Philippine Media Statement Urging Candidates to Participate in Election Debates and Forums

Freedom for Media Freedom for All, a coalition of press freedom advocates, calls on aspirants to elective positions to help the public make informed decisions when they vote on May 9, 2021 by appearing at forums and debates organized by the media.

As partners in protecting democracy, the media does not organize these events to demolish one candidate or highlight another but to help give a broader audience access to aspirants’ plans and platforms as well as potential blindspots and problem areas that bets would do well to address.

Recognizing that elections are a reckoning for democracy, more than 300 newsrooms, individual practitioners and members of the academe pledged last year to put voters first in their coverage of the elections and the campaign. These debates and forums are part of that effort and are as much an opportunity for the candidates as they are for the audience.

While FMFA recognizes that candidates have the right to refuse to appear in forums and interviews, such refusal is a disservice to voters who want fuller discussions on how candidates plan to address issues and crises like the pandemic, the West Philippine Sea dispute and the economy.

The coalition is concerned as well that candidates’ hesitation to appear before the press while still seeking election indicates the attitude towards the media that they might adopt when already in power.

Media has, in the past six years, faced officials who kept them at arm’s length and hope that the next administration will have better appreciation for the press as a watchdog on government but also as an avenue for public criticism, conversation, and compromise.

Signed (as of Feb 8, 2022, 7 a.m.):


Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (FMFA)

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (FMFA)

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (FMFA)

Mindanews (FMFA)

Philippine Press Institute (FMFA)


Center for Community Journalism and Development

Davao Today Lucelle

Digital News Exchange Julius Mariveles

Mindanao News Express

NUJP – Aklan

NUJP – Baguio-Benguet

NUJP – Bulatlat

NUJP – Cagayan de Oro

NUJP – Davao

NUJP – Iloilo

NUJP – Kodao Productions

NUJP – National Capital Region

NUJP – Nueva Ecija

NUJP – Olongapo

NUJP – Philstar


Photojournalist’s Center of the Philippines



Women Writers in Media Now (Women)




Adelle Chua

Alexandra Paredes

Allen V. Estabillo, MindaNews

Alois Isinika

Ariel Sebellino, Philippine Press Institute

Arnold E. Belleza

Barnaby Lo

Bea Cupin, Rappler

Bernadette Uy

Bhal Cabrera, Station Manager 106.7 FM

Camille Elemia, freelance journalist

Carmela Fonbuena, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Carolyn O. Arguillas, MindaNews

Catalina Ricci Madarang, Interaksyon

Ceej Tantengco, PumaPodcast Head of Partnerships

Celle Caballero

Chay Hofilena, Rappler

Cherry Mae Salazar, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Cherry Regalado

Chris V. Panganiban, Mindanews

CJ Maglunog

Cong B. Corrales, editor-in-chief Mindanao Gold Star Daily

Daniel Vicedo

Danilo Arao, Bulatlat Associate Editor

Divina M. Suson, Freelance Journalist

Dwight De Leon, Rappler

Ed Lingao

Elizabeth Ruth Deyro, Freelance Journalist

Elyssa Lopez, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Emil Mercado, Rappler

Ezra Acayan, Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines

Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda Jr., Managing Director, BicolExpress.News

Francis Allan L. Angelo, Daily Guardian

Franco Luna,

Frenchie Carreon, MindaNews

Froilan Gallardo, MindaNews

Gaby Baizas, Rappler

Gaea Katreena Cabico,

Gemma Bagayaua Mendoza, Rappler

Gerg Cahiles

Glen Ray Roluna, Program Director MNE

Glenda Gloria, Rappler

  1. Marcos C. Mordeno, MindaNews

Herbie Gomez, Rappler

Ian Nicolas Cigaral,

Jaira Roxas, Rappler

Jairo Bolledo, Rappler

Jamela Alindogan

James Relativo,

Janina Magundayao, co-founder of PumaPodcast and a freelance journalist.

Janvic Mateo

JC Gotinga, freelance journalist

Jee Geronimo, Rappler

Jeline Malasig, Interaksyon

Jimmy Domingo

Jodesz Gavilan, Rappler

Joel Salud

Joey Natividad, Senior Editor of Bicol Express

Jojo Riñoza

Jonathan De Santos,

Jules Guiang, Rappler

Jun Santiago, Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines

Karol Ilagan, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Kenneth Roland Guda, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Kristine Bersamina,

Kristine Joy Patag,

Kristofer Purnell,

Lorenz Pasion, Rappler

Luchi Cruz-Valdes

Luis Liwanag, ​​Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines

Luisa Morales,

Manman Dejeto, MindaNews

Manny Mogato

Mara Cepeda, Rappler

Marchel Espina

Marga Deona, Rappler

Marguerite de Leon, Rappler

Maria Ressa, Rappler

Maria Tan, Photojournalists’ Center of the Philippines

Marianne Enriquez, TV5

Marites Vitug

Martha Teodoro, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Melinda Quintos de Jesus, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Michael Bueza, Rappler

Michael D. Navarro, CEO Mindanao News Express

Michelle Abad, Rappler

Mike Paul M. Marquez

Miriam Grace Go, Rappler

Nestor Burgos Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, blogger

Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler

Patricia Lourdes Viray,

Pau Villanueva

Pauline Macaraeg, Rappler

Raffy Tima

Rambo Talabong, Rappler

Red Batario, CCJD

Remanuel Bandiola

Rhovin Luke Maglaqui,

Roby Alampay

Romedor C Gloriane, GMA News Stringer/ Bicol Express News/ Infoventure “Sorsogon”

Rosette Adel, Interaksyon

Russell Ku, Rappler

Ryan Rosauro, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Samantha Bagayas, Rappler

Shali Elep, Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

Sheila Coronel

Sofia Tomacruz, Rappler

Soleded Juvida

Tess Bacalla

Tita Valderama

Vincent Go

Walter Balane

Xave Gregorio,

Yas Ocampo, MindaNews

Ysabel Abad