March 4, 2007
THE ILOCOS TIMES - NEWS

INEC media policy stirs noise

A policy that the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative has adopted in the conduct of media coverage of its activities has stirred noise from a local radio station.

The board’s committee on press relations adopted the guidelines in line with INEC’s desire to institute “order and professionalism” among those covering INEC activities.

The committee, composed of Directors Ernesto Abara, as chairman, with Directors Fr. Danilo Laeda, Reynaldo Lazo and Benigno Aquino as members, adopted the following guidelines stating among other things that:

-Every INEC press corps member will be issued an identification card which will be worn during coverage of INEC activities,

-INEC will allow only one representative from each media outlet to cover.

-Non- press corps members are required to present an authorization from their station heads before covering board sessions.

The cooperative earlier created the INEC press corps, composed of media representatives from print, radio and television, to regularly cover the coop’s activities.

A press corps is a group of journalists usually stationed in a beat assignment like the Capitol, the City Hall, the Police, the local Courts and other public offices where news and information could be regularly drawn for dissemination.

Lolita Reyes, a block timer of radio station dzJC, claimed the policy was a means of suppressing the media as it restraints them from covering the coop’s events.

A block timer, who is not a regular reporter, buys airtime from a radio station and hosts a program normally reserved for commentaries.

Reyes said the policy denies other media representatives who are non-press corps members from exercising their right to freely cover news events.

The station, where Reyes anchors a program, has fielded news reporter Nora Root as a representative to the INEC press corps.

“No one will stop me from covering INEC activities because I am a member of the press,” she said.

Abara, however, said that non-members of the press corps are merely required to go through the coop’s press relations office and secure a media accreditation pass before they are allowed to conduct interviews during board sessions.

“We are not prohibiting other media members from covering INEC events. We are merely asking them to follow guidelines in the conduct of coverage. Is it too much for the media to abide by a procedural rule?” he said.

Abara, a former radio station news director, added the committee merely wanted to institute order and professionalism in covering board sessions. Cristina Arzadon, PIA-Ilocos News Service

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