PNP, media in Visayas form protocol on crisis coverage

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) and several media groups in the Western Visayas regions have agreed on the protocol to be observed by media when covering crisis situations.

The media protocol is the product of brainstorming sessions and workshops among journalists in Negros and Panay, and police and military officials in Region 6, that were initiated by regional police director, former PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao.

The police official said the hostage-taking incident in Manila last August 23, which left eight tourists from Hong Kong dead, exposed many glitches in PNP and media relations.

Pagdilao said the agreement between media and police in Western Visayas is the first of its kind among the 17 regional police offices in the country. It was held during Monday’s flag raising ceremony at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.

The media protocol includes: the setting up of a safety zone for media practitioners; discouraging media from directly communicating with hostage takers; restraints on live coverage, particularly on the movements of security forces; restraints on making analyses or comments on the demand of a hostage taker; and the designation of a crisis communication coordination center.

Pagdilao also spearheaded the conduct of seminar workshops among mayors and governors in Iloilo and Negros Occidental to provide them with the basic knowledge on handling crisis situations and organizing crisis management committees.

At the same time, he also took the initiative of training 50 police officers in Negros and Panay to be hostage negotiators and retraining existing police Special Weapons and Tactics units in the region. Anthony Vargas


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