Sunday, December 16, 2001

Promoting High Standards for Local Media

December 15, 2001

CAGAYAN de Oro City – One of the oldest press clubs in the country is re-thinking its role even as local journalists drafted a code of ethics for their 50-year-old news media organization.

A team of city-based journalists, together with an Australian media specialist, drafted a code of ethics that the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) hopes would strengthen the club and local journalism community.

The code will enable the COPC to more effectively promote professionalism among local journalists and give the club ‘‘teeth’’ against erring news media practitioners, said Allan Mediante, COPC president. He said the code seeks to encourage journalists to commit themselves to ‘‘honesty, fairness, independence and respect for the rights of others, as well as to high standards of professionalism in their work.’’

‘‘It’s something like the 10 Commandments for local journalists,’’ said former press club president Greg Borja.

The drafting of the code is part of an approximately P11-million program funded by the Australian government through the Philippines-Australia Governance Facility (PAGF). The one-year program is aimed at enhancing the values and honing the skills of local journalists.

COPC corporate secretary Jasper Uy said the Australian-backed program has two phases: the first phase entails what COPC calls “house-cleaning” while the second involves skills training for journalists.

‘‘We want to see a revitalized press club commissioning and funding research and investigative journalism work in the future,’’ he said.

Uy said the press club also plans to produce a manual for local journalists next year, acquire needed equipment, develop in-house trainers, and promote the manual, together with the approved code of ethics, to journalists in neighboring cities and provinces.

With former Australia-based broadcast journalist Judi Cooper, the proposed code was drafted by the club’s ethics committee and Project Management Team (PMT), a group created by the club’s board last year to oversee the implementation of the Australian-funded program.

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