18 Feb Local Media Given Additional Slots But Not Allowed to Bring Any Media Equipment at Mindanao Presidential Debate
After concerns of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club has reached the organizers of the Mindanao presidential debate regarding the limited slots given to local media for the said event, Comelec’s national media partner GMA-7 is giving more slots available for Mindanao journalists.
With the previous number slots given for local media- 5 slots for local editors and publishers and 5 slots for newspaper reporters as debate audience- now allotted 25 slots.
HOWEVER, local media was restricted not to bring any media equipment.
Mindanao Gold Star Daily editor and chief and Cagayan de Oro Press Club board member Herbie Gomez posted on February 16 an invitation letter from GMA-7. The said letter mentioned that there are now 25 seats reserved for the local media BUT are not allowed to bring “any type of coverage equipment” yet are only “free to tweet about the debate as it unfolds”. See the invitation letter sent by GMA-7 to Herbie Gomez below as posted on his Facebook account.
Details here…. Excerpts from the invite sent to me by GMA7 re presidential debate:
Dear Mr. Gomez:
As part of our Sebisyong Totoo on the upcoming National Elections 2016, GMA Network, in partnership with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, will hold the first Presidential Debate dubbed “PiliPinas Debates 2016.”
The event is scheduled on Sunday, February 21, 2016, at the Mini-Theater of Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City.
In line with this, we would like to invite a representative from your publication to serve as observer representing the local press sector. Your rep’s attendance as observer will require no COMELEC accreditation as he or she will serve as part of the muti-sectoral audience at the debate.
There will be a total of 25 seats reserved for local media observers who will be part of the live debate audience. Your representative, who will be part of the audience, will be asked to refrain from bringing any type of coverage equipment. The conduct of the debate may be disrupted if there is a free for all press coverage at the debate venue proper, with photographers, video and technical crews jockeying for position. However, your representative will be free to tweet about the debate as it unfolds.
The call time for the audience is 1:00 P.M.
Kindly confirm your attendance as part of the local media sector audience on or before February 18, Thursday.
Please note that over and above your observer slot at the debate hall venue, your publication is also welcome to send its reporters and photographers to cover the event. All covering media who have garnered proper COMELEC accreditation will be given access to the Media Center located right across the venue of the debate…
Said Media Center will have a simultaneous feed of the debate so members of the covering media may watch the proceedings live. Radio stations that need a simultaneous feed of the debate may also get their feed at the Media Center. The Media Center, which has a capacity of 300 people, has 100 electrical outlets ready for use of covering media.
Should there be any questions, feel free to contact me via _________ or email me at ____________.
Hoping for your immediate and positive response. Thank you very much.
One of the veteran photojournalists, Froilan Gallardo called this “limitation” a joke and that he would be useless inside the venue without his cameras.
“We cover because we need to capture how these candidates answer questions and address the issues,” he said.
We couldn’t agree more to what Gallardo said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called on the debate organizers earlier to ensure equal access for all media with a statement, “We agree with the Cagayan de Oro Press Club that the process of choosing who next to lead the country is so important that every opportunity available to journalists to be able to inform the broadest segment of the public must be optimized.”
Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City Mayor, has already threatened not to attend the said presidential debate if the local media will get discriminated “treated as second-class citizens in the press community.”
This Mindanao leg of the presidential debate 2016 will be held at the Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Comelec.