Lucky 9! students’ file vol. 9


  1. Tonette A. |

Student 1 -Tonette A.
As part of the academic requirements in the graduate course Media 230 (UP-CMC)
Unedited by the blog administrator
Still on FG’s slew of libel suits: 6 counts of libel versus Bandera’s Mangubat, Laygo Dolor, Alcantara, Rivera (Ramon Tulfo’s column “Target ni Tulfo”)First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s move to slap libel suits against 43 (47?) journalists/ publishers, including Bandera’s Mangubat, Laygo Dolor, Rivera, Alcantara following publication of Mon Tulfo’s column is indeed outrageous. But in a sense it shouldn’t really come as a surprise knowing that the FG is very much capable of many outrageous actions, having been involved in many serious issues many of which are vaguely addressed. Of course, that is just my humble perception.
Now relevant to the libel suits, he claims that “he is a private individual thus not a fair game for media scrutiny”. Come on, even a 4th grader would find this logic screwed! Being a presidential spouse holding his own office (Office of the Fist Gentlemen) and with legitimate activities of public interest under this office how can he not be a public figure? It is clear that “acts of public men may lawfully be made the subject of comment and criticism by the public and the media”. Atty. Arroyo cannot suddenly disclaim that he is a private individual.
Tulfo’s rants about the FG being allegedly part of/privy about the Toh’s smuggling activities had dragged on for so long, and predictably, no clear light has been shed about this by the figures concerned. As a journalist, I think Tulfo must have felt to be of paramount concern his duty to the public, that the public has the right to know and hear opinions and mullings of media people like Tulfo who have better access to sensitive information which are otherwise hidden from the public. It is the media’s duty to expose wrongdoings in the government, herald the truth or at least be an aid in pursuit of truth and justice. It is just inevitable and unfortunate that being the publisher/editor of the paper, they would have to suffer the same torment as if they were the author.
I think it really boils down to Atty. Arroyo’s bullying tactics against the media and his being too thin-skinned. Actually he doesn’t have to be, unless of course there are skeletons to hide (or are they already dangling out of the closet?).
Jan 3, 7:18 AM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — student

  1. Student # 5 | Libel Case filed by FG Mike Arroyo against Ramon Tulfo
    By: Student #5
    Unedited by the Blog Administrator

For purposes of fulfilling the requirements of Media Ethics, UP College of Mass CommunicationHereunder are the excerpts of articles written by Ramon Tulfo in his column “On Target,” published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI). The following are subjects of libel case filed by the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo against Ramon Tulfo.January 14, 2006 (The Siblings Vicky and Tom Toh)“As a friend, I’ve told Mr. Arroyo about the activities of Vicky Toh and her brother, Tom Toh, at the Bureau of Customs. But he kept saying the reports about the Tohs were fabricated.”January 26, 2006 (‘Ang bayaw na hilaw’ ni Mike Arroyo)“I told Mike Arroyo, a close friend (I wonder if he still considers me a friend after this), about what customs people had told me about the Toh siblings. But FG, perhaps blinded by love (they say love is blind, don’t they?) would dismiss the reports.”March 23, 2006 (The new ‘masters’ at the piers)“But can you blame the CIDG for stalling in going after the Tohs? Somebody big loves them.”June 17, 2006 (Please leave out the innocent)“I can’t tell the source of the white paper, but I can guess. It probably came from a guy who I know once had a relationship with an employee of his. I know this guy very well, he’s a dirty player. He once hired a public relations firm to throw dirt at his political and personal enemies. Why he should deal with “size” is beyond me. He probably got it from one of his girlfriends.”August 3, 2006 (Mke Arroyo gets back at me for expose)“I know who’s behind the nonrenewal of our contract. First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo. I incurred the ire of the First Gentleman when I exposed the smuggling activities of Vicky Toh, his alleged girlfriend, and her brother.”In his articles, Ramon Tulfo has revealed smuggling activities of Vicky Toh and Tom Toh, which is a matter of public interest and public concern. Relevant to this issue, he cited unnamed sources from the Bureau of Customs. He never mentioned that FG Mike Arroyo protects the Toh siblings on their illegal activities. Rather, Tulfo insinuated that the First Gentleman has been blind and deaf to those issues, ignoring all the reports on the Toh’s smuggling activities, because he loves them. In his article, dated 3 August 2006, he wrote that Vicky Toh is the “alleged girlfriend” of FG. More so, the same write-up bluntly accused FG to have taken things against him by meddling and causing the non-renewal of his TV program on RPN9. Without directly pointing out an illicit affair between FG Mike Arroyo and Vicky Toh, Tulfo might had presumed that he was safe in his writings.While hinting at the supposed relationship between FG and Vicky Toh, Tulfo consistently mentioned that he is a close friend of FG, giving an impression that he is knowledgeable on the private or personal affairs of FG. Tulfo’s article dated 17 June 2006, did not mention any name, but the allegations stated therein conform with the media reports that came out in the past regarding the rumored affair of FG with Vicky Toh. With regard to this issue, it should be noted that Tulfo did not cite any source of information, except himself, by emphasizing that he is a close friend of FG.In this case, the first 3 elements of libel (defamation, publication and identification) are present. The fourth element which is malice or evil motive remains in question. Granted that Tulfo wrote the truth, under the general rule of libel, he could not use truth as a defense, since it remains actionable unless there is a good motive. Such good motive can only be established by Tulfo through invoking the ‘privileged communication.’ Apparently, FG Mike Arroyo is a public official, being the husband of the elected President of the country. Thus, writing on his romantic affairs is protected under the ‘qualified privileged communication.’ (However, in my opinion, the same does not free any journalist from any liability brought by his/her possible untruthful and irresponsible reports. In other words, a journalist cannot simply hide under the ‘qualified privileged communication.’). To establish that he made just and truthful reports which involved a public official, Tulfo has the burden to show the ‘proof of truth,’ specially since he wrote based on his personal knowledge on the romantic affairs of FG, not based on the qualified sources.Jan 3, 6:00 AM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — student

  1. Student 5 | ‘Imbestigador’ airs informal child custody battles
    By Jessica Hermosa (Student 5 Student 5 Student 5)

For J192 (MWX)
1 of 5 Blog Post Requirements
(unedited by blog administrator)
GMA 7’s Imbestigador committed an ethical violation last Dec. 30, 2006 when it featured informal child custody battles on its show. It violated the privacy of those involved for an issue that is not of public interest. It also irresponsibly handled the identities of the children involved.The program Imbestigador aired the complaints of 3 different couples (separate cases) whose relatives took their children away from them. The program showed the couples and their relatives exchanging heated words about which of them could take better care of the children. It also showed the uncensored faces of the children.A screen shot of the segment is available at
http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a378/jessica_d_hermosa/imbestigador.jpg
The Journalist’s Code of Ethics distributed by the Philippine Press Institute states that journalists should “refrain from writing reports which will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it”. It also states that journalists must “exercise caution in publishing names of minors and women involved in criminal cases.”The segment in Imbestigador adversely affects the reputation not only of the relatives who allegedly took the children away from their parents, but also affects the children’s privacy as well. The intrusion on their privacy is not justified because the matter is not of public concern anyway. If the treatment of the issue were different, like if their faces were pixilated and their names withheld, and if the laws and issues regarding child custody were discussed, then the segment could have been educational and valuable for public consumption. Instead, the way the story was treated seemed only to serve the purpose of glorifying the show as a rescuer of the oppressed.The airing of the children’s faces and the names of the people involved can not be justified by saying that the story was treated like any other crime story. No criminal or civil cases were filed, and even if that were so, children’s identities are supposed to be protected. A section of the KBP Radio Code also addresses this ethical issue stating that “complaints by individuals or legitimate groups may be allowed only on issues which affect the public welfare. No complaints on personal or private issues shall be allowed.” While the TV show cannot be penalized under KBP Radio Code standards, it doesn’t change the fact that the show committed ethical violations.Jan 2, 7:46 AM

  1. cj laxamana Mind Metamorphosis
    By: CJ (student # 3)
    (unedited by blog administrator)
    For purposes of fulfilling the requirements of Media Ethics and Law (M230)
    UP College of Mass Communication

Correct me if I am wrong but I think First Gentleman Mike Arroyo seems to be implying a solid message against our media. Filing libel suits and suing 43+ journalists, editors, publishers and more is his answer to all the media people who dare try to oppose him.As far as we know,the law of libel exists to protect one’s reputation. However, I’ve observed here in the Philippines that libel has been used by influential people (uso sa mga sosyal) to cast a chilling effect to/on their oppositions who try to scrutinize their every act. Obviously, this what has been done by the First Gentleman.Though Mr. Arroyo has the right to defend his dignity, honor and privacy, I guess he should also know that he is not a private and ordinary individual. (Haller!) After all, he’s the husband of the most powerful leader in our land, and even heads the Office of the First Gentleman that dwells to improve the lives of the poor and marginalized Filipinos (www.ops.gov.ph/jma), thus making his works and deeds directly involved to the interest, issues and concern of the public . With all these things, he is considered a public figure and a public official.And as a public figure and official, he should be ready to the critical eyes of the public, because when you are such, the right of privacy is reduced and of course the more the public would want to know your every move so that they would know if you’re fit for public office.For me, the story written by Concepcion Paez entitled “Will She Now Change?” is not libelous. Though she wrote that most people said that Mike Arroyo is the “problem” of the president because of his influence in governance and his perceived crookedness, I guess, this article is true and written without malice. (my reason why I wote such? Well, judging from the author’s sources, specific details, I think, the she painstakingly made a lot of research and effort before she could wrote such.The abuse of power by influential people sometimes becomes inevitable in our everyday life, most specifically, to media people. Though fear may reside in a media person’s heart, I believe, he should still be calmed. As Amado Macasaet of Malaya stated, “If a media person writes his stories in his best lights and is guided only by the perception of truth, he should not worry at all”…”He should get sound sleep if in his heart he knew that he did his job the way it should be done.”If FG Mike Arroyo is really implying a message against media, I guess then it’s about time that he reflects and thinks twice about his imposing actions. After all, it’s about time that he should be reminded that it is with the help of media that his wife was seated in power and that’s why he’s enjoying such privilege right now….Again, correct me if I am wrong, this is just my morphing thought.Dec 30, 10:03 AM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — The Land of Lawlessness

  1. M230 Stud |

This is just a trial because I got lost on how to blog here. Sorry! Happy Holidays Ma’am and everyone!Dec 29, 12:36 PM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — From a brave student

  1. tet

For the Course Media Law and Ethics (M230)
(Unedited by Blog Administrator)
By: Tet
Newsbreak is a publication which comes out fortnightly and it prides itself of being “the most credible news and current affairs magazine in the Philippines today.” Their funds mainly come from the Foundation for Independent and Responsible Media, which is supported by “people who believe in independent journalism.” Their main thrust is to provide “a better understanding of Philippine events” by featuring “in-depth stories, investigative reports, incisive analysis, as well as insider stuff that give a ringside view of the workings of people, politics, and power.” Their slogan is, “We make sense of the news.”
Considering that it is a relatively young publication which debuted only on January 24, 2001, they have managed to gain the respect of other prestigious publications both locally and internationally. They have also bagged a number of noteworthy recognitions from various respectable institutions here and abroad. However, despite their accomplishments, they have also come across a lot of challenges, one of which is the increasing libel lawsuits filed against them by prominent figures and public officials. One of these cases was filed by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo regarding an article entitled “More Properties?” published on Dec. 8, 2003 as part of their “Inside Track” section which is “an intelligencer of juicy political and business goings on.”
The said story cited that they gathered information that the Arroyos have “another real estate conduit” in California and that “at least five properties, outside San Francisco, are in the name of this alleged dummy.” It was a follow-up on their cover story regarding the undeclared properties of the Arroyos in San Francisco, California. Their sources were a prominent real-estate lawyer, a government official and the Office of the Secretary of State and the Department of Real Estate in California. The article also featured exact addresses and photos of the alleged Arroyo properties. According to them, these properties were supposedly given as gifts to the Arroyo’s “dummy,” which Newsbreak later on divulged as the nephew-in-law of the First Gentleman, by a man with an Israeli-sounding name and by a Filipino couple who were also into real estate, though they were not licensed real estate brokers.
Just recently, on December 14, 2006, Newsbreak issued a statement online regarding the Libel Suit of First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo versus Newsbreak. A day prior that, they received a tip that “the Manila prosecutor had issued a resolution” charging: Marites Danguilan Vitug, editor in chief, Glenda M. Gloria, managing editor, Ricky Carandang, former business editor, R.E. Otico, editorial consultant, Jose Dalisay, editorial consultant, and Booma Cruz, former contributing editor with libel in the case filed by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. In the resolution prepared by Fredy Gomez, assistant city prosecutor of Manila dated Nov. 13, 2006, they were said to have “meant and intended to convey false and malicious insinuations” against First Gentleman Arroyo and that they “imputed… a crime…” and that their story was “highly libelous and offensive and derogatory to the good name, character and reputation…of the First Gentleman.” It also declared that the story was “solely prepared, written, and published by the accused for no other purpose than to impeach and besmirch” the First Gentleman. Finally, the resolution pointed out that Newsbreak’s intent was to “expose” Mr. Arroyo to “public hatred, contempt and ridicule…” because they were “clearly bent in destroying his reputation.”
Newsbreak’s reply to the said resolution was: “The article was very transparent: we said these were leads and that we pursued them and stated our findings. Our cover story on the Arroyos’ undeclared properties in San Francisco provides proper context to this follow-up article…Clearly, our story is not libelous. It’s amazing that we’ve been singled out for prosecution. The message we’re getting is this: no matter how responsible journalists are, you can no longer seek protection in the law…It is quite unfortunate that the Manila prosecutor misunderstands the role of the press. Never in the course of our work do we write “solely to besmirch” the reputation of a person. Our foremost duty is to inform readers on issues that are vital to public interest. Mr. Arroyo is only one among many public figures we have written about.”
My personal take on all these is that, Newsbreak’s article in question did possess certain “libelous” elements. Strongest of which is identification. Understandably, “the First Couple” are the Arroyos. The “dummy” would have been harder to identify if not for the photographs and exact addresses of the properties in question, apart from the fact that they revealed him to be the First Gentleman’s nephew-in-law later on. A little research would reveal who he is. On the other hand, who says Newsbreak cannot raise questions regarding the said properties when the subjects of the article are public figures, Mrs. Arroyo herself holding the highest position in the Philippine government. The donors, who could be considered as individuals who have the right to privacy were never divulged. An “Israeli-sounding name” or “Filipino couple” would not actually point to a specific individual, or couple, for that matter.
The article could also be considered as having some degree of “malice” considering that the title itself though packaged as a question translates more as a statement. Following it with the lead question (read: statement)–“ARE THE FIRST COUPLE’S properties in California limited to the apartment and commercial buildings in San Francisco that they had registered in the name of LTA Realty, from 1992 to the present?”–encourages, even pushes the readers to question the First Couple’s credibility and moral ascendancy. The positioning of the said texts one after the other was certainly not coincidental. It was deliberate. The function of the positioning of the texts was obviously inciting controversy. The use of the words “suspicious,” “ incredulous” (even if it was really the word spoken by one of their sources) and “dubious” carry much baggage and could really be taken as statements utterly possessing a certain degree of “ridicule” and “contempt.” But then again, the matters in question are of public interest. These are issues significant to the Filipino people. This is the very reason government officials and employees are required to submit sworn Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) annually–so that the voting public will know that the officials they have put in power (given that, in actuality, they played the field clean) are living according to their means or they are in fact enjoying lives that are much more luxurious than they could afford. When President Macapagal-Arroyo ran for office, she (together with her family) has given up that right to be free of scrutiny, either by the public or the media. The statements made by Newsbreak, therefore, are privileged communication empowered by the fact that they are matters of public concern.
The most given element of libel present in the case at hand undoubtedly is publication. Yet, as I have stated, the “questionable properties” are matters of public concern and are therefore worthy of publication. Not to mention that, Newsbreak as it has boldly stated in their profile aspires “to become the most compelling and authoritative read in the news magazine market.” Such material should be expected from them.
Most importantly, the article was based on actual facts, their data were obtained and gathered from and through reliable sources, it was well-researched and to top it all, verified prior to its publication. It was not written in haste and Newsbreak cannot be accused of being irresponsible because the data they published were based on truth.
I, therefore, stand by Newsbreak’s statement that their story was not libelous. I would like to reiterate and emphasize that the subjects of the article are public figures, and just like any other public official (and they are not JUST like any other public officials, they’re the first couple for crying out loud!), their lives, more significantly their assets and liabilities (in any form) are subject to public scrutiny, and the media has the right to inform the public about these things. They First Couple should be transparent in declaring their financial status. Moreover, they should have the moral obligation to obtain properties based on legal terms.
IF ANYTHING, “MORE PROPERTIES?” WAS JUST AN HONEST YET BOLD INQUIRY, A MEANS TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PROBE AN ISSUE WHICH IS RELEVANT TO ALL OF US AND SHOULD, THEREFORE, BE ADDRESSED BY THE PEOPLE IN QUESTION. MOST SIGNIFICANTLY, IT INVOLVES THE PERSON WHO OCCUPIES THE HIGHEST POSITION IN THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT, THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE PRESENT AND FUTURE CONDITION OF OUR COUNTRY IN HER HANDS. IT IS BUT JUST FAIR THAT HER HANDS BE ENSURED CLEAN (AND THAT INVOLVES HER ENTIRE FAMILY).
IF THEY ARE NOT SUBJECT TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY, THEN NOBODY IS.
REFERENCES:
The NEWSBREAK Story retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=114
Born on the Wings of Revolt by Glenda M. Gloria retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=116
That Synergy Thing by Marites Dañguilan Vitug retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=115
STATEMENT: On the Libel Suit of First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo versus Newsbreak
Newsbreak Online, December 14, 2006 retrieved from:
http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?ID=1044
NEWSBREAK’S LIBEL CASES by Marites Danguilan-Vitug retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=154
Details of the Cases retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=155
More Properties?
(From Newsbreak, December 8, 2003) retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=966
San Francisco: The Arroyos’ Favorite City
(From Newsbreak, November 10, 2003) retrieved from: http://newsbreak.com.ph/newsbreak/story.asp?id=966
REVISED PENAL CODE: ACT NO. 3815
AN ACT REVISING THE PENAL CODE AND OTHER PENAL LAWS
(December 8, 1930) retrieved from:
chanrobles virtual law library
Dec 28, 3:49 PM

  1. hazel

Candies and Lawsuits
By: Student 6
For the completion of the course Media Law and Ethics (M230)
(Unedited by Blog Administrator)
(I write this entry tentatively. If it were a choice I’d skip it entirely. Baka mabasa pa ito ni FG pati ako makasuhan. Unlike him, I don’t have my own law firm.)I used to have this idea that the justice system we have in our country is much better than the US because we have less “senseless” cases. If I believe the movies and the novels I’ve read, I’d assume that it’s quite easy to sue someone in the US over the most trivial things. Here, it’s not that easy. People actually think a long while before going to court. Actually, if court can be avoided then all the better. Maybe it’s because people don’t want to spend money on lawyers or they just don’t understand the law very well…
But I digress.
On reading the Tribune articles which were, among others, the basis of one of FG Arroyo’s libel suits against 40+ journalists, I have to admit that I wondered if the first gentleman read the articles on a particularly bad morning. Maybe he was in such a foul mood that he couldn’t think straight. Di ba abogado sya? Di ba he owns his own law firm? I ask because personally, I thought the libel suit over the Tribune articles is purely a harrassment case to jolt the journalists into realizing that he’s someone they don’t want to mess with. Parang batang inagawan ng kendi, naghanap agad ng masusumbungan.
First of all, he’s a public figure (he’s the President’s wife, DUH!) Second of all, the newspaper just reported the information they got from Tatad (note the use of the words “allegedly” and “reportedly”). I’m not a lawyer nor a law student but if he was really pissed about the article couldn’t he have sued Tatad over something? The reporters noted him as their primary source. I think that would have made better sense to me. Why attack the messenger when you can get to the source of the message?
Or maybe we’re just taking the lawsuits too seriously. Maybe he noticed that a bunch of lawyers in his firm aren’t that busy and needed some work to do. Forty-three libel suits would keep them busy for sure. Or maybe (and more plausibly), he filed the cases not to win but just to let everyone know that he CAN file them.
Dec 16, 6:56 AM —

  1. student 12

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
By: Kristine Servando
(unedited by blog administrator)
I was expecting that the media would at least “bleep” out Nicole’s real name
during the broadcast of the reading of the Subic Rape Trial verdict. Sadly,
no such courtesy happened.
The next day, even broadsheets printed out her name. Today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, for example, ran a large photo of Nicole, hands trying to cover her face, but failing. Besides the glasses and
the hat, her features are discernible.
Even while the Subic Rape Trial was at its height, several tabloids and an online publication, although going by the pseudonym “Nicole”, published her MOTHER’S real name instead. Broadsheets also published her half-sister’s full name during her testimony. This information, of
course, is enough to identify the victim.
This is in violation of the Philippine Press Institute’s Expanded Code of Ethics wherein the identities of sexually abused victims “must NOT be printed, and details about their personal circumstances and identities must be withheld.” This is because of the social stigma attached to female rape victims, and the consequent shame and indignity she goes through. Nicole’s therapist, for example, said that, by not protecting her identity
and subjecting her to intense media scrutiny (wherein reporters disclose
things like genital descriptions during the medical examination or what was
on her panties), affects her psychosocially.
The journalist’s Code of Ethics also has a provision that asks
reporters to be cautious in publishing names of women involved in criminal
cases “so that they may not unjustly lose their standing in society.”
Under law, (Republic Act 8505, or the “Rape Victim Assistance and
Protection Act of 1998), Section 5 details protective measures for rape
victims including the non-disclosure of their identities and information to
the public.
Interestingly, however, the PPI Code of Ethics also states, “Disclosure
of the identities of victims of sexual abuse-but not their photographs-may
be allowed only in cases when the adult victim (above 18 years old) has
decided to file a case in court.” Nicole is an adult victim and she also
filed a case in court. Does this mean that the media CAN disclose her
identity? Or is it because a copy of this court decision will be available to the public eventually anyway, so why should we bother?
This still doesn’t make it ethical for writers to publish Nicole’s name,
or those of her immediate family. The case is a very high-profile one and
has generated a lot of hate and criticism for Nicole even from fellow
Filipinos as is. (see the Nicole Information Bureau Website) It is aggravating and damaging to her private reputation.
Journalists as a rule should not destroy private reputations unnecessarily
unless public interest justifies it. The public, supporters and critics
alike, did not NEED to know her name to validate the knowledge that she’d
been raped and wanted justice. The essentials, and the political significance of the case is not lost on anyone. Why not leave it at that?
Besides, what would the public want to do with her name (and
her family’s name) anyway? Ridicule and shame it even more?
Dec 6, 2:14 PM — [ Edit | Delete | Unapprove | Approve | Spam ] — Chief Justice Puno and the Eighth (additional notes as of 6pm)

  1. student 12 |

WHAT’S IN A NAME?
By: Kristine Servando
(unedited by blog administrator)
I was expecting that the media would at least “bleep” out Nicole’s real name during the broadcast of the reading of the Subic Rape Trial verdict.Sadly, no such courtesy happened. The next day, even broadsheets printed out her name. Today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer, for example, ran a large photo of Nicole, hands trying to cover her face, but failing. Besides the glasses and the hat, her features are discernible.Even while the Subic Rape Trial was at its height, several tabloids and an online publication, although going by the pseudonym “Nicole”, published her MOTHER’S real name instead. Broadsheets also published her half-sister’s full name, Anna Liza Franco during her testimony. This information, of course, is enough to identify the victim. This is in violation of the Philippine Press Institute’s Expanded Code of Ethics wherein the identities of sexually abused victims “must NOT be printed, and details about their personal circumstances and identities must be withheld.” This is because of the social stigma attached to female rape victims, and the consequent shame and indignity she goes through. Nicole’s therapist, for example, said that, by not protecting her identity and subjecting her to intense media scrutiny (wherein reporters disclose things like genital descriptions during the medical examination or what was on her panties), affects her psychosocially. The journalist’s Code of Ethics also has a provision that asks reporters to be cautious in publishing names of women involved in criminal cases “so that they may not unjustly lose their standing in society.”Under law, (Republic Act 8505, or the “Rape Victim Assistance and Protection Act of 1998), Section 5 details protective measures for rape victims including the non-disclosure of their identities and information to the public.Interestingly, however, the PPI Code of Ethics also states, “Disclosure of the identities of victims of sexual abuse-but not their photographs-may be allowed only in cases when the adult victim (above 18 years old) has decided to file a case in court.” Nicole is an adult victim and she also filed a case in court. Does this mean that the media CAN disclose her identity? And, a copy of this court decision will be available to the public eventually anyway.This still doesn’t make it ethical for writers to publish Nicole’s name, or those of her immediate family. The case is a very high-profile one and has generated a lot of hate and criticism for Nicole even from fellow Filipinos, which is aggravating and damaging to her private reputation. Journalists as a rule should not destroy private reputations unnecessarily unless public interest justifies it. The public, supporters and critics alike, did not NEED to know her name to validate the knowledge that she’d been raped and wanted justice. What would they want to do with her name (and her family’s name) anyway? Ridicule and shame it even more?Dec 6, 2:09 PM

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