The Political Economy of the News Media in the Philippines and the Framing of News Stories on the GPH-CNN Peace Process - 2016 revised version

This is an updated report, building on a version first published by NOREF in September 2015.

The peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the CNN (CPP-NPA-NDF) is “invisible”, with nothing going on worth reporting. As a result there is currently very little media coverage of the peace process and no background coverage. The Benigno Aquino government seems to have focused on negotiations with its other insurgency problem, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with which an agreement was reached in 2014. For this reason, Aquino had set aside talks with the CNN to concentrate on one group at a time.

Generally speaking, peace stories are not popular. Regular monitoring shows that ratings of current affairs programmes usually drop when the peace process is the featured topic. Why is this, and what can be done to amend it? This report argues that the following recommendations should be followed in order to raise the news value of the peace process, and to give it a push at the same time:

  • The GPH-CNN peace process should be jumpstarted.
  • Public opinion should be stirred up to support the resumption of the peace process.
  • The quantity and quality of peace process coverage should be upgraded.
  • The media should be encouraged to develop full-time peace process reporters.
  • A Centre for Peace Studies and Peace Journalism should be created.
  • News media should build a peace constituency of citizens.
  • Media reportage should link the peace process to basic survival issues.
  • Peace narratives should include background and contextualisation.
  • Peace reporting must highlight both processes and outcomes.
  • News media should always present the voices of marginalised groups.