Gender Equality Committee launches guides for gender fair media

In a bid to address women’s issues and concerns in the news and entertainment media, the Gender Equality Committee, led by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), launched three documents called for by R.A 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) on March 22 in Quezon City. These are the Code of Ethics for Media, Gender Equality Guide and Guidelines to Protect Women from Discrimination in Media and Film. The gender equality guides are collectively called “Towards a Gender Fair Media.”

PCW Deputy Director for Management Services (2nd from left) together with other officials of the Gender Equality Committee for Media show the gender equality guides launched on March 22, 2013 in Quezon City. The guides which consist of (1) Guide to Protect Women from Discrimination in Media and Film, (2) Code of Ethics for Media, and (3) Gender Equality Guide, and collectively called “Towards a Gender Fair Media,” seeks to help make the Philippine media become better. Others in photo are (from left): Director Jose Carreon (Film Academy of the Philippines), Melinda Quintos-De Jesus (Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility), Undersecretary Lesley Jeanne Cordero (Presidential Communications Operations Office), Chairperson Eugenio Villareal (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board), Assistant Secretary Jess Anthony Yu (Presidential Communications Operations Office), Chairperson Ronald Ricketts (Optical Media Board), and Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba(National Telecommunications Commission).

“We hope that media practitioners, educators and students of communication courses, and other interested parties will use the guides to veer away from discriminatory practices that put women at a disadvantage,” PCW Deputy Director for Management Services Cecile B. Gutierrez said. She also cited the importance of upholding standards and ethics in journalism and broadcasting.

PCOO Secretary Sonny B. Coloma said Filipinos continue to witness ‘outright’ forms of women’s exploitation in billboards, television, movies, newspapers, magazines and social media networks. “We were born and raised by our mothers but why are there still women’s human rights violations?” Coloma asked. He added that government should work on raising the consciousness of the public on women’s rights and the ‘full enforcement and regulation’ of the MCW.

Section 16 of the MCW provides for a non-derogatory and non-discriminatory portrayal of women in media and film. It specifies that the state shall ensure allocation of space, airtime and resources, strengthen programming, production and image making that appropriately present women’s needs, issues and concerns in all forms of media, communication, information dissemination, and advertising.

PCOO Undersecretary Lesley Jeanne Cordero clarified that the documents are not imposed on media but rather serve as guides in reporting and writing stories that involve women in order to ‘uphold the dignity of women and highlight their contribution.’ The guides were subjected to consultations with the public, schools and media organizations in February of last year. It took more than a year for the GEC Core Technical Working Group to finalize the guides.

What PCW wants, Gutierrez said, is to see media networks and organizations help break stereotypical portrayals of women and men, promote gender equality and produce gender sensitive media content.

“Our end goal is to use a gender lens and human rights framework in education and communications to improve the status of women and ultimately, help make a better world,” Women’s Feature Service Executive Director and Gender Equality Committee (GEC) Consultant Olivia H. Tripon said.

Olivia H. Tripon, Women’s Feature Service Executive Director and the consultant for the development of “Towards a Gender Fair Media,” discusses the global and Philippine situationers of women in media.

Interested parties may request for copies of the guides to any GEC member agency at no cost.

The GEC is composed of the PCOO, PCW, National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Optical Media Board (OMB), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

Officials of GEC member agencies who attended the event are PCOO Assistant Secretary Jess Anthony Yu, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba, MTRCB Chairperson Eugenio Villareal, FAP Director Jose Carreon, OMB Chairperson Ronald Ricketts and CMFR Executive Director Melinda Quintos-De Jesus.