Gov’t and media groups agree to four-point consensus on safety measures in crises situations

Government and media groups have acceded to a four-point consensus on the proper observance of safety measures to ensure that media coverages do not hamper police or security operations in times of crisis situations.

In a media briefing in Malacanang, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma said the consensus was reached when he and other Malacanang officials recently conducted dialogues with major media organizations, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Council on Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).

One of the consensus, Coloma said, is that media practitioners and spectators will now be prohibited in the immediate vicinity of the crisis area. This is to ensure the safety of media members and spectators during crisis situations such as the recent hostage-taking incident at the Quirino Grandstand.

According to Coloma, members of the media should refrain from directly involving themselves or interfering in police operations such as during hostage negotiations which require professional training and professional background.

Another result of the dialogue, Coloma said, is the possibility of restraining the live coverage of an assault or actual troop movement.

Also generally agreed upon during the dialogue is the designation of a point person in the police organization or a senior government official to have some kind of a crisis communication coordination center, he added.

Coloma also said the government is not keen on supporting any legislated regulations as it would be against the policy of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

On the other hand, Coloma noted that media groups have been conducting on their own assessment and adopting improvements in their operating guidelines including disciplinary measures to prevent a repeat of the hostage-taking incident two weeks ago. (PCOO/PIA)

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