Mindanao journalists organize around safety



The two-day summit taking place in Davao City, Mindanao over 25 and 26 October 2018 brought together 50 members of the working press under the umbrella of the Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC), a new body established to organize media professionals on the island around common issues of concern – notably safety and security.

NewsLine Philippines Publisher, WAN-IFRA Media Freedom Committee chairperson, and MIPC president, Edith Caduaya, said that despite the immense challenges facing media in Mindanao, the Council aims to adhere to the highest ethical standards of journalism.

“We are not perfect, but we try to be decent, especially in the era of disinformation,” she said. “Journalists are facing the challenge to continue telling the truth without fear or favour. When a legitimate news story is commercialized and politicized, journalist safety is compromised,” she added.

Mindanao came to international attention following the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, in which 58 people were killed during local political campaigning near the town of Ampatuan in south-central Maguindanao province. Thirty-four journalists were among those who died – the single most deadly attack on journalists anywhere in the world.

The island has also long been home to rival political and economic factions, criminal groups, insurgents and – most recently – ISIS and its affiliates; as a result, Martial Law continues to be in place across Mindanao. All of this contributes to an extremely challenging environment for local journalists.

In April 2018, during a four-day media safety-training workshop hosted by WAN-IFRA and the ACOS Alliance, with the support of Reuters, the initial MIPC members agreed to formally organize themselves in a bid to ensure each other’s safety, as well as come up with a mechanism to protect journalists.

The MIPC has subsequently been officially recognized and issued a certificate of registration by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines. The MIPC has grown to include media from across the political and editorial spectrum, ensuring a diverse space for discussion and a rare opportunity for common ground to be found.

“We must agree and get our act together in the spirit of press freedom – anchored on the real role of the press as the purveyor of truth and as the watchdog over our society,” Caduaya emphasized.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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