Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Philippines Photo Critique

Photo 1 can be found here: One killed, 6 injured in Philippines squatters riot.
Photo 2 can be found here: China Sends Second Boat to Standoff with Philippines
Photo 3 can be found here: Philippines urges North Korea to be a 'better neighbor'
Photo 4 can be found here: Suspect held in Philippines bombings

The original plan was to find a video to critique, but I was unable to find a video in English or even one with subtitles.  I resorted to photos.  I found it interesting that photos do not have captions on Philippine News.

Photo 1:

This photo went with the story, "One killed, 6 injured in Philippines squatters riot."  To give a little background, a squatter, according to Google Dictionary, is "a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building or unused land."  This photo is demonstrating the police armed with shields.  The shields are covered in stone marks.  

Rubric for photo 1:

Considering that I felt the need to give a background of the photo, the topic is definitely suffering.  I personally felt that the overall theme of this picture is "control."  In my opinion, this picture is not news, it is showing the squatters who is the boss. It shows nothing but police ready for war and violence, which does not propose peaceful resolutions. The total score of this picture indicates war journalism.

Photo 2:

This photo accompanies the article, "China Sends Second Boat to Standoff with Philippines."  The photo is not a bad photo when taken away from the article, but when paired with the article it could be considered war journalism.

I think the scoring of this picture was perfect.  Even though it wouldn't look like war journalism if you just saw it in passing, when the intentions are reviewed, it's clear that it has some characteristics of war journalism.  The fact that the photo is so mocking is my main issue with it.

Photo 3:

This photo is all about Filipino patriotism.  Although I am not against being patriotic, I feel there is a time and place for it, and when telling another country what to do (as the title implies-- "Philippines urges North Korea to be a better neighbor) is when it turns into war journalism.

The photos on the Filipino website are all similarly photographed.  I thought that the message of this picture was a little clearer than the others, but what made this one war journalistic was the fact that the main subject was military officials and it is mocking Korea.

Photo 4:

After looking at so many similar photos on the news site, it was starting to get extremely redundant.  This photo is not good with the article next to it or without.  It's clearly war journalism, even before using the rubric.

Same thing: military officials, guns, a clear intent to kill; it's war journalism.

I truly think that if the photos were made more positive and if the photographers took a more peace journalistic outlook, the fire that burns between the Philippines and China and other countries they are "rivaling" would burn out.  The more sensationalized the photos, the more fuel on the fire.  It's the same concept with written and spoken reports.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Philippines Article Critique

The article can be found here: Tension With China High As Philippines Deploys 2 More Warships to Scarborough Shoal, Urges Other Countries to Support It.

Article from: Philippine News
The article was about the dispute between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal, a disputed island.  The Chinese name is Huangyan Island and the Philippine name is Panatag Shoal.  The article is basically a transcribed argument.  The first quote is from the Philippines saying why it is so important for the Philippines to have it and how terrible things will happen if China gets it.  The second quote is from China saying the exact opposite.  It goes on and on like this, ending in a completely unrelated last sentence that says a Chinese website was attacked by Filipino hackers in retaliation for attacks by Chinese hackers on a Filipino website.

This article is clearly flawed, all the way from the title, to the photo, to the last sentence.  I would not say that it's a totally sensationalized article, but it is definitely biased and has a definite "us versus them" tone.  It was written in a childish manner and the quotes were just back and forth banter between the two countries.  And over what? An island. It is clear to me that the issue is not actually the island, but a deeply ingrained bias that stems from historical wrongs.  

Peace Journalism in the Philippines

Photo from: Jon Slattery

The first top story on the Philippine News is "One killed, 6 injured in Philippines sqautters riot."  This pretty much sums up the Philippine News: full of sensationalism, blame, and bias.  To make sure that this was not just the tactics of one news website, but of all Filipino news websites, I checked a few other news sources.  It turned out that they were all very similar in how they reported news.  The one-sided approach was apparent when I read the tagline "Philippine News for Filipinos" (and that is exactly how they reported, as if no one but Filipinos were reading their news) on one website and the top headline "Aquino: These are our waters" on a third.  The search term "terrorism" came up with 9,580 results on one Philippine news site.

Needless to say, peace journalism is not practiced in the Philippines. Of course, there are articles that include peace journalistic writing, but overall, this is not the case.  The freedom of press is partly free, which is right in the middle of the scale, which includes "Free, Partly Free, and Not Free."  The sad part to me is that they have improved drastically in the past decade, but from what I read, it is far from peace journalism.  Considering that there was a "massacre" (CNN's words) in 2009 in which 52 people were killed, 32 of which were journalists, I can see how anything would be considered an improvement.  However, there is still a long way to go.  

One article in particular caught my attention.  It was called "Aquino urges media to shun negativism to boost tourism."  The article articulated the importance of keeping media outlets positive so tourists will consider traveling to the Philippines.  Aquino said, "if the media were more 'balanced' on their reporting, more foreign tourists would visit the country."  I was really excited to read the comments, but I think that the people who were commenting used slang so I was unable to translate most of it.  I did catch a few things, such as "You don't know what you're talking about.  The media is bound to tell the truth of what's really going on."  I was happy to read this article because it targeted exactly what we're talking about in Peace Journalism class.  Two problems, though: 1) His motive behind practicing peace journalism is not for the right reasons (but, whatever it takes, right?) 2) The article before this one was the one entitled "Aquino: These are our waters."

Overall, the news is very sensationalized, but I think they are taking steps in the right direction and are willing to change.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peace Proposal

Photo from: Google

Link Up for The Philippines

Katie Martino


The “Link Up for The Philippines” project is meant to tell the story behind individual Filipinos that gives them an emotional aspect that cannot be overlooked, even to people who are born and raised to be biased against them.   

Since “link parties” are popular in the blogosphere, the plan for this project is for Filipinos who have been hurt, whose family has been hurt, or who just have a story to tell about terrorism/anti-peace acts to create a blog.  The blog they create will tell their story in any way they want it to be told, and link their blog to linkupforthephilippines.blogspot.com, which will be the central point for all bloggers to posts their blog posts.  


1. Prevent terrorism in the Philippines.
2. Educate Filipinos (journalists and citizens).
3. Narrow the gap between people with a voice and “the voiceless.”


1. Focus groups. Gather 3 groups of 5-10 including: 

I. People who are willing to help
II. People who feel hopeless about peace resolutions 
III. People who have ideas about peaceful resolutions 
IV. People who don’t know much about peace journalism.  

Have these people share ideas about the link project.  This is a chance to gain knowledge and ideas that I may not have thought of on my own.  Having 3 different groups will ensure that all of possible ideas have been gathered.

2. 3, 2 hour training sessions. Gather groups of Filipino journalists who are willing to learn the aspects of peace journalism. Since one of the goals of this project is to educate Filipinos, this step is a main component.  The training sessions are not meant to make the journalists feel empowered by writing peacefully.

The training sessions will include the following:

I. Teach the 17 points of peace journalism. 
II. Teach journalists how to create a blog, if they do not know how already.  Since this project is solely based around the blogosphere, it is important for the journalists to know proper Internet etiquette.
III. Have each journalist write their own story in a peaceful way, using the 17 steps and post it on their blog.  This will give the journalists a chance to not only practice peace journalism, but practice using the blog.

3. Media exposure.  Propose the “Link Up for The Philippines” project to journalists and bloggers to see if they would be willing to do write ups for the project.

4. Social media.  Social media will target a younger audience and help the project go viral.  

I. “Link Up for The Philippines” is the main website focused around the project. 
II. Facebook.
III. Twitter.
IV. Pinterest.

5. Word of Mouth. Telling a friend who will tell another friend, etc.


For the link party: Particularly Filipinos and Chinese citizens who have been affected by terrorism/anti-peace acts who have:
I.  A story to tell 
II. A blog
For the journalists: The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP).

Photo from: NUJP

Timeline (in this order):

1. Create the website.  This step has already been completed. 
2. Create link party page.  Also completed. 
3. Begin focus groups. Nothing can be accomplished until everyone is on the same page.  Start with the focus groups and get ideas and input on the project. 
4. Update the website.  After focus groups have been conducted, more ideas will have surfaced and at this point, this site should be updated to include these ideas.  
5. Begin training sessions. Start training NUJP.  
6. Begin media exposure. Once journalists have been properly trained about peace journalism, they can then begin media exposure on the project.
7. Feature a journalist on Link Up for the Philippines. To gain more exposure for the project and capture people’s emotions, feature one of the best journalists (from the training sessions) stories on the website.
8. Begin using social media. Now that people have started linking up to the website, we have featured a story, and the website is fully functioning, it is time to begin telling people about it.  
9. Begin using word of mouth. Word of mouth can be used at this point to gain more exposure for the project.
10. Continue to update the website. Now that everything has been accomplished, it is important to continue to update the website so the project will continue to grow.


Since I have not completed this project thoroughly, I can only hypothesize the results.  The goal of the project was:  to prevent terrorism in the Philippines, educate Filipinos (journalists and citizens), and narrow the gap between people with a voice and “the voiceless,” so hopefully at this point in time, all of these things will be accomplished. 

How this has been accomplished:

1. Prevent terrorism in the Philippines:  by educating journalists in training sessions, allowing individuals to tell their story and have it heard, and spreading their word, people will no longer feel that they need to turn to violence to fix their problems.
2. Educate Filipinos (journalists and citizens): by holding training sessions and teaching journalists that it is possible to write in a peaceful manner, journalists in the Philippines will become educated.  At this point, their writing will be enhanced and in turn, educate their readers.
3. Narrow the gap between people with a voice and “the voiceless”: by allowing people to tell their stories and have it heard, “the voiceless” will be able to connect to the people who already have a voice, creating a relationship between the two.

The Philippines: An Overview

Photo from: Google

This may seem like paradise to some, but paradise is far from reality in the Philippines.  

The Philippines, a Pacific-Asian country, is inhabited by 96 million people and the press is partly free.  The Philippines was originally under Spanish rule for many centuries, then U.S. control in 1898, and finally, on July 4, 1946, won independence.  The government of the Philippines is republic. The capital is Manila and the country is comprised of 80 provinces and 120 chartered cities.  The legal system is a mix of civil, common, Islamic, and customary law.  The current president (the 15th president) is Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III (pictured below) and he has been president since June 30th 2010.  Next election: May 2016.
Photo from: Google

The economy of the Philippines is 47th largest in the world and the country uses "pesos" as their unit of currency.  The country went from being agriculturally based to becoming recently industrialized and "dependent on the services and manufacturing sector."  

Economy Statistics (GDP- purchasing power parity):

Photo from: Economy Watch

So far this year, there have been two murders of journalists and many attempts, and that's only written journalists.  There have also been radio journalist deaths as well.  In 2011, there were four deaths of journalists.  Communication in the Philippines can be broken into telephone, broadcast media, and Internet.  

Communication in the Philippines (click to enlarge):

Photo from: CIA.gov

Lastly, the Philippines biggest "rival" is China due to a dispute of sovereignty by both countries over Scarborough Reef and Spratly Islands.   The tension has slightly been eased over recent years, but, according to CIA.gov,  there is no official "code of conduct," so there are still many hidden and long-ingrained biases between the two countries.