Invitation to a virtual press conference

I was forwarded an interesting e-mail today. It was an invitation to a “virtual press conference” with officials of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia. The press conference will tackle the scheduled unveiling later this month of The Philippines 2030 Roadmap and the Public Governance System. The press conference will be held at the “Presscon Room” of Yehey.com.

Using teleconferencing facilities for press conferences is nothing new. Many government officials do it when they are out of the country. Corporate officials do it. But many of these teleconferencing setups are controlled, reporters are still gathered in a room and the organizers typically use a high-capacity line to make sure the teleconference goes smoothly.

The coming virtual press conference, however, will be decentralized. I don’t know how Yehey! will be doing it as the room is still being set up. I don’t know if they’ll be doing it “chat” style or via a message board. This is a great idea. It allows us in the “provincial media” to attend press conferences, albeit virtual, that would otherwise had been limited to Manila reporters. And why limit it to reporters in the first place? If I were ISA, I’d invite bloggers who discuss governance issues in their sites.

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The glass cannot be half-full

Either there is press freedom or not, according to Sun.Stars pooled editorial.

The editorial points out the danger of making police the evaluators of media.

Why do cops make poor evaluators? They dont know the craft and its nuances. Their mind-set is that of victims, whipped frequently by media for lapses and offenses.

The paper (disclosure: I work for Sun.Star Cebu) says “The Government cannot claim to be free and democratic when it gags media by threats of takeover or shutdown.”

Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of emergency in the country has been described as a harmless weapon that should not instill fear among the law-abiding.

We disagree. It is a lethal weapon in the hands of those who exceed or abuse the power–out of ignorance, spite, or meanness.

Read the full article here.

A call for solidarity

For a few years now, the global media community has named the Philippines among the most dangerous places for journalists. In the past two years, our country has been second only to Iraq in the number of media killings. Philippine journalists have fought hard to roll back the tide of violence. Today, however, the Philippine press faces its strongest challenge.

In declaring a “state of national emergency,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made media among her main targets. She and senior aides warned of government takeover of media facilities considered friendly to the political opposition.

Read the entire statement at the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines website.

Listing of top Philippine news sites

The government-owned Philippine News Agency listed yesterday the top mainstream Philippine news websites based on Netcraft ranking. The data is taken from browsing habits of users of the Netcraft toolbar. I don’t know how big and representative that user base is.

I also don’t know how PNA compiled the list, I tried looking for a listing of the top Philippine sites in Netcraft but couldn’t find one. There’s a listing of the most visited websites with site rank scores but this isn’t grouped by countries and there isn’t even a link to succeeding pages. You can also get the site ranking when you do a web server query in Netcraft. I don’t know if you can access the list if you have the Netcraft toolbar, which I don’t (I hate toolbars-except for the web developer toolbar for Firefox).
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