news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

FTT Bonus Edition: Joint Session on Martial Law at Batasan

The weekend is normally a light day for journalists.

But on Saturday, July 22, the House of Representatives and the Senate conducted a joint session to decide the fate of Martial Law in Mindanao. The unexpected event forced a select number of news organizations to go to work in the most unusual of circumstances.

While CNN Philippines, DZMM TeleRadyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel were able to allocate several hours’ worth of coverage, the same cannot be said for GMA News TV and PTV-4. Neither network came out prepared for this special event, and remained in true weekend mode with regular programming and a minimalist workforce.

As for News5, they opted to air the joint session online instead of traditional media. Finally, on the AM radio side, only DZBB, DZMM and DZXL covered this special occasion.

It is possible that the lack of participation of a few networks is due to their intensive preparations leading up to Monday’s SONA. After all, the latter event is by far the most important as far as they are concerned.

Still, Saturday’s joint session is just as important, because the decision regarding Martial Law could either make or break Mindanao. Too bad only a few networks were serious enough to comprehend.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Message to RTVM: Make the 11:00 A.M. Press Conference Mandatory

‘Mindanao Hour’ at Malacañang Palace has become a regular occurrence of late, with its frequent interruptions in programming becoming an annoyance to viewers. (Photo credit: Presidential Communications Operations Office)

The press conferences at Malacañang Palace have become a regular occurrence.

In the last few weeks, news networks cut their regularly scheduled programming short in order to air these press briefings live. But while they appear important to the average person, many do not appreciate Malacañang’s unexpected interruptions.

Most of these recent press conferences focus on the state of Mindanao, particularly Marawi, during the island’s implementation of Martial Law. The so-called ‘Mindanao Hour’ usually takes place at around or past 11:00 a.m., and is led by presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella and other speakers of interest, most notably AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla.

With the crisis in Marawi now reaching its 50th day (and counting), it all seems imperative for Malacañang to make the hourly press conferences mandatory for news organizations to follow. But so far, only the government-owned People’s Television Network, CNN Philippines and the ABS-CBN News Channel are the ones willing to air these events.

The rest? Some either broadcast these proceedings online or do not care at all.

If the Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) were to ask, is it high time to make these press conferences a regular program? Perhaps the time is now right to do so, given the frequency of the event.

However, if the news organizations were to ask, are they prepared to handle a mandatory event such as the Malacañang press conferences? They may agree, but they could make some sacrifices to make the briefings work.

That said, these regular interruptions in programming require the complete cooperation and concentration between RTVM and fellow news outlets. If they choose to make the press conferences mandatory, they must be in the same page to make it work, as long as it does not interfere with their regular programs.

It is nice to get some much-needed updates and information from the most reliable sources. But if they regularly do so in an unexpected manner, then it may become an annoyance to people.

Update: It was announced that ‘Mindanao Hour’ will only take place on Monday and Friday, with written statements issued from Tuesday to Thursday. However, expect Malacañang to issue more press conferences in relation to other concerns of national interest.

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