|BLOCKTIMING IS the unique Philippine broadcast media practice of buying “blocks” of air time to produce programs independent of networks and stations. The blocktimer sells the commercial time to sponsors and/or advertisers. Blocktime programs especially proliferate during elections, as politicians scramble for access to the voting public by, among other means, sponsoring programs through which they can have the exclusive opportunity to enhance their image and undermine that of their rivals.
The most disturbing implication involves the integrity of the information voters get during elections. With blocktimers in control of program time, it is a near impossibility to observe media’s obligation for balanced treatment in the news and the fair distribution of media time. It also becomes more difficult to determine which programs are bought and paid for by political interests and which are not.
While the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Broadcast Code does have blocktiming rules, it is unable to monitor all the blocktime programs at any given time and its power limited to member stations. As a consequence, blocktiming practice is practically unregulated.