Palace issues circular on gov’t adoption of gender equality guides for media

Government media policies should be gender fair and government programs should promote gender mainstreaming. This was the call of the P-Noy administration as it issued Memorandum Circular No. 48, on May 30, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., directing all concerned government agencies to adopt the Gender Equality Guidelines.

The guidelines, collectively called “Towards a Gender Fair Media,” were launched by the Gender Equality Committee (GEC) on March 22. They consist of three documents, namely: Code of Ethics for Media, Guidelines to Protect Women from Discrimination in Media and Film, and Gender Equality Guide.

“Towards a Gender Fair Media” outlined several ‘challenging’ roles for media practitioners. These include being on the look out for women’s stories, using gender fair language, breaking stereotypes in media portrayals, deliberately seeking out women experts as news sources and giving marginalized women a voice by telling their stories.

The circular cites Section 16, Chapter 4 of R.A 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, which mandates the State to formulate policies and programs for women’s advancement. It also states that, through strategic use of mass media, the consciousness of the general public in recognizing the dignity, role and contribution of women in the family, community and the society will be raised.

Agencies, according to the circular, may charge expenses related to implementation of the Guidelines to their gender and development (GAD) budget, which is at least five percent (5%) of the total agency budget. They may also utilize other available funds.

Meanwhile, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with private media corporations and organizations in March 2012 to develop positive images of women and men and eliminate stereotypes and discrimination. The MOU states that grantees of congressional broadcast franchise, such as ABS-CBN, TV5, GMA, UNTV, and IBC, shall protect women against discrimination in media portrayal and use gender sensitive language and images in television programs and films among others as part of their corporate social responsibility.

PCW and MTRCB are members of GEC. Other members are: Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), National Telecommunications Office (NTC), Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), Optical Media Board (OMB), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.