By Atty. Pachico A. Seares
Executive Director, Cebu Citizens-Press Council
In the year 2014, from August to October, the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), the national association of newspapers, held consultations with media groups in the cities of Bacolod, Davao, San Fernando in Pampanga, and General Santos to discuss “how press councils can serve their communities.”
In any one of the four cities, where the press council still had to be organized or had faltered, the forum infused new sense of purpose and fresh energy.
PPI, through then president Jesus Dureza and executive director Ariel Sebellino, advocated for the press council as “media’s way of showing its social responsibility to the public” and “proving that media do not need intervention from government.”
PPI’s 2014 project followed the earlier initiative of CMFR or Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility to help organize press councils.
The Cebu Citizens-Press Council, which CMFR helped organize in 2005, was pleased and honored to be a part of the PPI project with CCPC’s two managers as active participants in the four-city forums, sharing with colleagues in other places of the country the Cebu media experience in creating and nurturing a press council.
Thus, CCPC applauds the current efforts of PPI, through its president Rolando Estabillo and executive director Sebellino, to pursue the project started eight years ago.
CCPC has evolved, since its founding 17 years ago, into something more than just a complaints mechanism. CCPC has spoken out on proposed media-related bills, at times even initiating legislation; removing causes of irritants in media-news sources relations through dialogues and consultations; working with other media organizations on common concerns; and helping defend and promote a free but accountable media.
PPI’s 3 Media-Citizens Councils in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao