The open internet, freedom of information, the Philippine digital divide, and the promotion of local language use online are some of the issues that captured the attention of the Cebu mainstream print media which covered the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit last January 24-25.
While members of the local press mingled with some 300 bloggers, citizen media, and tech experts from all over the world and listened to sessions tackling a diverse array of global issues, it was the Summit’s tackling of local matters that stood out in their coverage.
Before the two-day international event at the Cebu Provincial Capitol, most Cebu papers published announcers on the Summit. Sun.Star, one of the event sponsors, published a video interview with GV co-founder Ethan Zuckerman entitled “Why you should take part in Citizen Media Summit 2015.”
Sun.Star editor Nini Cabaero wrote in her an opinion column why Cebu’s being in the periphery makes Cebu the best place to hold the Summit. Zuckerman said that Cabaero, one of his former students at MIT, was crucial in convincing GV to hold the Summit in Cebu.
The initial reports that came out about the Summit focused on the first session “Protecting the Open Internet is Everyone’s Business.”
The stories highlighted Media Legal Defense Initiative Director Nani Jansen’s discussion of how governments around the world are cracking down on net freedom and the plight of online activists in Thailand since the military takeover last year May.
Sun.Star led the pack with a report published in its website immediately during the first day of the Summit. The other local dailies followed suit the next day with lengthy articles in their print versions.
Cebu Daily News also centered its report on the first session but without forgetting to point out another significance of holding the Summit in Cebu: it is the first to be connected to the Internet in the Philippines in 1994.
The Freeman’s reportage meanwhile gave more attention to the Summit discussion on Freedom of Information, particularly on the need for the passage of the law in the country.
Sun.Star followed up with a second report posted online about the session from the first day of the Summit on “What’s happening in the Philippine Citizen Media.” The digital divide in the country was the main angle of the story.
The story underscored the way the digital divide blunted the impact of social media on the lives of more Filipinos, in particular citing how the unreliable Internet infrastructure prevented updates on calamities in far-flung areas from coming faster.
The day after the Summit, the Cebu Daily News published a story on the panel “Filipino Indigenous Languages in Citizen Media.” The article focused on what the panelists had to say about the promotion of the use of local languages on the Internet.
Published on the same day is an opinion column by Anol Mongaya, who is also one of the panelists during the said discussion in the Summit. He wrote on the need for local language advocates to link up more with the tech industry.
Finally, The Freeman report highlighted the campaigns and advocacies in the country which maximized the use of the Internet and social media, particularly in disaster relief campaigns during typhoons.
There is still not much in terms of lengthier stories, commentaries, or reflections about the Summit written by Cebuano bloggers who were present during the event. But there are not a few photos and posts on popular social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Tweeter.