Cebu Citizens-Press Council

Being accountable comes with being free

Rules of procedure

Rules of Procedure

Basic Principles

1.) 2 LEVELS: CCPC operates on two levels: complaints and issues.

2.) ON COMPLAINTS, CCPC generally deals through its units, not the entire membership:
* Secretariat (Sec) receives complaint and forwards it to Executive Director
* Executive Director (ED) initially assesses complaint, returns it to complainant if it lacks basic requirements or is clearly a nuisance, or starts mediation if he sees merit in the grievance, and, if necessary, convenes Screening Panel
* Screening Panel (SP) pursues mediation, then decides whether to send complaint to Review Board
* Review Board (RB) goes over complaint and action of news outlet, asks for other documents if necessary, then decides for or against the complaint
* CCPC en banc is briefed on complaints filed and acted upon but does not review the action of the RB unless (a) the RB itself asks for CCPC en banc’s opinion or (b) CCPC wants to reassess the case

ON ISSUES, CCPC en banc may decide to express its view on a question involving freedom and responsibility of the press or safety of journalists.
Any CCPC member or the public, through the Sec and ED, may raise the question to the CCPC en banc.

3.) MEMBERSHIP: Screening Panel shall have at least two and not more than three members, including ED. It is formed only when ED needs help in mediation and/or assessing the case.

Review Board shall have at least three and not more than five members, excluding those who took part in the screening of the complaint. It is convened only when requested by the SP.

SP shall have at least one semi-public member and RB shall have at least one public member.

SP and RB are ad hoc groups that expire with the termination of the case handled.

4.) POOL, QUALIFICATION: The CCPC members, including the alternates,shall constitute a pool from which may be drawn members of the SP and RB.

The ED shall have experience in journalism and the industry that qualifies him for functions of assessing and steering complaints, mediating, and convening the SP or RB.

With the Sec, the ED shall see to it that complaints are acted on fairly and with dispatch. He shall also be responsible for the public education campaign and discharge other duties on the complaint operations of the CCPC.

A member shall inhibit himself if the complaint creates a conflict of interest because of personal or professional association. The ED shall find a substitute from the pool if one is necessary to get a quorum for SP or RB.

5.) NO HEARING in the sense that complainant and respondent may not appear to testify before the SP or RB. Assessment by the SP or review by the RB shall be based on published materials, the complaint, and the reply of the news outlet.

NO LAWYERS, NO WITNESSES, except that the RB may seek oral or written opinion of an expert of the disputed subject.

6.) MEETINGS of the SP and RB shall be informal but orderly, brief but thorough. The group shall submit a short report of its findings and conclusion to the ED through the Sec.

7.) MEDIATION is an important tool for settling the dispute and shall be pursued at every stage of the process–from the ED to the SP and the RB.

8.) PREREQUISITES: No complaint shall be acted upon until it is verified that the complaint was first addressed to the news outlet. Only when it is not satisfactorily met by the newspaper–by clarification, correction, or apology–will the complaint be assessed and/or reviewed.

Review by the RB or, in exceptional cases, the CCPC en banc shall be last recourse.

A waiver of the right to sue, made in a public document, shall be a condition before the RB shall render its decision on a complaint.

A complaint filed with the Sec shall be accompanied with clippings of the published material and specification of the grievance, including details of publication. It shall also state that the complainant had met the requirement of complaining first to the news outlet.

9.) JURISDICTION: The complaints that the CCPC, through its units, can act on shall be limited to cases of right to reply and accuracy and fairness as defined in CCPC’s Code of Practice.

OFF-LIMITS to CCPC are the following cases:
a.) Legal or contractual matters or those subject to legal proceedings;
b.) Parts of the newspaper that are not classified as editorial content; contents of a publication not covered by CCPC
c.) Editors’ choice of articles to publish, or editorial privilege on evaluation of articles

10.) DISMISSAL/RETURN: Complaint shall be dismissed, at any stage of the process but before the RB adopts and releases its decision:
a.) If the publication satisfactorily addresses the complaint; or
b.) The complainant has not produced a waiver of, or quitclaim on, the right to sue.

Complaint shall be returned to the complainant after initial assessment by the ED:
a. If the subject of the complaint is not covered by the CCPC Code of Practice or is one of the cases that these Rules declare as off-limits;
b. If the complaint does not give the required specifics, such as the material complained of, news clip/s, date/s of publication, the violation, and similar essential details. In case of (b), complainant can file a corrected complaint.

11.) BROADCAST: A complaint against any radio or television station shall be endorsed to the KBP whose Standards Authority has jurisdiction as the broadcast industry’s regulation unit.

The ED may help, if asked, to mediate between the complainant and the broadcast station concerned. The CCPC en banc may also take up issues involving the broadcast industry.

For mediation or liaison, the Standards Authority shall inform CCPC on the progress of the complaint.

12.) CONFIDENTIALITY: Filing of the complaint and proceedings shall not be published until the RB renders its decision. Decision of the RB shall be released to the news outlet that is the subject of the complaint. If the news outlet fails or refuses to publish the decision within two days from receipt of the copy, the RB shall release it to all other publications.

The position of CCPC en banc on an issue shall not be published until it is formally adopted during its regular quarterly meeting or at special meeting called for the purpose.

13.) INTERPRETATION of these rules shall be liberal, keeping in mind the intent and purpose of CCPC.

Any ambiguity shall be resolved by the SP or RB members themselves or in consultation with the ED, the President, or, when necessary, the CCPC en banc.

Changes of the rules, which actual operations may prove necessary, shall be recommended by the SP or RB to the CCPC en banc.

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