Media workshop highlights the watchdog’s role in the aftermath of the disaster | Techy Kings

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The media’s role in acting as a “watchdog” after a natural disaster strikes a locality was the focus of a two-day consultation and interface workshop among local media practitioners held at the Metro Center Hotel last week.

Bohol, after suffering a strong tremor nine years ago and the recent devastation after Typhoon Odette swept across the province, was chosen as a pilot area for “Post-Disaster Accountability Journalism in the Philippines.”

Konfabet was a joint venture of Vera Files and International Media Support (IMS) in collaboration with the Center for Community Journalism and Development.

Andreas Sugar from IMS and Jesper Nywark from Danwatch spoke about responsible journalism (what it is and how it works).

A UN perspective on early post-disaster recovery was presented by Warren Ubongen, former UN-Habitat project manager for the reconstruction of Marawi.

Rosario Liquicia of Vera Files, Che Delos Reyes of IMS (Phils) and Red Batario of CCJD were on hand to conduct the after-liability pilot project.

The two-day consultation and workshop was attended by media practitioners including Jun Sepe of ABS CBN with Bohol media practitioners Rey Chiu of Phil Information Agency, Anthony Aniscal and Allen Doydora of Bohol Chronicle/DYRD, Leo Udtohan of GMA News, Weng Vallecer and Cesar Capangpangan of DYTR while Francis Bernard Batoy represented the Bohol Alliance of Non-Government Organization (BANGON-Bohol).

The group planned workshop among working journalists in Bohol next month.

ACCOUNTABILITY

JOURNALISM

Over the past five years, International Media Support (IMS) has developed the concept of Accountability Journalism (AJ) to address reporting gaps, particularly in the recovery and reconstruction phases following natural disasters. The goal is to promote accountability by enabling local media to act as a watchdog during the reconstruction phase.

The post-typhoon Odette situation in the Philippines provides a relevant context for the AJ project to gain acceptance and take root given the country’s vulnerability to natural hazards, particularly typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

While national and local media covered the disaster and its immediate aftermath, they have not reported much from the affected areas in recent months. It was clear that countless liability shops are waiting to be announced: the failure to rebuild schools and communities, moving to areas and buildings that affected people cannot afford, “no budget to rebuild”, etc.

As experienced elsewhere, good AJ can help inform people, manage their expectations and give affected communities a voice and hold authorities and relevant authorities to account. There are also larger dimensions that warrant coverage, including other disaster and climate risks, national disaster preparedness, and psychosocial support structures and mechanisms, among others.

The AJ project in the Philippines will initially be implemented as a pilot project that can then be scaled up and transformed into a long-term venture through the IMS country program. Its main implementing partner is Vera Files who will work closely with local and national media organizations such as the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), civil society groups and networks as well as relevant UN agencies and other international bodies.

The project aims to:

Promote and build the capacity of community journalists and news organizations for Accountability Journalism (AJ) after a disaster.

Strengthen ink between local and national media, civil society, relevant UN agencies and other monitoring groups using an ecosystem approach.

Produce responsibility journalism content for various news media platforms.

Paving the way for long-term AJ engagement through IMS country programs.

The Consultation and Interface Workshop on Building Media-CSO Coalition for Responsible Journalism in Bohol is the first phase of the Philippine project.

Implementing partners

VERA Files is a non-profit media organization founded by six female journalists in 2008 to focus on underreported issues. It began with the production of research-intensive, in-depth and impactful reports in multiple formats – text, photo, audio and video – and the training and mentoring of journalists.

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