Thoughts on PTV News’ shakeup

Last June 28, PTV decided to update its on-air identity, reflecting a renewed thrust as a public service station following in the footsteps of foreign counterparts BBC, NHK, CGTN, among others. 

Days later, Kathy San Gabriel and other staff were abruptly dismissed from the network and was never given the chance to bid farewell on-air. It was also during this time reports on alleged corruption over at PTV started to surface. (Check Snow Badua’s Facebook page.)

And on a surprising move, PTV decided to rebrand its newscasts formerly under the uniformed brand PTV News. These are:

  • Sentro Balita, anchored by Alex Santos and Angelique Lazo, who was recently narrating the Para sa Bayan documentary series narrating PTV’s history since 1974 (Princess Habiba Sarip-Paudac is now station manager of Salaam TV)
  • Ulat Bayan, anchored by Aljo Bendijo and Katherine Vital
  • PTV News Headlines, anchored by Charms Espina and Richmond Cruz

This may confuse viewers for quite some time who are already quite accustomed to the PTV News brand. In my opinion, PTV should have settled in reviving the Teledyaryo brand in use since 2001 during the Arroyo years and survived the first 2 years of Noynoy Aquino’s administration. [A common problem for PTV is whenever there is a change of administration, there will be a change in branding.]

Lastly, PTV News must strive to avoid to being perceived as a lapdog of any sitting president and promote itself as a credible source to an audience quite exasperated with mainstream media. 

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The People’s Broadcasting Corporation under the Duterte administration


(Excerpt from the State of the Nation Address. Credits: Presidential Communications)

One of the key points of President Rodrigo Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) is the creation of a new public broadcasting company which shall adhere to, among other things, modern international standards, and a truly independent broadcasting network.
We have discussed in the past the efforts of the new administration to address the woes of PTV 4 and how Presidential Communications Sec. Martin Andanar intends to model PTV to that of the Australian, British, American, and Canadian public broadcasters.

The present set-up of our public broadcasting goes like this:

  • The People’s Television Network (PTNI) which was established in 1986 and formalized in 1992 through Republic Act 7306
  • The Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) which was already existing and since 1933 and operates at present Radyo ng Bayan, Sports Radio, Radyo Magasin, Business Radio, and regional stations

Within 26 days, we have seen progress, albeit a few. Let us enumerate:

  • The courtesy resignation of the entire board of directors, including GM Albert Bocobo, a holdover of the past administration. The resignation came in such a bad timing, as he was severely criticized by Bitag Live host Ben Tulfo over some statements which make it appear that Sec. Andanar “doesn’t know how to do his job”. After the said resignation, former TV5 executive Dino Apolonio was named new GM manager. Not much is heard about him, but thanks to research it has been revealed he had some experience in the United States. (It was previously stated that Charie Villa was being considered for the job though it was later retracted.) It was also revealed in the same statement that PTV is planning to install digital transmitters in Baguio, Naga, Iloilo, Cebu, Cotabato, and Davao.
  • News programs were rebranded to simply PTV News, with a cleaner and smoother delivery of news. Its morning show was also renamed as Good Morning Pilipinas, as its previous title was a reminder to former president Noynoy Aquino’s inaugural speech (kayo ang boss ko, hence the program Good Morning Boss).
  • Its audio and video feed improved, so its streaming.
  • Representatives from the BBC are set to visit the facilities of PBS and PTV

Now with the recent SONA, it has been revealed that the new administration is planning to do more than just that.

He called on Congress to pass a law to create the People’s Broadcasting Corporation, merging the two entities into one, as well as the creation of specialty channels for the Lumad and Muslim communities and setting up of regional facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao. To quote the full text:

“To better manage public information, a law should be passed – I’m addressing Congress– to create the People’s Broadcasting Corporation, replacing PTV-4, the government-run TV station, which now aims to replicate international government broadcasting networks. Teams from these international news agencies — I’d like to mention those interested BBC — are set to visit the country soon to train people from government-run channels to observe. Ito ang gusto ko — tutal pera naman ng tao — to observe editorial independence through innovative programs and intelligent treatment and analysis of news reports, as well as developments of national and international significance.

The government’s Bureau of Broadcast Services, better known as the Radyo ng Bayan, shall undergo upgrading to make it financially viable and dependable for accurate and independent, and enlightening news and commentary. Radyo ng Bayan will be integrated with the PBC.

As we are presently setting up a Presidential Communications Satellite Office in Davao City, PBC will also put up broadcast hubs in the Visayas and Mindanao. Davao City will also be the first site of the first Muslim channel, to be called Salaam Television, and the first Lumad channel.”

This will be a daunting task for the government stations to keep up with its mandate to serve and inform the people, which is already being hounded by lack of funding, the nature of Philippine media, and the perception that it they are being used as propaganda tools for the sitting president.

How will they do that? It is up to them, but as observers who are passionate on how Filipino media evolves, these are the options we look forward to:

  • Create a constitutional commission to oversee operations and to ensure its mandate is being fulfilled, thus editorial independence is maintained
  • Include the PBC in the General Appropriations Act, charge a licence fee through electric bills (which is unfeasible due to an addition to people’s expenses and the Brits’ own opposition to such a license fee, expect GMA’s Felipe Gozon to block any move aimed to overhaul public broadcasting, shut up na lang siya)
  • Overhaul of the facilities and equipment, not to mention transmission

We look forward that such a law is passed, despite knowing that the administration has other matters to attend to. But focusing on the development of public broadcast is essential so that it may help the President to convey to the public on how to change this country, and also help us make informed and involved in matters concerning our future.

 

Finally! Pinansin na rin ang state media!

Pagkatapos umani ng iba’t ibang reaksyon ang mga komento ni President-elect Rodrigo Duterte ukol sa mga media killings noong May 31, 2016, na maging mitsa para manawagan ng boycott ang international organization na Reporters Without Borders sa PH media (na hindi sinunod ng KBP at NUJP), minabuti na lamang niya na idaan na lamang sa PTV 4 ang kanyang mga pahayag para makaiwas sa miscommunication, at dahil dito, lumaki bigla ang interes ng publiko sa istasyong ito na matagal nang hindi napagtutuunan ng pansin dahil sa kakulangan ng pondo at political will at dahil sa malakas na impluwensya ng mga pribadong media outlets gaya ng GMA-7, TV5, at ABS-CBN.

Bago tayo magpatuloy, ano nga ba ang PTV 4?

Ang PTV 4 o People’s Televsion Network ay ang pangunahing himpilang pantelebisyon na pag-aari ng pamahalaan, at ang pangunahing layunin nito ay ilapit ang pamahalaan sa mamamayan. Nagsimula itong magsahimpapawid noong 1974, dalawang taon matapos ipasara ni Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos ang ABS-CBN. Ginamit ng crony na si Roberto Benedicto (may-ari ng RPN 9 at IBC 13) ang channel 2 (at naging BBC 2), at ang channel 4 naman ay napasakamay ng gobyerno ang channel 4 at nakilala ito sa tawag na Government Television (GTV-4). Noong 1980, ito ay pinangalanang Maharlika Broadcasting System  (MBS) at nagsimula na ring magbroadcast sa color, pinakahuli sa 5 istasyon noon.

Noong kasagsagan ng People Power Revolution, ang compound nito sa Bohol Avenue (na ngayo’y headquarters ng ABS-CBN) ay nilusob ng mga rebeldeng sundalo at ang mga pasilidad nito ay ginamit ng oposisyon para himukin ang tao na sumama sa pag-aaklas laban sa pamahalaang Marcos, at nakilala na ito sa bansag na People’s Television. Matapos tumakas ang pamilya Marcos patungo sa Hawaii at pormal nang naluklok sa pwesto si Pangulong Corazon Aquino, isinoli sa mga Lopez ang channel 2, samantalang ang Channel 4 ay nanatili sa poder ng pamahalaan upang maging opisyal na istasyon ng pamahalaan.

Sa mga sumunod na taon, nakilala ang PTV sa mga pag-cover nito sa mga mahahalagang sporting events tulad ng Southeast Asian games at ng Olympics, at sa mga mahahalagang yugto sa ating kasaysayan gaya ng APEC Summit sa Subic Bay noong 1996. Naging mahalaga rin ang ginampanan nito para sa pagpapalawak ng kaalaman ng mga mag-aaral sa pamamagitan ng CONSTEL.

Noong 1992, sa panunungkulan ni Pangulong Cory Aquino naipasa ang Republic Act 7306 kung saan nailatag ang kanilang charter na noong 2013 ay inamyendahan ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino matapos malagdaan ang Republic Act 10390 kung saan pinahihintulutan na itong makipagsabayan sa mga naglalakihang private-owned media outlets (ABS-CBN, GMA 7, TV5) at binibigyan ito ng karagdagang P5 bilyong pondo.

Ngayon, sa kabila ng mga naibigay natin na profile kung ano ang PTV, bakit ngayon lang pinansin? Ito ay dahil sa persepsyon ng mamamayan na ito ay propaganda lamang ng pamahalaan dahil ang ilan sa mga programa nito ay naglalayon na bigyang kabatiran ang mga manonood sa mga programang isinusulong ng mamamayan, at sa lawak ng impluwensya ng tatlong private media firms ay nagiging masikip na ang labanan at napapagiwanan ang mga mas maliliit na istasyon.

At dahil sa desisyon ng president-elect Duterte na idaan na lamang sa PTV 4 ang kanyang mga pahayag, dumami bigla ang nagkainteres dito. Mabuti na lamang daw na may istasyon ang gobyerno na makakapagbalita ng maayos na di gaya ng mainstream media na kanilang binabatikos dahil sa animo’y “bias”.

Kamakailan lamang ay naitalaga sa Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), ang ahensya na may hawak sa PTV 4 na siya ring humahawak sa iba pang media assets ng pamahalaan ang broadcaster na si Martin Andanar. Agad na nailatag sa kanyang agenda na pagbutihin pa ang PTV 4 at maging kagaya ng BBC. Nasabi rin niya sa isang interview na:

“Sayang naman kasi. If you check out UK, may BBC [British Broadcasting Corp.]. Merong CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corp.] sa Canada, may PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] sa Amerika, may ABC [Australian Broadcasting Corp.] sa Australia, at ang gaganda ng kanilang public broadcasting service eh. Bakit tayo hindi? Bakit tayo, bulok?”

Para maging patas naman tayo, nailatag ng kasulukyang administrasyon ang mga pundasyon para sa isang epektibong medium para ilapit sa mamamayan ang pamahalaan, ngayong malapit na ang pagpapalit ng administrasyon, makakaasa na siguro ang marami na sawang-sawa na sa paulit-ulit na mga teleserye at puro tsismis at sensationalism na nakikita ng marami sa mainstream media tungo sa isang maayos na public broadcaster na siyang magtutuon ng pansin pagpapalawak ng impromasyon at magbibigay boses sa sambayanan.

Sana nga ay maging kahanay na tayo ng maraming bansa gaya ng Japan, Australia, UK,  Canada, atbp. na ang public broadcasters ang siyang pinagkakatiwalaan ng mamamayan.

Sa media man, at maging sa kabuuan, talaga ngang change is coming.