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Philippine Media Statement Urging Candidates to Participate in Election Debates and Forums

February 07, 2022

Freedom for Media Freedom for All, a coalition of press freedom advocates, calls on aspirants to elective positions to help the public make informed decisions when they vote on May 9, 2021 by appearing at forums and debates organized by the media.

As partners in protecting democracy, the media does not organize these events to demolish one candidate or highlight another but to help give a broader audience access to aspirants’ plans and platforms as well as potential blindspots and problem areas that bets would do well to address.

Recognizing that elections are a reckoning for democracy, more than 300 newsrooms, individual practitioners and members of the academe pledged last year to put voters first in their coverage of the elections and the campaign. These debates and forums are part of that effort and are as much an opportunity for the candidates as they are for the audience.

DEBATE ON A TINY SCREEN. While taking a break from their rehearsals along the
sidewalk of Roxas Avenue in Davao City on Sunday afternoon, February 21, 2016, two
musicians update themselves on the Presidential Debate in Cagayan de Oro City with
the help of their mobile phones. MindaNews photo by Toto Lozano

While FMFA recognizes that candidates have the right to refuse to appear in forums and interviews, such refusal is a disservice to voters who want fuller discussions on how candidates plan to address issues and crises like the pandemic, the West Philippine Sea dispute and the economy. The coalition is concerned as well that candidates’ hesitation to appear before the press while still seeking election indicates the attitude towards the media that they might adopt when already in power.

Media has, in the past six years, faced officials who kept them at arm’s length and hope that the next administration will have better appreciation for the press as a watchdog on government but also as an avenue for public criticism, conversation, and compromise.



Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (FMFA)
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (FMFA)
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (FMFA)
Mindanews (FMFA)
Philippine Press Institute (FMFA)
BicolExpress.News Center for Community Journalism and Development
Davao Today Lucelle
Digital News Exchange Julius Mariveles
NUJP – Aklan
NUJP – Baguio-Benguet
NUJP – Bulatlat
NUJP – Cagayan de Oro
NUJP – Davao
NUJP – Iloilo
NUJP – Kodao Productions
NUJP – National Capital Region
NUJP – Nueva Ecija
NUJP – Olongapo
NUJP – Philstar
Photojournalist’s Center of the Philippines
Women Writers in Media Now (Women)

Adelle Chua
Alexandra Paredes
Allen V. Estabillo, MindaNews
Alois Isinika
Ariel Sebellino, Philippine Press Institute
Arnold E. Belleza
Barnaby Lo
Bea Cupin, Rappler
Bernadette Uy
Bhal Cabrera, Station Manager 106.7 FM
Camille Elemia, freelance journalist
Carmela Fonbuena, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Carolyn O. Arguillas, MindaNews
Catalina Ricci Madarang, Interaksyon
Ceej Tantengco, PumaPodcast Head of Partnerships
Celle Caballero
Chay Hofilena, Rappler
Cherry Mae Salazar, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Cherry Regalado
Chris V. Panganiban, Mindanews
CJ Maglunog
Cong B. Corrales, editor-in-chief Mindanao Gold Star Daily
Daniel Vicedo
Danilo Arao, Bulatlat Associate Editor
Divina M. Suson, Freelance Journalist
Dwight De Leon, Rappler
Ed Lingao
Elizabeth Ruth Deyro, Freelance Journalist
Elyssa Lopez, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Emil Mercado, Rappler
Ezra Acayan, Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines
Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda Jr., Managing Director, BicolExpress.News
Francis Allan L. Angelo, Daily Guardian
Franco Luna, Philstar.com
Frencie Carreon, MindaNews
Froilan Gallardo, MindaNews
Gaby Baizas, Rappler
Gaea Katreena Cabico, Philstar.com
Gemma Bagayaua Mendoza, Rappler
Gerg Cahiles
Glen Ray Roluna, Program Director MNE
Glenda Gloria, Rappler
H. Marcos C. Mordeno, MindaNews
Herbie Gomez, Rappler
Ian Nicolas Cigaral, Philstar.com
Jaira Roxas, Rappler
Jairo Bolledo, Rappler
Jamela Alindogan
James Relativo, Philstar.com
Janina Magundayao, co-founder of PumaPodcast and a freelance journalist.
Janvic Mateo
JC Gotinga, freelance journalist
Jee Geronimo, Rappler
Jeline Malasig, Interaksyon
Jimmy Domingo
Jodesz Gavilan, Rappler
Joel Salud
Joey Natividad, Senior Editor of Bicol Express
Jojo Riñoza
Jonathan De Santos, Philstar.com
Jules Guiang, Rappler
Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Kenneth Roland Guda, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Kristine Bersamina, Philstar.com
Kristine Joy Patag, Philstar.com
Kristofer Purnell, Philstar.com
Lorenz Pasion, Rappler
Luisa Morales, Philstar.com
Manman Dejeto, MindaNews
Manny Mogato
Mara Cepeda, Rappler
Marchel Espina
Marga Deona, Rappler
Marguerite de Leon, Rappler
Maria Ressa, Rappler
Marianne Enriquez, TV5
Marites Vitug
Martha Teodoro, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Michael Bueza, Rappler
Michael D. Navarro, CEO Mindanao News Express
Michelle Abad, Rappler
Mike Paul M. Marquez
Miriam Grace Go, Rappler
Nestor Burgos Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer
Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, blogger
Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler
Patricia Lourdes Viray, Philstar.com
Pau Villanueva
Pauline Macaraeg, Rappler
Raffy Tima
Rambo Talabong, Rappler
Red Batario, CCJD
Remanuel Bandiola
Rhovin Luke Maglaqui, Philstar.com
Roby Alampay
Romedor C Gloriane, GMA News Stringer/ Bicol Express News/ Infoventure “Sorsogon”
Rosette Adel, Interaksyon
Russell Ku, Rappler
Ryan Rosauro, Philippine Daily Inquirer
Samantha Bagayas, Rappler
Shali Elep, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Sofia Tomacruz, Rappler
Soleded Juvida
Tess Bacalla
Tita Valderama
Vincent Go
Xave Gregorio, Philstar.com
Yas Ocampo, MindaNews
Ysabel Abad

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