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the police should set guidelines for hostage taking coverage, not media

September 1, 2010 4 comments

Palace wants media to have own guidelines on hostage crisis coverage

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang wants media to lay down their own guidelines on covering hostage crises instead of having the government impose prior restraint.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said media should know how to avoid endangering the safety of hostages.

“Our stand is that we should not restrain freedom of expression,” he said.

“We should keep in mind that we fought for freedom for us to express what’s on our minds in this country.”

Coloma said media practitioners should evaluate their coverage during Monday’s hostage crisis at Rizal Park in Manila where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.

source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=606530&publicationSubCategoryId=63

‘Media, not gov’t, should set coverage guidelines’

MANILA, Philippines – It is the media, not the government or the police, which should establish the guidelines on coverage of life-threatening incidents such as hostage-taking, an expert has advised.

“You never want to interfere with covering. But when you come up with voluntary guidelines that people agreed to and try honestly to adhere to, it’s much better than having a government say these are the guidelines, this is how you behave, this is what you do–that really becomes quite onerous,” said Bob Dietz, Program Coordinator for Asia of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), told ANC’s Top Story on Thursday.

The hostage drama started when dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus full of tourists in Manila in an attempt to get his job back.

Local and foreign journalists flocked to the Quirino Grandstand to cover the incident. Some were criticized for delivering the critical moments of the crisis.

“When we’re in a middle of a news coverage situation, we’re really going for the best that we can get, especially the people on the street–the cameramen, the producers, the soundmen at that level,” Dietz said.

Dietz, however, pointed out that people back in the newsroom should be the one to decide when to call the shots.

“What has to happen is back here, where there are cooler heads in the newsroom, sort of saying ‘that’s too much’, ‘let’s pull this back’, ‘get these people out of that position’,” Dietz said.

http://beta.abs-cbnnews.com/-depth/08/26/10/media-not-govt-should-set-coverage-guidelines

we think it is wrong that the government is asking media to set its own guidelines on media coverage of hostage crisis situations.

a hostage taking  is a matter of security and safety, it is a police and law enforcement matter, why is media being asked to develop the guidelines?  that is the reason why the police or the military is given the responsibility and the power to take over the whole situation for  resolution. among all government agencies, they are also the only group who has the arms, the technical skills and experience in resolving such matters peacefully. in other words, they are the ones who know what is needed and what is not needed to succeed in the resolution of the hostage taking situation.

media does not know anything about  such things, what media knows is how to set up the camera to get the best shot, what to say to the audience during the coverage to sustain interest and viewership to their media channel. what they were trained for is how to get the best camera shot possible for great tv or radio. their work  mostly has nothing to do with safety and security.

it does not make sense that the government is asking  media to develop the guidelines on matter they know nothing about.

the guidelines are meant to make sure the police has free and unhampered reign on the whole situation to be able to satisfactorily resolve the hostage crisis. the guidelines are there for the objective of the police successfully achieving their goal, not for media to do it’s job best. the goals of successfully resolving the hostage crisis and getting the best tv shot are separate and distinct, performed by two very different groups with one, the media  negatively affecting the other if they make a mistake.

the guidelines should come from the police, not the media. the police should develop guidelines just like the way they ask the government for new equipment, tools and training to help them become better at what they do and to succeed at achieving their goals.  the media guidelines is exactly the same thing as the police setting up a perimeter around the area where  the hostage taking is to prevent everyone else from interfering with their work.

one of the top key things the police want is control of the situation and that includes media coverage as that affects the hostage taker, the family and co-conspirators of the hostage taker, copycats and the public.

the thinking behind the malacanang direction is on the wrong places and comes from the wrong perspective. hostage talking guidelines is not about good media relations, it is about life and death.  media’s failure only results to lower tv ratings while the failure of the police results to death. there is no comparison at all.

we think malacanang’s media group, one secretary of whom used to work for abs-cbn,  is being given too much voice on this matter. it is all wrong.

~~mindscape landmark~~
carlo p arvisu

bus hostage bloodshed those accountable – mendoza, RMN (media), PNP, robredo, noynoy aquino

August 30, 2010 4 comments

rolando mendoza, mass murderer of innocent people, a criminal –  it is with this man that this bus hostage bloodshed  all began and it is with him where practically all of the accountabilities rest. nothing else matters, none of any of the reason he said on why he started the hostage taking is acceptable nor does it justify his actions.

the fact is rolando mendoza is a mass murderer of innocent people and he has brought shame and dishonor to himself, the PNP, hos country and to his family.

he is a policeman, with multiple awards but none of that counts now with this singular act of his as he not only committed a horrible crime, he committed a crime that he as a policeman is supposed to prevent.

his family displayed all the 17 awards he earned as a policeman on top of his coffin during his wake but none of those now mean anything and none of those the family can be proud of. the innocent people who are even foreigners had nothing to do with mendoza’s grievances, taking them as hostages and murdering them is simply an act of terror.

the ombudsman – inefficient and slow justice can kill .  while remote and down at the line of accountability for the bloodshed, we need to note the fact that there seem to be something very wrong in the way they conduct their business of dispensing  justice. there could be many more but the most obvious one is the very slow pace of cases being resolved by the ombudsman.

the PNP –  dismal operational failure, no saving grace at all. we all saw it one live tv, the PNP failed in their handling of the hostage drama. the hostage taking is a police matter, it is an incident they have the responsibility,  the power and the training to resolve the natter.

the PNP failed in strategic thinking, decision making, planning, execution, control and equipment.

  • they did not have the proper tools to break the window glasses of the bus.  they attempted in four different places but failed in all. the sledgehammer they used was not enough to break the glass.
  • they absolutely had no control on the whole situation – crowd control was dismal and media control was non-existent. hostage negotiations require complete focus and control from the authorities with  the hostage taker, something they did not have as media and other people  were able to get in touch with the hostage taker. moments after the hostage taker was killed, the public was allowed to go to the bus unhampered and uncontrolled.
  • we think it was correct to prevent gregorio, the brother of  the hostage taker from having further contact with the hostage taker and to be removed from the  place as he would have been a loose canon, but they have to both the effort to remove him from the place?  they made that decision while inside the police station but they were unable to do it effectively as according to mayor lim, the police did not have handcuffs to restrain gregorio. not being handcuffed allowed gregorio to run out to where media was and made a scandalous effort to delay his arrest by the police. it did not help that it appears the policemen and they were many did not seem to know how to restrain and remove 1 person from the scene. the handcuff finally came but that was after many minutes of live video showed the terror and drama of the arrest which not only the public saw but rolando the hostage tajer also saw through a tv inside the bus,
  • planning and execution of the bus assault was another dismal failure, it went beyond conedic, it was idiotic. they attempted 4 times in 4 different places and each one failed. they used a sledgehammer to break the glass in 3 different places but it was unable to break the glass.  it took them more than an hour to get inside the bus, very long for the hostage taker to make defensive moves inside the bus and more critically, a long time to get the hostage taker agitated, angry and in a panic mode.  they did not seem to think yhis through. what is even more astonishing is that media reported after the incident that the SWAT team did rehearse the assault at the back of the grandstand.  the rehearsal was not carried out to the actual and the resulting comedic effort  is what has hurt the PNP the most next to the death of many of the hostages.

media –  live radio interview with the hostage taker canceled the trust and put into doubt the police negotiator.  RMN radio was on the cellphone  with the hostage taker minutes before  the hostage taker saw his brother being arrested by the police and before he started to kill the hostages.  we think  this call did a lot of damage to the  efforts the negotiation  as it undermined the authority and credibility of the  hostage negotiator.

and yet if you listen to the interview, it was a non-consequential interview from an audience point of view.  the topic pursued by the radio interviewer was what the hostage will be doing next, a topic that is best left unsaid and for the hostage taker. in fact asking that question may have given the hostage taker a chance to think through his actions, plan better or worst if he did not have a plan yet, get him to think it through.

we think RMN acted very irresponsible if not violating laws like obstruction.

chilling audio recording of interview with media and hostage taker moments before hostages were shot ; view here :

http://wawam.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/audio-recording-of-interview-with-media-and-hostage-taker-moments-before-hostages-were-shot/

DILG chief robredo – failure  to manage and show leadership on actions and moves after the hostage crisis.  while the PNP is all to blame for the failed efforts during the hostage crisis, robredo is to be blamed for what happened, actually what did not happen after the hostage crisis.

the PNP us under DILG chief robredo, he should taken leadership in applying corrective measures after the crisis. the most obvious action would have been to suspend from their jobs all key officers involved in hostage crisis:

  • Director Leocadio Santiago who is head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO)
  • Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, director of the Manila Police District (MPD)  who  was the field commander during the hostage crisis
  • Chief Insp. Santiago Pascual  the SWAT leader who bungled the whole thing
  • All other leaders of the various teams who participated in the siege

aside from suspending the key personnel during the failed PNP efforts, robredo shuld have shown leadership in drawing up action plans for the near future.  a lot of the public’s dismay and anger over the government’s failure  during the hostage crisis would have been mollified had these things been done immediately, within a day or two after it happened. robredo’s inaction allowed the ill feelings to percolate.

days after the incident and in fact to this day, we do not see any leadership emerging on how to address the emotions and fix the situation. there is no one single person that we can really identify as to who is on top. this should have been robredo’s role being the top leader of the government agency to which the PNP belong to.

president noynoy aquino failed to show leadership,  calm down emotions and failed to provide  inspiration and direction  to get things done right. while aquino cannot be faulted for the failure of the PNP during the actual siege and bungled rescue, he like DILG chief robredo should take the blame for the actions after the incident. aquino’s failure may be much less than robredo, but both of them essentially were supposed to perform the same function.

however, not providing direction and inspiration for the government agencies and the nations is a failure that is solely’s aquino.  aquino seemed to be almost invisible during the whole time. if ever he was present his actions and words were of no significance and of very little weight.

we think this is the first real failure of the aquino administration.

bus hostage bloodbath aftermath – president aquino shows weak, invisible and minuscule leadership

August 26, 2010 2 comments

president noynoy aquino was not there at luneta when the hostage bloodbath occurred.  he was also not directly involved, not even remotely involved in the decisions made during the crisis.  and rightly so as he was the president or the chief executive of the country. the errors committed by the police during the whole thing is completely not his, BUT the actions and moves AFTER the incident is totally his.

and that is where we think aquino is failing – he has not done much in showing he is the top leader of this country. not only is he not doing much, whatever he is doing, he is doing too little of it.

add to that aquino makes additional mistakes like giving a smile during his visit to the bus and the press conference which are all unintentional and yes aquino is correct, it is being interpreted incorrectly. what it shows is that aquino at times forgets who he is and what he is to the country. while we recognize we all have unique quirks, aquino needs to understand he almost always cannot show his uniqueness as a  person but he needs to be always presidential because that is what he is.

while aquino not being the  police operational leader during the hostage crisis, we expect him to act presidential after the event. we think he has not shown decisive leadership after the fact. his actions have been largely invisible, minuscule and far too few that is appropriate for his position and  often stated campaign promise that he is the national leader who will lead this country to change.

we are measuring aquino’s presidency against actions taken after the hostage bloodbath, aquino is failing on this one by showing weak to no leadership.

what is the point of showing a picture of president aquino getting his first paycheck? a presidency of trivial pursuit?

August 5, 2010 Leave a comment

can someone please tell us what is the point of publishing this photo of president aquino getting his first paycheck?  what is the value of that picture? is that anything related to any national issue? what is the message? what is the gain? purpose? does it enhance the image of the presidency or the office of the president?

please help….

edwin lacierda should learn to shut up

August 5, 2010 2 comments

it is really hard to understand how edwin lacierda can make so many mistakes in his job as spokesperson for the aquino administration. lacierda has made the mistake, actually two mistakes of announcing policy statements to a particular media outlet, abs-cbn, what should have been announced to all. in effect, he gave abs-cbn two news scoops.

isn’t there a procedure that the aquino admin media bureau follow when it comes to policy announcements?

it is normal practice that whenever an important policy announcement is to be made, the media bureau is contacted and told about it, discussed thoroughly with them and then a plan is made out on how to announce it to the public. in fact, it should be common practice that the plan by which it will be announced to the public should be approved by the higher ups BEFORE  it is actually done. lacierda committed such errors simply because they do not plan things out.

basing it on what happened it appears these things are not being discussed and planned out in the aquino administration. the aquino admin’s media bureau and lacierda in particular seem to be acting on their own and doing things off the cuff.

it feels like the aquino admin media bureau and lacierda in particular do not understand that they do work for the most important and most powerful office in the country and that anything they do speaks of the kind of leadership the president of the country has.  lacierda’s actions and most specially his mistakes are not just his alone, it is also that of president aquino.

it is also possible that a large part of the problem is that lacierda thinks he and his role in the administration is independent of the office of the president and president acuino. as spokesperson, it means he is totally and always tied up to president aquino and the office of the president. as spokesperson, he really has no personality of his own.  he speaks because the office of the president has something to say. what he says is what the president says. these are not really not his owrds but that of  the president. if the office of the president has nothing to say, then he has nothing to say.  in other words, lacierda should learn to shut up.

this is very early in the aquino admin and the issues they are encountering are really minor ones plus they are in the honeymoon stage. as the aquino admin ages, they will need to tackle pretty huge issues and it scares the hell of us that lacierda will make a mistake in the future in handling these huge issues.

we think one more mistake from lacierda should merit him being fired from his job. lesson number 1 – shut up, lacierda.

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