Of What to Ask, Say and Broadcast in Radio or TV

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By Art Tibaldo

Consumer Atbp.

Monday, May 5, 2014

BROADCASTING in the Philippines should reflect the hopes and dreams of a freedom loving people. This is what the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas’ (KBP) has laid out in its 2007 Broadcast Code. The code’s Preamble mentions and believes that broadcasting is a powerful medium in shaping our country's cultural, social and economic growth and development.

Because of its immediate and lasting impact on the public, the KBP of which I am a member since 2008 demands of its practitioners to have a high sense of responsibility, morality, fairness and honesty at all times. We believe that we have an obligation to uphold the properties and customs of civilized society, maintain the respect of the rights and sensitivities of all people.

As advocates, broadcasters are vested with a duty to preserve the honor and the sanctity of the family and home, protect the sacredness of individual dignity, and promote national unity.


The KBP has set various program standards for broadcast applications like News and Public Affairs, Analysis and Commentaries, Coverage Involving Children, Personal Attacks, Correcting Mistakes, Crime and Crisis Situations, Individual Rights, Political Propaganda, Public Complaints and Grievances, Personal Calls or Messages, Children’s Program and Welfare, Religion, Superstition and the Occult, Medical, Legal and Other Professional Advice, Music and Fund Raising among others that I will discuss in my succeeding columns.

For news and public affairs programs, it is the member station or KBP member’s aim to primarily inform the public on important current events and issues rather than merely to entertain. News shall be part of a station’s daily programming and according the set rule, no less than 30 minutes of daily programming should be devoted to news.

News reports shall be fair, factual, and objective. Receiving of bribes, gifts, privileges or any consideration to favor one side of a story, stop a story from airing , or put any person in either bad or favorable light is prohibited. Also, side comments expressing personal opinions while a news item is being reported or delivered are prohibited to prevent the listener from mistaking opinion for news.

When presented as part of a news program, editorials or commentaries must be identified as such and presented as distinct from news reports. Care must be taken in selecting news sources since the credibility of the news rests upon its sources. This requires an individual reporter to really investigate, study and verify information from his or her informants. The KBP broadcast code also states that only news that can be attributed to a source shall be aired. When a source cannot be identified by name, the reason for this should be made clear in the news report.

News sources must be clearly identified, except when confidentiality of the source was a condition for giving the information. Further, information provided by confidential sources may be aired only if it is in the public interest to do so. But, before airing information provided by a confidential source, an effort should first be made by the reporter to look for a source who can be identified or who can corroborate the information provided by the confidential source.

We know for a fact that many news releases coming from government and private entities were written to look more like a praise release. Press releases according the 2007 Broadcast Code may be used as news sources only after the station has verified that they come from an authentic source. In my practice as media relations or public information officer, I often include my email address or telephone number below my article so that editors can always verify and call me in case of clarification.

Suspects or fugitives from the law may be interviewed as news sources.

However, they should not be aided, abetted, or encouraged when in the act of planning or committing a crime, or be accompanied on their way to committing a crime.

Rumors or gossips shall not be aired in the guise of news. Using terms like “anonymous source”, "confidential source" or “unknown source” shall not justify the airing of rumors and gossips especially in news programs.

Also, unconfirmed reports shall not be aired unless there is an immediate and urgent need for the public to know about them, such as when the public needs to be warned of the possibility of an imminent danger. When such reports are aired, it must be emphasized that they are unconfirmed. An unconfirmed report must be verified as soon as possible. If an unconfirmed report is found to be false, an announcement or errata saying so must be made immediately.

If you are to be interviewed by members of the broadcast media, please take note that interviews must be presented in the proper context. Take note that replies of interviewees to questions must not be edited or editorialized in a way that would distort their intended meaning.

Selecting and phrasing of questions during an interview shall be the primary responsibility of the interviewer. Such questions must be determined primarily by the public interest to be served. When the interviewer is not free to choose his or her questions or the interviewee or source has imposed conditions on the conduct of the interview, this fact must be made clear to the public during the broadcast.

In the most extreme circumstances, when information being sought is vitally important to public interest or necessary to prevent profound harm, the use of hidden cameras or microphones and other similar techniques of news gathering and reporting may be resorted to.

But, before resorting to such techniques, conventional methods must first be exhausted. In all cases, the use of such techniques must conform to the law.

When materials obtained through such techniques are broadcast, this must be presented fairly, factually and in the proper context. The right to privacy must be observed and harm to the innocent avoided. To be continued. cnatelevision@gmail.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 06, 2014.


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