Philippines – Guidelines on the Coverage of Crimes Against Women (1993)

Guidelines on the Coverage of Crimes Against Women, presented by participants in the Seminar/Workshop on the Coverage of Violent Crimes Against Women and Minors, December 3-5, 1993, Development Academy of the Philippines, Tagaytay City.

I. Consent. Recognize the victims’ right to decide whether to be identified or not.

1. Withhold the identity of the victim and suspect (until indictment).

2. Make sure the consent given is free and informed consent.
2.1. Do not assume consent until expressly given.
2.2. Determine if the victim is in the right frame of mind to give consent.
2.3. Broadcast reporters/editors should take care that filming/ reporting/
recording of such crimes do not violate the above principle.

II. IMAGES. Recognize the right to dignity of victims, specially in death.

1. Do not use photos of victims who are naked, scantily clad, or in otherwise degrading states.

2. Do not photograph or use photos of minors as victims or suspects.

3. Use graphics, line shots, other illustrations to visually supplement the reportage.

4. Do not trivialize the reality of violent crimes with the use of humor, cartoons, etc.

5. Do not place reports of violence next to pin-ups and other items which heighten their titillating value.

6. Do not use photos or any visual depiction of confrontations between the victims’, the victims’ family, and the accused in police stations and other law enforcement agencies.

III. REPORTAGE. Crimes of violence against women and children should be reported factually and seriously.

1. Reporters should not use words and phrases which tend to pass judgment on the victim and/ or suspect.
Example: prostitute, sexy, former dancer, sex maniac, drug addict, etc.

2. Eliminate details/ descriptions which tend to titillate readers/ viewers and sensationalize the story or ridicule the victims.

3. The general rule: Do not use obscene, profane, or vulgar terms in a story unless they are part of direct quotations and there is a storing, compelling reason to use them.


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