More of the Usual (Part 1)

Written on April 29, 2013 – 4:54 pm | by mediaandelections |

The CMFR Monitor of the News Media Coverage of the 2013 Campaign and Elections
Feb. 25 to March 10, 2013


Given the role of elections in the making of Philippine democracy, the media’s role as credible and critical sources of information and analysis during the election season has always demanded 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 the opportunity for improved and meaningful reporting and analysis the exercise offers to the Philippine media.

From Feb. 25 to March 10, CMFR monitored the major publications and television news programs for their election coverage. The newspapers covered were Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and The Philippine Star. CMFR monitored the following TV programs: 24 Oras (GMA-7), Aksyon (TV5), Newslife (PTV 4), Solar Network News (Solar News), and TV Patrol (ABS-CBN). CMFR is also monitoring the following public affairs programs and election specials for the project: Balwarte (TV5), Election 2013 (Solar News), Harapan 2013 (ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC), Hatol ng Bayan (PTV-4), Kampanyaserye (ANC), Kandidato 2013: Senador (GMA-7), news.PH (Solar News), and Reaksyon (TV5). 

In addition, CMFR is also reviewing the coverage by other newspapers, TV news and news websites as part of its regular media monitor.

To know more about the project and its findings, please visit http://www.cmfr-phil.org/mediaandelections.


Newspaper Analysis

The number of election-related reports in the three papers monitored during the period decreased as other issues took precedence in the daily coverage, such as the hostilities between members of the Malaysian police and the “Royal Sulu Sultanate Army” in Sabah and the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI from the papacy.

Out of the total 300 front page news reports from the three newspapers, only 45 were election-related (15 percent).

The Inquirer published a total of 17 election-related reports out of 96 front-page reports (17.7 percent), while the Bulletin had a total of 15 election-related front page reports out of 91 (16.5 percent). The Star’s election-related front page reports were 13 out of a total of 113 stories (11.5 percent).

Types of election-related reports

The three newspapers focused on the senatorial elections and candidates on the front page. Reports about candidates running for seats in the House of Representatives and local posts were mostly on the inside pages.

Front-page election-related reports (Bulletin) February 25 to March 10, 2013

Bulletin (Feb. 25-March 10, 2013)

 

Front-page election-related reports (Inquirer) February 25 to March 10, 2013

Inquirer (Feb. 25-March 10, 2013)

 

Front-page election-related reports (Star) February 25 to March 10, 2013

Star (Feb. 25-March 10, 2013)

 

News subjects

From February 25 to March 10, the country’s three biggest newspapers prominently covered candidates from both Team PNoy and the United Nationalist Alliance. Senatorial candidates running in minority parties such as Ang Kapatiran Party, Makabayan, and Democratic Party of the Philippines or running as independent bets were not given enough coverage by the papers.

The Bulletin’s frequent subjects were Sonny Angara (LDP), Chiz Escudero (IND), Alan Peter Cayetano (NP), Koko Pimentel (PDP-LB), Loren Legarda (NPC), and Cynthia Villar (NP). Their names were included in three reports during the monitoring period about the “Team Patay/Team Buhay” tarpaulin posted on the wall of San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City. In the case of Villar, her television statement that Filipino nurses need not be exceptional since most of them end up as room nurses once abroad resulted in a controversy. In a Feb. 23 episode of GMA News TV’s election forum Pagsubok ng mga Kandidato (Challenge of the Candidates), Villar answered a question about why she sided with the owners of nursing schools that the government wants to close down and not with the nursing students.

“Actually hindi naman kailangan ang nurse ay matapos ng BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) kasi itong ating mga nurses ay gusto lang nila maging room nurse, o sa Amerika o sa other countries, ay mag-aalaga lang sila. Hindi naman kailangan na ganoon sila kagaling,” Villar said. She later apologized for her comments.

Pimentel was a subject of the reports because of his request to the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic to reveal or disclose the source code to be used in the forthcoming polls.

Among the Star’s frequent news subjects were Miguel Zubiri and Nancy Binay for their views on such issues as the Sabah conflict and political dynasties.

Themes

The three papers had many reports that focused on the “horse race” aspect of the elections. A number of stories were on poll/survey results. The Bulletin had many personality-themed reports with a total of thirteen reports.

A number of Star stories addressed “development/policy issues” such as governance, charter change, and political dynasties.

Reports’ slants

Most reports were neutral. Out of the total 45 election-related front page reports, there were 27 neutral reports, of which 14 were positive, and 4 negative.

The Inquirer had 11 neutral reports; five were positively-slanted and one negatively-slanted. The Bulletin also had 11 neutral reports and five positively-slanted reports. The Star published six neutral stories; four were positively-slanted, and three negatively-slanted.

Online

Almost all the sites monitored posted the lists of official candidates for the Senate and party–list groups. The major news sites also educated readers the position or opinion of the candidates on various issues such as the Reproductive Health Law, the freedom of information bill, and political dynasties, as done in GMA News Online’s Mga Isyu ng Bayan (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/eleksyon2013/isyungbayan). Information materials on what the voters need to know and what to do in the upcoming election were provided.

Website specials such as Inquirer.net’s portal provided not only news about the election but also  infographic guides to enable the public to learn more about  the election period, as well as instructions and on how to vote, and getting to know senatorial candidates.

– Alyssa Mae J. Balleta, Justine Marie F. Bernardo, Rose Ann I. Cardosa, Isabelle R. dela Cruz, Akiko John M. Domingo, Elvira R. Entusiasmo, Jennifer D.G. Hermosilla, Christine Mae T. Juan, Jenielyn P. Mallari, John Paul G. Marquez, Rowena A. Martin, Reina Beatriz P. Peralta, Reuben Andrew R. Razal, Jerica Z. Santos, Bryan L. Serrano, and Arriane Mae V. Tristan 

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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