Palace, media to discuss coverage of police ops

President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said the government will meet with various media groups to set up “parameters” on the coverage of crisis situations following Monday’s deadly hostage-taking in Manila that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

At a press briefing in Malacañang, Aquino said he has tasked Secretary Ricky Carandang, head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning, to schedule meetings with media organizations to reconcile the media’s need to get news and the victims’ security during crisis situations.

“We are trying to put continually conflicting principles into unity here… We discussed with Secretary Carandang this afternoon about setting up all of these meeting to come up with parameters that hopefully everyone will abide to,” he said.

Dismissed Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza on Monday seized a busload of tourists from Hong Kong for 11 hours in front of the Quirino Grandstand at the historic Rizal Park. He was killed in a police assault.

Media organizations drew flak for allegedly contributing to the aggravation of the crisis as Mendoza reportedly became agitated after seeing on TV how his brother was being arrested for allegedly meddling with the negotiations.

Aquino said while he understands that the media was only doing its job, there has to be a way to reconcile the public’s right to know and the duty of the State to protect civilians. “The media really has to scramble for their stories, but there has to be a reconciling of that need with the idea of securing everybody and not complicating tense situations,” he said.

Aquino likewise defended the police for its alleged failure to control the media during Monday’s hostage crisis, saying they “had already so much on their plate” during the incident.

The President said he hopes the media and the police would develop a “working relationship” to avoid aggravating similar tense incidents in the future. – KBK, GMANews.TV

ANDREO CALONZO, GMANews.TV [Link to source]