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article imageCitizen Journalism is Very Much Alive in the Philippines

By Leo Reyes     Jul 12, 2009 in Politics
Philippine media giant ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and its media affiliates are conducting weekly workshops for would-be Citizen Journalists who will cover the 2010 elections in the Philippines. Top journalist Maria Ressa leads the workshop.
The first automated national elections in the Philippines will be held in May 2010. Past elections in the country have been conducted by counting the votes for candidates manually, giving the enterprising candidates the opportunity to influence election officials to manipulate or even tamper with the election results.
Because of the election loophole, many losing candidates have been proclaimed winners without the mandate from the electorate. Candidates who have money can easily buy his way to a high political position in government.
With a new law recently passed by congress requiring the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to automate the 2010 elections, many cause-oriented groups and clean elections advocates have started to find ways and means to safeguard the votes come election time next year.
One of the more active groups that is in now in the forefront of the campaign to safeguard the votes of the electorate is media giant ABS-CBN Broadcasting Network and its media affiliates.
ABS-CBN News, with its top notch journalists Maria Ressa, a former CNN Bureau Chief and currently Senior Vice-President for News and Current Affairs together with seasoned Journalist and ABS-CBN senior officers Charie Villa and Glenda Gloria, recently launched ‘Boto Mo. I patrol Mo’ (BMPM) translated simply to mean ‘Protect and Report your Vote’.
The BMPB campaign is geared towards attaining honest and credible elections in the Philippines next year. And to realize this noble goal, the teams of Maria Ressa and Charie Villa, with the backing of media giant, ABS-CBN News Network, have started mobilizing thousands of people to register and become Citizen Journalists.
So far 15,000 would-be Citizen Journalists have applied and are participating in the on-going journalism workshops.
These Citizen Journalists will receive basic training in journalism to prepare them for their jobs as Citizen Patrollers.
ABS-CBN News reports:
Originally launched in the months before the 2007 elections, BMPM had its registered members taking pictures and videos using cell phones and digital cameras of perceived anomalies which were then sent to ABS-CBN. Messages sent to ABS-CBN were verified by its various news teams and many were aired in news programs like Magandang Umaga Bayan (today called Umagang Kay Ganda), TV Patrol World and Bandila.
In the revitalized BMPM, the top officials of ABS-CBN’s News and Current Affairs department will attempt to share with the “Boto Patrollers” the ABCs of reporting live and of getting the right details and facts necessary for news reports. Boto Patrollers will have the opportunity to learn the basics of citizen journalism from seasoned journalists like Ressa.
The thousands of Citizen Patrollers who have joined and are attending the workshop on the basics of journalism are made up of students, professionals and even senior citizens who believe in the power of media and Citizen journalism in effecting change in society.
Workshops for would-be Citizen Journalists are on-going in the cities of Davao and Cotabato in the Philippines. The workshops which are being conducted by seasoned journalists led by Maria Ressa will last until April 2010. Workshop participants will be deployed all over the country to report on the 2010 national elections.
More about Citizen journalism, Philippines, Maria ressa, Elections
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