Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reaction to the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking

Did the Philippine media's live coverage of the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking situation botch the hostage negotiations? According to one media guideline, YES.
Always assume that the hostage taker, gunman, or terrorist has access to the reporting. 
Avoid describing with words or showing with still photography and video any information that could divulge the tactics or positions of SWAT team members.
Challenge any gut reaction to "go live" from the scene of a hostage-taking crisis, unless there are strong journalistic reasons for a live, on-the-scene report. Things can go wrong very quickly in a live report, endangering lives or damaging negotiations. Furthermore, ask if the value of a live, on-the- scene report is really justifiable compared to the harm that could occur. 
Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values 
Other related posts:

Ten mistakes of the Philippine police at the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking

Hongkong's outrage over the Quirino Grandstand Hostage taking

KBP (Filipino media standards code) on Crime and Crisis


It ended in a bloodbath.

Killed were eight hostages and the lone hostage taker, a dismissed policeman named Roland Mendoza -- whom reports say resorted to the hostage taking to demand his reinstatement.


According to reports, negotiations for the release of the hostages had been uneventful until violence erupted when Mendoza allegedly saw his brother on television, who was at the scene, being arrested and dragged away by the police.

There were 15 Chinese tourists and a Filipino driver being held in the bus when the violence erupted.

President Noynoy Aquino has issued a statement offering condolences to the families of the victims in the tragic hostage taking incident.

On Facebook, Filipinos registered their dismay over the handling of the hostage crisis -- some questioning the training of the policemen at the scene and others blaming Filipino media on the scene for ignoring guidelines on covering hostage taking situations.

Filipino reporters took to spreading links to Nelson Poynter's Guidelines for covering hostage taking situations.

In covering an ongoing crisis situation, journalists are advised to: 
• Always assume that the hostage taker, gunman, or terrorist has access to the reporting. 
• Avoid describing with words or showing with still photography and video any information that could divulge the tactics or positions of SWAT team members.
• Fight the urge to become a player in any standoff, hostage situation, or terrorist incident. Journalists should become personally involved only as a last resort and with the explicit approval of top news management and the consultation of trained hostage negotiators on the scene.
• Be forthright with viewers, listeners, or readers about why certain information is being withheld if security reasons are involved. • Seriously weigh the benefits to the public of what information might be given out versus what potential harm that information might cause. This is especially important in live reporting of an ongoing situation.
• Strongly resist the temptation to telephone a gunman or hostage taker.Journalists generally are not trained in negotiation techniques, and one wrong question or inappropriate word could jeopardize someone’s life.
Furthermore, just calling in could tie up phone lines or otherwise complicate communication efforts of the negotiators.
• Notify authorities immediately if a hostage taker or terrorist calls the newsroom. Also, have a plan ready for how to respond. 
• Challenge any gut reaction to "go live" from the scene of a hostage-taking crisis, unless there are strong journalistic reasons for a live, on-the-scene report. Things can go wrong very quickly in a live report, endangering lives or damaging negotiations. Furthermore, ask if the value of a live, on-the- scene report is really justifiable compared to the harm that could occur. 
• Give no information, factual or speculative, about a hostage taker’s mental condition, state of mind, or reasons for actions while a standoff is in progress. The value of such information to the audience is limited, and the possibility of such characterizations exacerbating an already dangerous situation are quite real.

Another reaction on Facebook said that it was a bad idea to involve a relative of the hostage taker in the negotiations.

At least, this time around, unlike the Manila Hostage taking in 2007, Senator Bong Revilla and Chavit Singson didn't appear on the scene to negotiate with the hostage taker.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Firstly, I am sorry if other people might react to what I'm going to say but its a free country after all. This unfortunate event made headlines and showed the world how stupid and trigger happy mad men are holding the country's police force. The PNP is an institution full of brainless, arrogant and ill-mannered police hordes. The PNP is the legal institution for criminals. If you want to make robbery, holdup, kidnapping, carnapping, drug pushing and even driving colororum puv's - try being a cop in the Philippines.

Anonymous said...

This message was my letter to the President via the official website provided. This was supposed to be sent last night but the official website did not, for some reason, allow the message to be sent.

Dear Mr. President,

I am an OFW in Dubai watching daily via cable T.V. the developments of our Country via local news.

I was deeply saddened for the recent hostage taking event in Quirino of an exPNP Inspector.

I am certain that I will only be one of many people who have seen the footage on television as it was happening. To this coverage, I would like to actually comment the following...

1. I suggest in situations such as what has happened today, that the government control media coverage of the incident since the hostage taker, or in other cases enemies we are fighting in remote areas of the Philippines. I believe in the right of free press but disagree to without proper control of this information, actually risk the enemy to use the information to their advantage. E.g. In the case of todays grim scenario, if the person saw hostility against his family being done at the same time when the negotiators are convincing this person to relinquish his arms and peacefully surrender...are we not sending mixed messages to the person and further risking aggravated hostility from his reaction
If it were true and valid that there was cause for the Police to suspect involvement of the brother, this could have dealt with separately or even discretely. The concentration should have been to first secure the present situation without casualty.

2. I read in other news over the internet that a letter was handed from the office of the Ombudsman stating that there will be no reinstatement granted to Mendoza contrary to his request, but rather, an opportunity to review the case was the suggestion as a course of action. I thoroughly believe that this did not help the situation at all not to, even if it was just to be false news, show maximum tolerance and openness to the perpetrator in the remote hope that a false statement of his reinstatement may help the obviously volatile situation. I say, if the demand was not to add hostages nor fulfill a request to directly harm the situation, then by all means, lie to the person just to appease the anger and take things from there.

3. Sir, none of the authorities on the scene of the crime, had a gas mask. They had tear gas for the perpetrators disadvantage, but no way to actually save themselves of the same disadvantage. Rescue was also, to say the least, hampered by this lack of equipment.

4. I commend the courage of the authorities who fought to save lives. I also was wishing they had, if they wanted a swift action when they had decided to break into the bus, just have taken an anchor type harpoon however crude may be available, to pull the glass out of the hinges simultaneously. I am no expert and after the fact, this is just a suggestion because I have observed that the hostage taker had more time to be aggravated by the constant battering of the glass in different sections enough perhaps to kill more hostages or fire more shots. I believe, as perhaps with the same idea of the Police, had the glass been broken down or removed faster, then perhaps, more lives may have been saved.

Thank you for this website Mr. President. I know in the best of your capacity that your involvement to actually hear the comments of your People was the end in mind with this. I pray we are able to responsibly learn from this event in all aspects, including the role of media, crime scene crown control of the authorities, and special operative preparedness in worst scenario cases both technically and tactically.

God Bless You and Our Country and my prayers go out to all families affected by this gruesome event.

Anonymous said...

well... i can see that the police officers were really stupid... in that situation there is only one hostage taker yet they were not able to handle the situation.. even us normal human being would know some techniques to handle that situation.. to our president how come you were not there to response to the needs of the victims at that certain event.. is it because your afraid???.. the whole world is waiting for you to take action.. yet none of the government officials shown up... how embarassing..

Anonymous said...

Actions speaks lauder than words, to all of you government officials. How embarassing, cops should learn more about crisis intervention not just pa pogi lahat kayo purmatik nakakahiya.

kristine said...

well. in this situation let us forget this event and learn from our mistakes we should not blame other, it happened already,,wala na tayong magagawa ..all we need to do is to pray for those people who involved in that situation..and to this magkaroon tayo ng unity..hindi yung tayo tayo ring mga pilipino ang nagsisihan..God bless to all

Li_OnesZ said...

… may kasalanan jan ung m6a pulis taas taas ng tingin ng taong bayan sa kanila tapos mga duwag cla kung nung umpisa p lng bnigay na nla ung hiling d sana d na umabot sa patayan ,,, bababa ang tingin sa bansa ntin dahil sa kanila,, kung nang yari 2 sa ibang bansan maaga plng pinaxuk n un .,, ganyan b tlaga mga taga pilipinas

Li_OnesZ said...

… may kasalanan jan ung m6a pulis taas taas ng tingin ng taong bayan sa kanila tapos mga duwag cla kung nung umpisa p lng bnigay na nla ung hiling d sana d na umabot sa patayan ,,, bababa ang tingin sa bansa ntin dahil sa kanila,, kung nang yari 2 sa ibang bansan maaga plng pinaxuk n un .,, ganyan b tlaga mga taga pilipinas

Anonymous said...

i think the President too... it is so disappointed that the government especially the President didn't do anything instead they considered the incident as an "ISOLATED CASE"....

The Philippines should be ashamed to what happened... Hong Kong is very understandable because they accepted the apology of the Philippine government, although some HK people are still mad and angry... Unlike the Filipino people, when there is a simple discrimination of other countries they always over reacting...

Anonymous said...

Pres. NoyNoy, is the hostage-taking in Quirino Grandstand still AN ISOLATED CASE now that almost all of the hostages are DEAD!?

What are you going to do now?
Set a funeral mass for the lives that have been lost?
Offer your Public Condolences to all the families of the victims?
Fired the police and other officials responsible for the negotiation in this hostage drama incident?
Who's you gonna punish now since the hostage-taker is dead? His brother?
Will you blame the media for covering the incident very accurately?

YOU SHOULD MADE THE RIGHT DECISION in giving the demands of the hostage-taker and make a Plan B afterwards. Maybe you save more lives including the hostage-taker and nobody's hurt and died.

You exchanged the innocent lives over a simple demand of reinstatement to the police service.

Now you have a big problem in how to cover up your mistakes.

Remember this is your 62nd DAY in office as the PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.

Make the public believe that this is only AN ISOLATED CASE.

MAKE THE PUBLIC BELIEVE...

Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

I've read and heard opinions regarding this matter and I really am saddened by this tragic event.

I believe this event is not merely an affront against the chinese but against humanity in general.

I cannot feel but be sorry for the relatives.

Surely our government and police can do better. The media can do better. We, ourselves, who live in our country can do better.

But I believe and I feel very strongly that this is indeed a selfish, despicable act of murder.

In fact, whatever his reasons are - whether he was wrongly accused, whether he thought that the present police administration and or system is flawed, whether he felt incensed because of the way the police treated his relatives etc... are barely justifiable reasons of killing any of the tourists.

Some had blamed the police. And the police agreed they "flunked big time". Who cannot? When 7 or more people are killed, you don't say you're successful! But it was really a tough situation. A former policeman - a decorated officer, one who has mastered the police system was having a mental breakdown. They must have surmised he knew how police negotiates - knew the former methods may not work. It could be worst - yes, It could be much worst! They thought the relatives were interfering so they have to arrest them (one brought a gun). But they did practice - reason why it took long? But sure, they need to improve badly!

Many believed the media botched the negotiations - interfered too much. But some thought their participation was in fact lacking - acting only as witnesses to a situation they could have lent more help. What can they do? It was a live coverage. Previous hostage taking ended peacefully. They never anticipated such scenario.

No one anticipated it.

Why?

Because the power of choice - whether to kill or not - was there at the hands of the officer. Oh yes, as man is capable of noble acts worthy of commendation (like the 17 awards and medals of Mendoza), so is he capable of committing the most horrendous things in the name of justice - only to trample it in the end.

But there are things to do. We have to realize that this is another trial for our country. We must and can rise above this event with God's help.


-------------
Congressman Lagman and Cong. Arroyo's spokeperson were quick to point out that Noynoy's government failed in this crisis...Pointing to previous hostage scenarios resolved in the past...Shame on them! Who are they kidding? In the last Maquindanao massacre - more than 50 people were killed, raped and disgraced in every way in broad daylight!! Talk about hypocrisy at its worst. and how about the scores of journalists killed in Arroyo's time?

And what could P-Noy or any other President do other than wait for the situation to resolve and trust the experts (police)?

Anonymous said...

I've read and heard opinions regarding this matter and I really am saddened by this tragic event.

I believe this event is not merely an affront against the chinese but against humanity in general.

I cannot feel but be sorry for the relatives.

Surely our government and police can do better. The media can do better. We, ourselves, who live in our country can do better.

But I believe and I feel very strongly that this is indeed a selfish, despicable act of murder.

In fact, whatever his reasons are - whether he was wrongly accused, whether he thought that the present police administration and or system is flawed, whether he felt incensed because of the way the police treated his relatives etc... are barely justifiable reasons of killing any of the tourists.

Some had blamed the police. And the police agreed they "flunked big time". Who cannot? When 7 or more people are killed, you don't say you're successful! But it was really a tough situation. A former policeman - a decorated officer, one who has mastered the police system was having a mental breakdown. They must have surmised he knew how police negotiates - knew the former methods may not work. It could be worst - yes, It could be much worst! They thought the relatives were interfering so they have to arrest them (one brought a gun). But they did practice - reason why it took long? But sure, they need to improve badly!

Many believed the media botched the negotiations - interfered too much. But some thought their participation was in fact lacking - acting only as witnesses to a situation they could have lent more help. What can they do? It was a live coverage. Previous hostage taking ended peacefully. They never anticipated such scenario.

No one anticipated it.

Why?

Because the power of choice - whether to kill or not - was there at the hands of the officer. Oh yes, as man is capable of noble acts worthy of commendation (like the 17 awards and medals of Mendoza), so is he capable of committing the most horrendous things in the name of justice - only to trample it in the end.

But there are things to do. We have to realize that this is another trial for our country. We must and can rise above this event with God's help.


-------------
Congressman Lagman and Cong. Arroyo's spokeperson were quick to point out that Noynoy's government failed in this crisis...Pointing to previous hostage scenarios resolved in the past...Shame on them! Who are they kidding? In the last Maquindanao massacre - more than 50 people were killed, raped and disgraced in every way in broad daylight!! Talk about hypocrisy at its worst. and how about the scores of journalists killed in Arroyo's time?

And what could P-Noy or any other President do other than wait for the situation to resolve and trust the experts (police)?

Anonymous said...

I've read and heard opinions regarding this matter and I really am saddened by this tragic event.

I believe this event is not merely an affront against the chinese but against humanity in general.

I cannot feel but be sorry for the relatives.

Surely our government and police can do better. The media can do better. We, ourselves, who live in our country can do better.

But I believe and I feel very strongly that this is indeed a selfish, despicable act of murder.

In fact, whatever his reasons are - whether he was wrongly accused, whether he thought that the present police administration and or system is flawed, whether he felt incensed because of the way the police treated his relatives etc... are barely justifiable reasons of killing any of the tourists.

Some had blamed the police. And the police agreed they "flunked big time". Who cannot? When 7 or more people are killed, you don't say you're successful! But it was really a tough situation. A former policeman - a decorated officer, one who has mastered the police system was having a mental breakdown. They must have surmised he knew how police negotiates - knew the former methods may not work. It could be worst - yes, It could be much worst! They thought the relatives were interfering so they have to arrest them (one brought a gun). But they did practice - reason why it took long? But sure, they need to improve badly!

Many believed the media botched the negotiations - interfered too much. But some thought their participation was in fact lacking - acting only as witnesses to a situation they could have lent more help. What can they do? It was a live coverage. Previous hostage taking ended peacefully. They never anticipated such scenario.

No one anticipated it.

Why?

Because the power of choice - whether to kill or not - was there at the hands of the officer. Oh yes, as man is capable of noble acts worthy of commendation (like the 17 awards and medals of Mendoza), so is he capable of committing the most horrendous things in the name of justice - only to trample it in the end.

But there are things to do. We have to realize that this is another trial for our country. We must and can rise above this event with God's help.

Anonymous said...

Congressman Lagman and Cong. Arroyo's spokeperson were quick to point out that Noynoy's government failed in this crisis...Pointing to previous hostage scenarios resolved in the past...Shame on them! Who are they kidding? In the last Maquindanao massacre - more than 50 people were killed, raped and disgraced in every way in broad daylight!! Talk about hypocrisy at its worst. and how about the scores of journalists killed in Arroyo's time?

And what could P-Noy or any other President do other than wait for the situation to resolve and trust the experts (police)?

Anonymous said...

Don't get angry or mad at PNOY. He never said he would be a good leader but promised only not to be "corrupt". Pasensiya na tayong mga Filipino, at least kung naging barangay captain c pnoy, may administrative experience cya. When he was in congress (upper and lower house), he was a member of the silence committee. Trust him coz he is the son of a martyr and a saint (kuno). Ano pa ang reklamo natin? After 6 years, another truth/false commission will be set up to find out the why he was acting 'unpresidentiable" during crisis situations? Enjoy and laugh at our miseries!

Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=1193548334#!/note.php?note_id=146033355428413

Anonymous said...

i'm so sad for what had happened here in philippines. sad in a way that, instead of rising up again and have a new stand, we rather chose to elaborate and talk about the "kapalpakan" of those officials who are involved. yes, it is true that what they have done was a very big mistake, but sana. instead n mag sisihan tayo, maybe it is better for all of us to hold our hands together... yun bang pantay-pantay, nagtutulungan at mapayapa.... at sa mga opisyalis nman pong nananatiling madumi sa knilang trabaho, siguroy oras na po upang imulat na ninyo ang inyong mga mata't huwag maging bulag sa nangyayari sa ating bayan...inilukluk ho kayo dyan sa pwesto ninyo dahil sa rason na ang taong bayan ay may tiwala sa inyo, at sana nman po'y huwag niyo kming biguin.....sama-sama po tayong bumangon at harapin ang bukas na may dalang bagong pag-asa... MABUHAY KA PILIPINAS...:)

john tristan remada said...

i'm so sad for what had happened here in philippines. sad in a way that, instead of rising up again and have a new stand, we rather chose to elaborate and talk about the "kapalpakan" of those officials who are involved. yes, it is true that what they have done was a very big mistake, but sana. instead n mag sisihan tayo, maybe it is better for all of us to hold our hands together... yun bang pantay-pantay, nagtutulungan at mapayapa.... at sa mga opisyalis nman pong nananatiling madumi sa knilang trabaho, siguroy oras na po upang imulat na ninyo ang inyong mga mata't huwag maging bulag sa nangyayari sa ating bayan...inilukluk ho kayo dyan sa pwesto ninyo dahil sa rason na ang taong bayan ay may tiwala sa inyo, at sana nman po'y huwag niyo kming biguin.....sama-sama po tayong bumangon at harapin ang bukas na may dalang bagong pag-asa... MABUHAY KA PILIPINAS...:)

deadpoetghostwriter said...

The buck stops at the helm of this country's leadership. It stops where Aquino sits.

You think corruption is costly? Try incompetence.

Costly mistake.

http://deadpoetghostwriter.blogspot.com/2010/08/costly-mistake.html

Anonymous said...

i think they are too confident.... ang PNP. SWAt team, at ang gobyerno hindi nila sukat akalain na mangyayari ito.... sana naman maging bukas ang isip niyo sa ganitong sitwasyon, dahil ang ganitong pangyayari ay hindi pangpinikula lamang...... sa pagtangka nyong iligtas ang mga sibilyan mula sa kamay ng hostage taker ay mas lalo nyo pang pinalala ang sitwasyo.....

Anonymous said...

When I heard about this Medoza Hostage Drama I was saddened of what one of our countrymen did but I don't want to blame anybody just the actions of the media wherein they covered every step of the PNP.aren't they aware that a Tv inside the bus can be viewed? Yes, It's their job to cover all events happening but not to the life and death situation until it's over! Media is helpful but this time not... unless broadcast after the event.... so disgusting...

The Philippine Guild said...

It seems President Noynoy is right. In a month's time, this tragedy in mismanagement (his, that is) would have long been forgotten. Eating a hotdog sandwich in New York solved the image problem.

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