethics) shall be used as guide, in addition to the code of ethics of the media organization:
On Conflicts of interest
The media organization and individual staff members (news directors, executive producers, reporters, cameramen, desk persons, artists, anchors, hosts, etc.) must weigh their obligations against the impact of:
•Involvement in particular activities
•Affiliation with causes or organizations
•Acceptance of favors or preferential treatment
In the end, the media organization and individual broadcasters, producers, news directors, reporters and staff members shall weigh the following:
Does this practice compromise the independence of the news deparment?
Could this action harm the integrity of the reporter or the news department?
Is the mere appearance of conflict enough to diminish the credibility of the news department?
Should the news department publicly disclose any potential conflicts?
In addition, no member of the media organization shall use the media company to make money. The line between broadcast practice and personal money ventures shall never be crossed.
Financial investment by the media organization and by the individual broadcasters, producers, news directors, reporters and staff members, or other outside business interests that could conflict with the ability of the news organization to report the news or that would create the impression of such a conflict should be avoided.
A staff member may not enter into a business relationship with a news source. A staff member may not make investments which could come into conflict with the staff member’s duties. A staff member with investments or stockholdings in corporations should avoid making news decisions that involve those corporations.
Similarly, staff members’ employment by news sources or potential news sources should be avoided, and staffers should refrain from lending their names to commercial enterprises with no promotional value to their papers.
Business interests that could conflict with a staff member’s ability to report the news, or that would create the impression of such a conflict, must be avoided.
The media organization and its members are entitled to advocate causes and join organizations but not to impose these on their viewers. Advocacies and organizational involvements must be disclosed.
The media organization and its members should avoid any involvement in any activity which could compromise, or appear to compromise, their duty or capacity, ability or disposition to gather, report, write or edit, faithfully, factually, impartially or fairly. Such activity must be cleared in advance with the media organization’s disciplinary council whenever any possibility of interference or conflict exists.
Media organizations must exercise discretion in all relationships with causes and organizations. Staff members are encouraged to join and to perform voluntary services for local religious, cultural, social and civic organizations. Media organizations have the same community responsibility as other businesses in donating editors’ and employees’ time to civic undertakings. Staff members should let supervisors know what groups they’re involved with.
Media organizations should avoid political involvement beyond allowing its staff members to vote without influence or interference. In no circumstances may a staff member seek political office or work, for pay as a volunteer, in a political campaign or organization.
On Reporting the story
All efforts must be exerted to make stories fair, accurate and balanced. Getting the other side is a must, especially for the most sensitive and critical stories. The other side must run on the first take of the story and not any day later.
Single-sourced stories must be avoided as a rule. There is always the imperative to get a second, third or more sources, the contending parties to an issue, the expert source, the affected party, the prominent and the obscure, in the story. The media organization must strive at all times to ascertain the truth of our sources’ assertions.
Documents are required, particularly for stories alleging corruption or wrongdoing by public officials or agencies, or private individuals and corporations and groups.
As a rule, anonymous sources shall be discouraged, especially if they are coming from the public sector or publicly accountable agenices. But when the identity of the source has to be shielded —because revealing it would put his/her job or life in danger— the media organization must: First ascertain the truth of his/her assertions; Determine if he/she is not a polluted source or an interested or beneficial party; Describe him/her in a manner that would establish his/her expertise or right to speak on the subject.
The media organization shall avoid at all times language, photographs, visuals and graphics that are racist, sexist, insensitive and disrespectful of men, women and children; the religious denominations, cultural communities, and gender and political preferences.
The identities and photographs of children and women who figure in the news as victims of sexual abuse (i.e. rape, incest, sexual harassment, prostitution, battering, etc.) must not be printed, and details about their personal circumstances and identities must be withheld.
In the case of incest victims, the identities of the accused and immediate family members must also be protected. Disclosure of the identities of victims of sexual abuse—but not their photographs—may be allowed only in cases when the adult victim (above 18 years old) has decided to file a case in court.
Suspects in criminal cases must be properly described as suspects, Photographs of a police lineup of suspects must be avoided, except in cases of large public interest, and when prima facie evidence has been established against suspects who are publicly accountable officials.
Documents that had been leaked by sources, especially those from the government, must be properly described as leaked documents, when used in a story. As much as possible, the source must identified.
The media organization shall accord equal prominence to rejoinders, rebuttals and clarification from persons or agencies criticized in our stories. These should run without any delays, or as promptly as possible, and should be edited only for grammar.
When the media organization commits errors of fact or impression, the news department must acknowledge this on air, and promptly issue a clarification.
Misleading practices such as misrepresentation, trickery, impersonation, and the use of hidden tape recorders in newsgathering can seriously undermine credibility and trustworthiness and should be avoided. A reporter or news director confronted with a decision to employ such methods should meet the following conditions:
•Public importance. The expected news story should be of such public interest that its news value clearly outweighs the damage to trust and credibility that might result from the use of deception.
•Alternatives. The story cannot reasonably be recast to avoid the need to misrepresent,
•Last resort. All other means of getting the story must have been exhausted.
•Disclosure. The deceptive practices and the reasons why they were used should be disclosed on print at the time the story is published.
CONCLUSION: CONSIDERING THE POSITION TAKEN AND THE RESOLUTIONS DISCLOSED BY ALL THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THAT HAVE BEEN INVITED AS RESOURCE PERSONS ON THE LEGAL ISSUES PRESENTED, AND WITHOUT COMMENTING ON LEGAL ISSUES THAT ARE BETTER ADDRESSED BY LEGAL ENACTMENTS AND THE COURTS, SUBJECT TO THE FOREGOING RECOMMENDATIONS ABOVESTATED, AND IN VIEW OF THE NATIONAL CALAMITY AND EMERGENCY CAUSED BY THE PANDEMIC, IN ORDER TO PREVENT ANY MORE ECONOMIC DISLOCATION, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED THAT ABS-CBN BE IN THE MEANTIME GRANTED A FRANCHISE FOR A PERIOD OF ____ ON CONDITION THAT THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS ARE INCORPORATED.”