CCPC lauds policy on parading suspects

READERS’ VIEWS - The Freeman

Cebu media asked and law enforcers agreed not to require crime suspects to carry cards or wear shirts identifying them as suspects when they are presented to the media.

Officials from Commission on Human Rights,  National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Cebu Province, Cebu City, and region police made that commitment to the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) last Aug. 31, 2006 when CCPC requested local law enforcers to discourage parading of crime suspects to the public.

 Last Jan. 28, almost seven years later, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas ordered a stop to the presentation of crime suspects to the media without consent of the alleged law offenders or their lawyers.

It took them so long to end the practice of parading crime suspects, Pachico Seares, CCPC executive director, said, but it’s a lot better rule than what we initiated locally in 2006.

‘Pro-active media’

Luis Teodoro, deputy director of Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility, in a Jan. 28, 2013 blog on CMFR’s “In Media Res,” said what CCPC’s initiative demonstrates “goes beyond the issue (of parading crime suspects).” In the coverage of crime as in that of everything else, including elections, Teodoro said, “the media can act pro-actively, take the steps needed not only to enhance and support meaningful, accurate, and fair reporting, but also to encourage, and even compel the police and other state agencies to respect human rights in a country where observance of human rights protocols has always been problematic.”

In that CCPC-initiated 2006 meeting, law enforcers also agreed that crime suspects shall be handcuffed at the back, not in front, and investigators shall determine the age of the offender and victim to help guide journalists in handling the story.

Law enforcers also promised to implement CCPC standards on describing or identifying crime suspects. (See box).

Officials then who met with CCPC and media          representatives were Director Alejandro Alonso Jr., Commission on Human Rights; Director Medardo de Lemos,

NBI; province police chief Vicente Loot; Cebu City police chief Melvin Gayotin; and region police chief Ronald Roderos.


CCPC standards on identifying crime suspects


Cebu Citizens-Press Council encourages media and authorities:

[1] To be cautious in identifying the crime suspect or attributing guilt if the information is not accurate or complete or not verifiable to a high degree;

[2] To refrain from describing a suspect by race, religion, or ethnic background unless the information is important to the report or for law enforcement;

[3] To be cautious in releasing personal information not directly related to the case or not yet, especially if it injures further the crime suspect’s reputation or the victim’s life.

(Adopted at CCPC en banc meeting, Sept. 21, 2006, MBF Cebu Press Center)












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