Commission on Women calls upon Media to stop negative portrayal of women

December 8, 2010, Manila – Listeners of various radio stations brought to the Philippine Commission on Women’s (PCW) attention the “demeaning remarks” of several AM and FM radio station disc jockeys (DJs) and announcers. Remarks range from various women stereotypes, low regard for household helpers, and jokes which are “discriminatory or derogatory to women.”

The “Tiramid” parody of Charice Pempengco and Iyaz’ “Pyramid” made by 93.9 iFM DJs Pakito Jones and Sir Rex Kantatero caused the Visayan Forum and Samahan at Ugnayan ng Manggagawang Pantahanan sa Pilipinas (SUMAPI) to react negatively to the “degrading song remarks” directed to women household workers portrayed as sex objects. Visayan Forum and SUMAPI are devoted to the promotion of domestic workers’ welfare and rights. The parody was broadcasted over the “Kamote Club” program, iFM facebook fan page, YouTube, and other websites.

In another incident, 91.5 Energy FM DJ was reported to repeat jokes saying the top ways to become famous were to win boxing championships in eight weight categories, massacre 57 people in one go, and marry Mrs. Dionisia Pacquiao more popularly known as “Mommy D.”

Similarly, DZIQ 990 Radyo Inquirer announcer Jay Sonza was heard over the “Tapatan” program saying senior single women or “mga matandang dalaga” share a set of typical characteristics. Sonza said a “matandang dalaga” like Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is hard-headed and stubborn. He later apologized on air for mistaking De Lima as such but did not express regret for his comments.

PCW Executive Director Emmeline Verzosa said the reports came in at the right time as the country commemorates this year’s 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) with the theme “Magna Carta ni PiNay: Gawing Tunay! Karahasan sa Kababaihan, Wakasan!” She said radio stations are accountable for allowing the broadcast of “sexist and violence provoking remarks” which leaves the impression that they condone the DJs’ and announcers’ behavior, and portrayal of women as sex objects and subjects of ridicule.

“Negative portrayal of women and other gender issues have abounded the local media for a long time. Now we are ready to make necessary actions as Section 16 of the Magna Carta of Women mandates for the “Non-discriminatory and Non-derogatory Portrayal of Women in Media and Film,” Verzosa said.

In line with this, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agencies in cooperation with PCW, Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), and Gender Equality Committee is spearheading the “Media and Gender Equality” forum today from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the 4th Floor Social Hall, Mabini Building, Malacañang, Manila. Media practitioners, people from government and non-government organizations, and Communication students of various colleges and universities are expected to attend the event.

“Broadcasting is a powerful medium in shaping the country’s cultural, social and economic growth and development. It is imperative for broadcast practitioners to uphold responsibility at all times. PCW remains steadfast in its position to oppose any efforts of ridiculing women and perpetuating violence,” Verzosa said.