The Philippine Commission on Women, the government’s policymaking and oversight agency for gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Office of the President, would like to bring to your attention the sexist and derogatory headline published on the September 21, 2016 front page of your broadsheet.
While the PCW respects freedom of expression and understands media’s optimization of strategies such as the use of various angles and play of words to catch attention, we believe that there are more appropriate headlines suited for the article other than “Witnesses finger Leila.” There is a big difference between finger pointing, giving the finger and “fingering” somebody which is a word with double meaning and sexual innuendos.
We are concerned that such manner of reportage of a woman in one of the nation’s respected broadsheets reinforces the biases of sexism instead of focusing on the objectivity and fairness in newswriting.
We encourage the editors of the Manila Standard to help ensure that in their practice of journalism, the dignity and bodily integrity of all women, regardless of their status in society should be upheld and presenting them as sexual objects as if shaming them should be avoided, consistent with the Magna Carta of Women.
The Code of Ethics issued by the Gender Equality Committee for Media, calls on media organizations including print, television and broadcast radio, and advertisements should avoid use of offensive language, messages and images that are vulgar, indecent, promote substance abuse, gender discrimination, racism, violence or sexual perversion or demean a member of any sector of society. The MGEC is an inter-agency committee established by virtue of the MCW, particularly Section 16 of the law and Section 19 of its Implementing Rules and Regulations which, provides for the Non-derogatory and Non-discriminatory Portrayal of Women in Media and Film.
We call on the Manila Standard to adhere to the code of ethics for media and incorporate gender sensitivity in its journalism and advertising guidelines.
EMMELINE L. VERZOSA, CESO III
Philippine Commission on Women