I[eilledia and BeRofting Peace
Most efforts in the field ofjournalism education and training lie in the development of skills, skills in news gathering and reporting, or in other aspects of newspaper publishing and news program production. They deal with the how-to of the craft or trade. Universities and collegesprovide courses in these areas. With rapid changes in technolory, many areas of coverage require continuing review and adjustment. What is not so obvious is the need for journalists to keep up with the changing context of the news. Journalists need to acquire the necessarybackground ofevents they cover, to add to their fund of knowledge and information so that they can understand more fully why events have come to pass and the issues reflected in various developments of society This need is easily ignored by journalists and editors who are immersed in the daily news grind, whose objective is simply to try and get the facts straight and fast. The pace of news gathering and delivery can sideline the need for context and interpretation. News analysis is left only to a selected few. But it is our belief that every news account should involve the iournalist in thinking out the story and its meaning. When the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) was established in 1989, it carved out a special area of journalism training that would focus on the analysis and understanding of issues. In a period of political ferment in which the recovery of democratic institutions was taking place, it was obvious that journalists needed assistance to ground themselves quickly in the background of issues that figured in the events of the day. Its funding mandate allowed the Center to organize background briefings for journalists in the following areas: the findings of the Davide commission, the report of the council for conversion of the Military Bases, the Rp-US negotiations on military bases and electoral reform in 1992, among others.


Late in 1994, CMFR joined the efforts of a group which called itself Alliance for Peacecommunicators (APC),an informal collaboration with media-oriented NGos and individual journalists, including Ricardo Puno, Radio Veritas, Jesuits in Communication, Inc., and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. As journalists and communftators, members of the group agreed that the media had a role to play in the peace process' At the time, the government had launched a comprehensive program for national reconciliation, a news development that urged the group to explore the possibilities of developing "peacereporting" as a way of covering conflict and adversarial negotiations. While APC remained only a name, the work it started projected the importance of the national program for peace as well as the significance of the media coveragein promoting an environment favoring peace. In over a year, funding from government agencies enabled the APC to organize five seminar workshops to update journalists on the peace program of the Philippines, on NGO peaceefforts as well as discuss their difficulties in covering the peace process. journalists voiced their own aspirations In these sessions, willingness to do their part to cover those for peace and their aspects of the peace process that were ignored in mainstream media such as the civilian efforts to build up "peace zones." But "peace-reporting" was strange ground for most of them. There was no such beat to cover, for one thing; and it would take time to search out sources who would provide the community's perspective of peace. But, significantly, journalists as publishers, editors and reporters were ready to hear out the problem, to listen and to learn. The issue of how media should report acts of terrorism, negotiations or events in the field of combat has raised contentious debate within the journalistic community. The news agenda should be an independent process, seeking out the facts without external influence. And yet, journalists will be the first to admit that reporting can fan the flames of racial hatred and historic feuds. Worse, contending sides can use the media to conduct their war of words, the force of which can still result in hardening the will against agreements to lay the ground for peace. The character of news also drives journalists to limit their stories to those of conflict and calamity. Given a peace program, confrontation, their attention will pick up more on the adversarial on the collapse in negotiations, report the breakdown on clwell talks while ignoring the breakthroughs made toward agreement and consensus.

';i:;:. i&::;


A starting point for media training, this book acis on the readiness of the media to improve their own understanding of the issues of peace and the complex questions raised in the course of negotiations. The idea of the publication was conceived as one book. In the process of assigning chapters, a three-part volume began to take shape. The wealth of knowledge and experience of the writers were such as to require an expanded book. The richness of material demanded a division of tome. The hrst part (Book 1) is set apart for its singular point of view. President Corazon Aquino and President Fidel Ramos made extraordinary commitments to building peace. President Aquino established the PeaceCommission which pursued initiatives in a very difficult period of transition. President Ramos continued the process with enlarged mandates given to the National Unification Commission and later the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the PeaceProcess. Through the period of democratization, national leadership had recognizedthe deeply rooted causes of conflict as issues calling for resolution. Government did make a commitment to address the grievancesof so many in the populace. The mandate for peace involved tasks at many levels, programs involving multi-agency coordination and cooperation with non-government peaceworkers. The response of the government to the issues of conflict and peace involved both long- and short-term strategies. Book I is a record of that response. It reviews the process of establishing a comprehensive national program to build up peace on all the fronts where government troops have had to fight off their fellow Filipinos. It traces the thinking which governed the approach to negotiations for each insurgent or rebel group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front, the military rebel groups of Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) and the Young Officers Union (YOU) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The writer of this volume, Maria Lorenza Palm-Dalupan, is a political anthropologist by training. Taking a break from her studies at the University of Michigan in 1986, she was drawn to the challenge of democratization and political transformation in government work. During the Aquino Administration, she worked as Deputy Commissioner of the PeaceCommission. Later, during the Ramos term, she was Executive Director of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)Secretariat. The official record takes into account the problems and



<lifficulties in the process. It is a valuable reference for anyone wishing to undeistand the background of current issues that continue to hold back the attainment of peace. The second part (Book 2) pgovidesperspectives from the other side of the conflict with backgrounders on various areas of conflict. The material for this section scopesthe history of armed conflict in the country with material drawn from a broad landscape of issues and concerns. Book 2 takes the reader to the other side of the combat field or the negotiation table. It has been designed for quick content instruction on history and background of various insurgent armed organizations. The section also provides quick studies of the cultures of Islam, the lumads of Mindanao and the people of Cordilleras. We have heard many sources complain about the gaps in reporting or their difficulty with interviews when journalists come "cold" to the subject. This section might provide a helpful crash course for reporters assigned to the peace beat or the battle zone as well as for their editors. It is hoped that the material will enable journalists to contextualize arry news account involving negotiations for peace. The backgrounder should also help reporters process the continuous flow of information thatjournalists may find in seminars and conferences that focus on these complex themes. The chapters should facilitate their own search for news, their interviews and follow-up research. The Center tned to invrte writers who had first hand knowledge and experience of the subject to contribute to this part of the book. When these could not be available for deadlines, the Center synthesized published material or reprinted instructive pieces as in Chapter V on the Military. But given the breadth of the subject and the complexity of the issues, this volume does not claim to serve as a definitive piece. We hope that the different chapters will provide a useful introduction. The work of peace-building continues on different paths. We can take the reader only so far in the understanding of its complexity. The third part, (Book 3) takes the readers through practical problems of coverage. The discussions will help journalists, information officers and students think out the dilemmas of reporting. Quite often, the issues of peaceproject into another level


of conflict, with government information officers and the media on opposing sides. The need for confidentiality in certain aspects of negotiations or the secrecy required by military operations are in direct opposition to the need of the media to get the news fast. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers that will satisfy every concern. The articles in this section may raise more questions in the process. The attempt has been to identify certain principles which could guide the interaction. It is important to try and understand what each side needs to do. To produce this part, the Center has relied on journalists and academics who are in a position to review the issues of coverage. Some writers have taken positions which others may disagreewith. In the difficult situations taken up, there may not be one definitive argument. But journalists as well as government officials will find that the discussion of these issues involve larger perspectives than their own single point of view. The Center acknowledges with appreciation and gratitude the funding provided by OPAPPwhich has made this publication possible. We thank all the writers for sharing the burden of continuing education for Philippine journalists. Lorna KalawTirol copy-edited the manuscripts. CMFR staff Alicor Panao and Evelyn Katigbak worked as writer/project coordinator and research assistant, respectively. Alma Evangelista and Gabby Reinoso of the OPAPPjoined early discussions on the production of this publication and provided perspective on the intricacies of peace-building from within the government bureaucracy. Despite the shortcomings of this publication, we are confident that the book will prove useful to journalists as well as to information officers of government. It reflects the belief that the media can be part of the process without losing their autonomy. A new millenium suggests some re-tooling for the work ofjournalism. Coverageof change processesmay require different approaches in news gathering and reporting. The search for peace in different parts of the world provide a rich field for the study of media's role in making the paths of peace more accessible to the human community. We can only hope that this book contributes to our own search for peace in the Philippines.


Meilia'sBole inrheGreati0n0l otPeaGG aGultute
by Melinda Quintos de Jesus
Commission. Thispaper tuasuittenfor NationalCentennial It is published with minorreuisions. Introduction Like the proverbial bad penny, the subject of the media keeps cropping up in discussions about other concerns. In the summit-conferences or roundtable meetings organized to discuss various national problems the talk inevitably touches on the role of the meclia. Public perception seesmedia as a major factor in the course of public events, whether as a help or hindrance' an ally or an enemy. Unfortunately, there is usually scant understanding of the character of the media, especially the news media' There is little knowledge about how the public reacts to news, There is also little appreciation for the sensitivity of a free press about having a role to play - unless it is the service of simply delivering the news. But vghetherthe media like it or not, their presenceis a pervasive one, their reach extensive, if not universal. Clearly, there is a basis for presuming their influence and impact. In examining the role of the media in the formation of a culture of peace, this paper limits its scope to the news media, which is my area of experience and concern. The discussion will include some basic concepts about how the media work; and, since government has undertaken a comprehensive peace program, how policy is made. By news media, we refer to newspapers and magazines, to radio and television news programs.


t Models of newsmaking


Academics provide us with normative concepts for news. Discussed in the book, Media & Public Policy, edited by RobertJ. Spitzer, journalistic practice validates these models, although journalists at work may not be conscious of the norm. All references in this section are cited from the same book. The most accepted is the mirror model which regards *news'as merely a reflection of the reality out there. The media simply "tell it like it is." While there are standards or criteria which determine what gets into the news, this concept projects the journalist as a neutral and disinterested observer. Related to this model are those which see the media as "conduits" or information, as channels of news material (Graber, 1989.)The media simply provide the means of disseminating the news. Other terms, such as "neutral transmitter" indicate how media merely conduct the flow of events, programs, and ideas generated by others (Linslry, 1986). Similarly, the media act as a ufunnel regulating the flow of communication between policymakers and others in the political system." (Schattsneider, 1975). But the idea is the same. The media make up a neutral factor, not an activist element in the course of events. These models retain a truth about how the media work. Reporters depend on other sources or the news. They rely on "leads" provided by others. By and large, and in principle, the media do not invent the news. In this context, the media cannot promote or make peace, without other actors leading them toward those goals. Media as policy actor In contrast, more recent theory projects the media as an actor in the policymaking process, as playing a role in agenda setting. (Iyengar & Kinder, 1987) (Kingdon, 1984). The media may wield different kinds of effect. They educate the public. They facilitate the exchange of ideas arnong policy actors in or out of government. The media also organize the issues and project scenarios to prime the ground for public acceptance of certain policy options (Hawthorne, 19941. The media are not governed by just one framework. While reports and accounts may be merely reactive to what is happening out there, the resulting publicity and resonance of journalism exerts influence over the policy agenda.


The crlteria

for news

Whatever the model, news selection takes place. The selection involves standards of newsworthiness. These determine what is included in the minor reflection, in the funnel transmission, in the material that media channels carry out to the I public. Sean MacBride in his Many Voices, One World (1980) cited the criteria for news most commonly mentioned: "timeliness;o uwide interest;' uout-of-the-ordinary or out-of-the-norm ;" and finally the element of "conflict.' News coverage is also cued by events and tied to specific and isolated occurrences, rather than long-term processes. Driven by events, journalism often misses out on the signs of crisis or the context of controversy. Thus, the famine gets reported, but not the causes, at least until the famine actually occurs. The floods are reported, but not the deforestation and erosion which create the conditions for flooding. The simmering ferment leading to war may escape notice, precluding the declaration of war. Inevitably, the possibilities of peace fall out of the news. Peacemaking is a process that is difficult to track as events. It is in the character of the news that the media choose stories of conflict, of confrontation, of collapse in peace talks, of calamity. As someone put it, the bias is for bad news. Such an orientation does not favor peace. This is the reality that we have to come to terms with in asking the media to play a role. To play a positive role in building a culture of peace, the media would need to re-orient their approach to news, and journalists need to re-invent a framework for journalism so that news about consensus, about compromise, about conflict avoidance and alternatives to war and violence become as newsworthy in the eyes of the press as the news from the battlefield. A media sensitive to the issues of peace provides a new public consciousness which may make people more alert to the opportunities for peaceful settlement of conflict. Of course, media make up only one aspect of culture. Other institutions should be just as active in promoting the values that uphold a culture of peace. Information policy for peace

It might aldo help at this point to review some of the concepts about policymaking and the relation between media and policy formation. We can learn about policy by looking for textbook cases of an orderly activity which proceeds according to chronological



sequence, from identifying the problem, formulating a solution' adopting a policy, impllmenting it and then evaluating the policy (BoiqueZ, 1993i iLinit y, 1986). These activities dep91d on the of necessary information and the establishment of Iualiuititv common references for all policy actors. In open and democratic systems, policymalring is often .garbage-can modelo projects the fluidity of the less orderly. The various constituencies and advocacy groups exertprocess, with ing influence in a struggle of ideas and interests. (Borquez, 19931 Relatlonship polieymakers between the preaa' pollttcal actors and

The prevailing view among journalistic communities in democratic systems view the prCss, on the one hand, and the political actois/policymakers, bn the other, as having no relaiionship, other ihan the adversarial interaction. The news media in the ehilippines have been quick to interpret any effortto engage them in a partnership as an encroachment on the indepenEei". and autonomy of the press. In these cases, the media are sensitive about being askedto serve as the mouthpiece for official messages. Thus, the usual media reaction to the call for roleplaying is [o say "You do your thing, we do ours." A contrasting theory perceives a symbiotic-relationship governing the interaition between the press and political actors. Lnd in riility, the most independent-minded media enters in a relationship as reporter dealing with source. Despite the autonomy of ltre media, journalists and public officials are mutually dependent on one another in the performance of their tasks. Go*'ernment offrcials need the media so the public can know about their work. And the press cannot find news or stories without sources. Quite often, these sources are in government' What the news hold The news holds symbols and stereotypes, ideas an-d images projected in the pubfic forum and in the public Pi"d' These inaicite the climatebf opinion which sums up widely accepted views about issues and events. The news also presents enduring 'lhere are prevailing perceptions values shared within a society. about how things are, about what works and what doesn't work in the current socio-political environment. Content analysis of the news reveals a lode of indicators for policymakers. They can review the news and find out how littli people know about the Social Reform Agelda, a major peace initiative of government. The review of the media can become an


effective tool for policymaking, using information as an instrumentwith which"to shape policy or implement programs. A significant portion of the news emanates from government. In a way, therefore, government plays a dominant role in setting the agenda through the nelirs. The coverage ofthe peace Process The coverage ofthe peace process presents an aspect of governance that has a continuing reality apart from the visible events. As framed by government, the promotion of peace is a comprehensive, complexand multi-faceted process. But the media track the process only through events. The emphasis on events owar'and ubattleonews, of bombexplains the predominance of ings and ambush attacks, of failed negotiations. One reason lies in the journalistic bias for bad news and the "out-of-norm.' War, despite its increasing experience all over the world, remains a condition that is considered abnormal. Peace however is a presumed condition. There are also few peace events, apart from the signing of peace accords that can be captured easily in the news. Can the media exert its influence in the creation of an environment more conducive to peacemaking? Because we presume its influence on public opinion, the answer must be yes. But it can only do so much. In a sense, both government and their counterparts on the other side of the conflict become the major actors. The media need to work with "sources" in these groups to push peace-oriented news. But given their own roles in the conflict, much of the news flowing from the government even as it relates to the peace process' are not necessarily peaceoriented, especially when the military become the primary source of news orlntelligence about peace-and-order in the countryside' The content analysis of the coverage of the peace process done by the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility for six months in 1994 s<amined reporting and commentary in l l newspapers. It focused on three themes identified in the Ramos administration's peace program: Peace and Order; Peace Talks and Government Reforms. The press liles demonstrate that on all the three themes, and this would probably hold for every aspect of the peace process, the media turn to government as their major source of news. In most of the "paths to peace" identified by the Ramos administration, government is the major initiator of activities. This suggests that government needs to refine thelr orientation toward the news so that they can establish information programs to make more interesting to the media signilicant breakthrough s in peacemaking.


tn:-fF"" Content analysis shows that the military of news about terrorist ., i" f"fr"la iemain a significant source not .; bombings in Tvlindanao' But these briefings do ;it..k* perspective, carrying little news about the rest incluae a civilian of Li tn" area, about schools or businEss, with- little.mention those displaced by to uting relief to victims of attack or to "irott" fn."" biiefings are military in focus and do not mirror the *ui. *ot" g"tt.tal condition of life in places under siege' in Because the peace program involves several agencies coordinate the informaits implementation, ttrese ai,'eniies must necessary tion cbmponents as part oI impiementation' This is as well as in public statements' for coherince in action At the same time, coverage of ongoing militant insurgency government as also work with other news sources at parity with however, government' $:-NPAiniti"tot" of news' As antagonists are irl-DF-CPp,the MNLF, MILF and Abu sayaf'or the RAM.-YoU either side to provide stimulus for peace,news, unless are "offif.ify is ready-to sign a peace agreement' While the negotiations to win public opinion to their i"i"g."", ir;;e als',ruse tlie media tend to play tb tfre media's nose for side. Such ,r"*" "otr"es conflict. Lesg vislble Peace advocates In But, ofcourse' there are other actors on the scene' service deliverthe philijpines, NGO peace advocates and other pio"ia" a different-perspective to ongoing "o11t:1'"^-* formation "i" Their stories include the criation of "pea-e zones," the for understanding of peace groups engaged .-ong thle commuiitie"' The'silsilah,n based in Zamboanga' that brings t"L" ift" p.Ut of inter-religious dialogue in a movement about their iole*rer Muslims and Chistians for mutual exchange is- a i"ittr" and beliefs . "PAZ" (Peace Advocates of Zamboanga) is developilg a peace program by wtriih C"ltr"ri" "rganization consolidatiig strong Muslim-Christian relations' to In the creation of a "peace-culture," such groups need This is an easy task' be able to access their news to the media' difficulty Their activities are process-oriented and media have programs i1-to news' But there are ways it"*i"S such long-term tnis. en-a it must Segrn with peace advocates building ;iJ;G alliance-networks with media. It is typical of media's "blind spot" that citizen and NGO Deace efforts receive so little attention as news' Such activities in the context of the strife that has afflicted ;;;;;;,;6;t"tty oiz^orbo^nga for so long. Peace efforts in ih" "o-*rrnities


these places exude the "oui-of-norm' condition, and as such deservbs to be reported. Indeed, the failure of the media to publicize these activiiies indicate how deeply imbedded the news culture is in the culture of conflict. The alliance for Peace communlcators: for peace a media experiment

The Alliance for PeaceCommunicators has remained only a name. But it stands for an effort on the part of some journalists to explore the possibilities for "peace news'" In over a year, since late 1994, the APC, a group ofjournalists and government information officers, had organizcd, with support froir some government agencies involved in the peace progt.ttt, five seminir workshops to update jou-rnalists on the as well as ire^i" program of government, on NGO peace efforts, io discuss their difficulties in covering the peace process' A concern echoing through the workshops touch on the lack ofcapable and credible spokespersons on the "peace processn especially when it involves the military ryd ot-!-er peaceand-ordir situations. Journalists also noted the dilemma of mixing media advocacy for peace and the business of news' In these sessions, journalists acknowledged their own aspirations for peace and their willingness to do their part to help pelcemaking. But "peace-reportind was strange groundfor most bf ttr.m. However,- they were ready to hear out the problem, to listen and to learn. These peace seminars generally gain ready attendance from journalists, presumably because of the high news value of peace-and-order issues and peace negotiations' It is clear, however, that the media can do a lot to improve their own understanding of the issues of peace and- of the complex questions raised in negotiations. The background of the Tripbli agieement, for example, is lost to a generation ofjournalists who were too young to remember when it was forged' The issues of peace are complex. There is no "peacenbeat, as such' Negotiations are conducted behind close doors. Working against a diadline, it is more easy to count the casualties and the dead bodies. Peace training for the media

There is a need then to develop short trainin$ courses which can instruct the media on the issues that are at the heart of social and armed conflicts in the country. In learning about these issues, they may come in touch with new sources who


may grve them a perspective apart ft'om the military and the insuigents or terrorists about what needs to be done' There is a need for reading material that will familiarize journalists about the different communities of Mindanao and the Cordilleras. There is a need for source books that will help lead journalists to other sources in the academe, in the NGOs, and in less visible government agencies, whose experience can help them understand the oprocess' that lies behind the event, the underlying terms that make conflict more understandable. At the very least, a level of competence which will ensure intelligent and accurate reporting can help reduce the war-mongering sensationalism which colors the reports of conflict in the field. Perhaps, a greater exposure will also develop a new sensi'newso about tivity among journalists, a greater interest in the communities healing themselves of the wounds of past wars' who rise above the hostilities which have set them apart. It will be a different kind ofjournalism; but the kind, perhaps, that is needed for a lasting culture of peace. If the news media are to play a role, then efforts must be to help them through a learning process. Press and politics made interact and their interaction shape both policies and programs for peace. That process must engage the resources of government who must beieady to share information and whose own orientation for peace must communicate its programs through an information component. That process must include the NGO advocates who must find the time to share their experience and to demonstrate their belief that there is much "peace news" that remains untold. The people and the medla In conclusion, that process must include the public who must prove that peace news and peace stories can sell newspapers as well as the news of disaster and of war.


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