Cebu's Bisaya-language dailies keep focus on local elections

Written on April 20, 2010 – 3:33 am | by mediaandelections |

Cebu Print Media Coverage of the 2010 Elections
Fourth Monitoring Period
(March 28-April 10, 2010)

A month before the May 10, 2010 elections, there was a slight increase in the percentage of election-related reports from 28% in the third monitoring period to 29% in the fourth monitoring period. Both Bisaya-language newspapers had the same number of election-related reports but SuperBalita allotted a bigger proportion of its news pages to election-related reports (35%) compared to Banat (23%). The reports were still mostly on how the candidates were campaigning and the local elections, suggesting that, in the community press, the national elections were of minimal concern, in what is perhaps a reflection of the public’s own attitude.


Ninety-eight percent of the election-related reports were  in the inside pages. Compared to the third monitoring period, most of the election-related reports in SuperBalita were still in the “Ngari/Didto/Nasod” section.  Banat’s “Balita” or main news sections meanwhile remained the main location for its election-related reports. This may be interpreted as Banat giving more premium space and treatment to election-related reports than SuperBalita.

Focus/Election-Related Area

As in previous monitoring periods, the focus of both Bisaya-language dailies was still the local elections. Reports about the local elections increased to 84  compared to 75 reports and 53 reports in the third monitoring period and second monitoring period, respectively. There was a significant increase in the number of reports about the party-list election, particularly in SuperBalita where there were 26 reports about the party-list in this monitoring period compared to only one report in the third monitoring period. Banat’s coverage of the party-list election meanwhile remained marginal at two reports.



Coverage of the campaign was still the top theme of  election-related reports in the Bisaya-language dailies which increased to 49 reports in this period from 44 reports in the third monitoring period. The “Cockfight”—who’s ahead of whom– was no longer the primary news concern,  as next to reports on the “Campaign” theme (how the candidates were wooing voters) the newspapers focused their attention on the candidates’ personality, character and/or track record and their platform or program.

Photos and Artwork

There were 32 election-related photos published during this period compared 2to 8 photos and one caricature in the third monitoring period. Twelve of the photos were published in SuperBalita while 20 were published in Banat. The most photo-featured news subjects were Cebu governor Gwen Garcia (4), followed by David Odilao (3) and the Davides, father and son Hilario Davide, Jr. (3) and Cebu gubernatorial candidate Hilario “Junjun” Davide III (3). Odilao figured in a conflict with his erstwhile party mate Pastor Jun Alcover. Jr. of the ANAD Party-list over party funds and who was the official nominee between them.


Presidential candidates Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro and Manny Villar and their respective parties Lakas-Kampi-CMD Party and the Nacionalista Party became the top news subjects in the fourth monitoring period. All four news subjects were involved in a tug-of-war for Cebu’s support and in the controversial shift of support by some local politicians from Teodoro’s camp to Villar’s.


The Comelec (11) went back to being the top news source during this period, followed by Lapu-lapu City mayoralty candidate Efrain Pelaez, Jr. (6), the local administration party One Cebu (6), Governor Gwen Garcia (5), and tthe media (5).


The Bisaya-language dailies showed better coverage of the election campaign during this monitoring period in terms of background and objectivity. From 80% in the third monitoring period, 86% of election-related reports in the fourth monitoring period had adequate background. Neutrality also improved from 82% to 88%. SuperBalita was still the most neutral with 96% while Banat  improved its neutrality from 70% to 75%. Of the 12% election-related reports that were coded as slanted, there were eight positively-slanted reports and seven negatively-slanted reports.

Neutral Reports

Neutral vs. Slanted

Download the report here (in Word or PDF).

CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of 2013 Elections

Given the special nature of the 2013 campaign and elections, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season bears watching. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is monitoring the news media coverage of the 2013 campaign and elections in the context of both the special circumstances in which they were taking place, and the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offered to the Philippine media. 

CMFR has been monitoring media coverage of Philippine elections since 1992, and in every instance has made recommendations towards the improvement of media coverage. These efforts have not been unrewarded. Changes in media coverage incorporating some of the recommendations of the CMFR monitor in 2004 were evident, for example, in the media coverage of the 2007 elections.

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