In a period marked by intensified human rights violations and rapid developments in the peace process between the Philippines government and belligerent groups, there is a need for journalists to be equipped with the proper tools for human rights documentation and enhanced reporting skills for peace and conflict reportage.
In cooperation with Witness.org, a New York-based organization devoted to the use of video and technology to promote human rights, AlterMidya- People’s Alternative Media Network gathered alternative media practitioners, as well as human rights advocates, in a two-day training in Quezon City.
Prof. Luis Teodoro, AlterMidya chairperson and former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, discussed the socio-political framework of and key concepts in the ongoing armed conflict and peace process. He then went on to discuss ethics in conflict reporting. Prof. Teodoro underscored the importance of the use of proper terminology that ensure objectivity and fosters greater public understanding of conflict, rather than contributes to prevailing misconceptions and media biases.
Arul Prakkash of Witness, meanwhile, shared invaluable methods for human rights documentation so that video or photos can be used as evidence in the court of law. He also trained AlterMidya members and human rights advocates in the use of digitally-secure mobile applications that can help boost the veracity of video or photos, or help protect the identities of victims interviewed. Mr. Prakkash also talked about proper digital archiving of videos and photos, which is crucial for human rights documentation and reportage.
Around 20 members of AlterMidya from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, as well as several invited human rights workers, participated in the said training. They shared their own extensive experiences in peace and conflict reporting and human rights documentation, and committed to improve their reportage in the interest of human rights and a just and lasting peace.