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TV host Willie Revillame in a file photo. EDWIN BACASMAS




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Network issues guidelines to protect kids in its shows

By Marinel Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 18:53:00 04/20/2011

Filed Under: Television, Entertainment (general), Children

A MONTH after TV5 and its flagship program ?Willing Willie? got embroiled in a controversy on the alleged exploitation of a minor, the broadcast network released a set of guidelines on the ?treatment of children as viewers, subjects, talents or participants.?

In a statement sent to Inquirer Entertainment on Tuesday, the network said the new policy was ?in line with its commitment to support the intellectual, emotional, psychological, physical and social development of children.?

The statement also said: ?It is the network?s sincere intention to implement effective precautionary measures to guarantee that no rights, especially children?s rights, will be violated in the production and broadcast of its radio and television programs.?

TV5, ?Willing Willie? and program host Willie Revillame became the subject of hate campaigns on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter as a reaction to the performance of a young contestant on the show?s March 12 episode.

?Abused, humiliated?

Six-year-old Jan-Jan Suan was one of six contestants, aged 6 to 11, who danced in the show?s ?Willtime Bigtime? segment. The boy?s performance, described by Revillame as a ?macho dance,? also drew protests from viewers, government agencies and other concerned groups. They all claimed the boy was ?abused and humiliated.?

In response, TV5 appointed an ombudsman to conduct a ?thorough investigation? on the incident and ?similar matters.?

Included in the guidelines is the appointment of a child welfare coordinator, ?with appropriate background and training,? who will be present at each stage of a program?s production process?auditions, interviews, rehearsals and production conferences, among others.

The network also promised to conduct regular seminars and sensitivity training sessions for all talents and employees in production. ?This is to ensure that all programs consistently comply with the guidelines,? the statement said.

Viewer feedback

?To be more sensitive and responsive to its viewers,? TV5 said it would set up a ?viewer feedback mechanism.? Complaints sent to the ombudsman at the_tv5_ombudsman@tv5.com.ph would be ?handled confidentially and with discretion.?

TV5 legal counsel and ombudsman Christine Ona earlier reported the creation of two standards compliance group: an advisory board, tasked ?to formulate and periodically review the network?s broadcast standards and policies,? as well as a compliance board.

?All programs, plugs, and other non-program materials aired on TV5, AksyonTV, Radyo5, Sports5, as well as on the TV5 and Interaksyon websites shall be monitored by the compliance unit,? the network declared.

A child psychologist will also be consulted in the implementation of the guidelines, TV5 added.

The station said the guidelines were formed in consultation with the Philippine Children?s Television Foundation Inc., creator-producer of the kiddie educational show ?Batibot,? which also airs on TV5.

?[The guidelines] articulate the network?s general policies on the treatment of children, with specific provisions on children?s programming, news coverage pertaining to children, participation of children in programs, and compliance measures,? it said.

TV5 also said it will comply with other standards that may be formulated by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, the Department of Labor and Employment and other concerned agencies.

?With the guidelines in place, TV5 hopes to contribute to building a socially responsible community with genuine respect and sensitivity toward all children and their families,? the statement said.



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