Stories posted 2001

The Right to Know: Access to Information in Southeast Asia

PUBLISHED jointly by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa), this book examines the state of the media in these countries and the obstacles faced by journalists and citizens who wish to obtain access to public records.

The book includes the findings of a cross-country survey that ranked the countries according to their openness. The Philippines and Thailand rank as the most transparent countries in Southeast Asia. Cambodia is third, although citizens rarely attempt to obtain information from the government, which they think is authoritarian and inaccessible Moreover, the information infrastructure is in shambles after the ravages of the Khmer Rouge.

Drugs, Death and Disease:
Reporting on AIDS in Southeast Asia

THE MEDIA tend to sensationalize AIDS, often focusing on the more scandalous aspects of the private lives of those with HIV/AIDS victims, without shedding light on the complexity of the contagion. Often, those with the disease are portrayed as the culprits behind the spread of the disease, thus contributing to the social ostracism that people with AIDS suffer. Sometimes, reporters even get it wrong, propagating wrong notions about the disease and contributing to the public’s misinformation about HIV/AIDS.

Even when journalists get it right and take a more holistic view, they have tended to look at the epidemic in a one-dimensional way: as a public health problem, or as an issue related to the sex industry, drug use or military prostitution. AIDS is all of these, but also more than all of these. To succeed in the battle against AIDS, the epidemic must be viewed in a multidimensional way, as a phenomenon rooted in society and tightly linked to social ills.

Investigating Local Governments:
A Manual for Reporters

THIS MANUAL attempts to provide journalists with a local governance roadmap that would guide them in their day-to-day coverage of the news. But it is useful to others as well -officials, researchers, activists and ordinary citizens who wish to know more about governance at the local level.

This book begins with a scrutiny of the community press and its unique features and problems. It then dissects how local governments work (or are supposed to work) and includes helpful hints on how journalists can make sense of what is going on at the local level. In a simple but exhaustive discussion on local fiscal administration, one of the chapters shows how reporters and citizens can follow the money trail in their pursuit of wrongdoing. Another chapter focuses on the basic services that have been devolved to local government units, and points out the kinds of leads and sources a reporter can use to explain all these to the average reader.

Special Interest Books

Pipol Power Uli! (2001)

The Ultimate Textbook: An I Book (2000)

Joke ni Erap: A Jokebook to Support Serious Journalism (1999)

In the 15 years since its founding, the PCIJ, has published more than a dozen books and produced several full-length documentaries, many of which have won major awards and citations, including five National Book Awards and a Catholic Mass Media Award.

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