Media plays a key role in raising awareness about tobacco industry interference. A comprehensive media plan to raise awareness about the tobacco industry’s tactics is ideal. The support of media practitioners have proven to be invaluable as can be seen in these examples:
1. DOH warns govt agencies vs tobacco firms
May 16, 2010; GMA News Online
The Philippine Department of Health sent a letter to warn government agencies about receiving money or other forms of donation (e.g., so-called CSR) from the tobacco industry, and a leading newspaper published the message on its front page.
2. Cancer survivors, ex-smokers hail DOH, CSC for fending off tobacco lobby
July 18, 2013; InterAksyon.com
Efforts of civil society organizations in promoting awareness of the Philippine policy on tobacco industry interference (i.e., DOH-CSC JMC) help in reminding government officials of the policy. In this article, advocates celebrate the third year anniversary of the policy.
3. Information about the tobacco industry and those representing its interests can be unearthed by investigative journalists. Excerpts from the magazine show how journalists mapped out the politicians who are against certain tobacco control measures in the Philippines.
4. The value of the press in contributing to monitoring of and raising awareness on tobacco industry interference needs to be recognized. In this photo, a few journalists are recognized for helping to expose the truth about tobacco.
Rappler’s investigative journalism arm, Newsbreak, won an award for supporting reportage on the tobacco industry. In a special magazine issue, Newsbreak reported that P1 billion in tobacco funds were misused, that cigarette companies were skirting advertising bans and that congressmen got paid to oppose a bill to place picture based warnings on cigarettes.
ABS-CBN’s news program Bandila was recognized for reporter Gretchen Malalad’s exposé linking a major tobacco company to the complainant in a court case challenging the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). (Source)
REGIONAL efforts complement country efforts in raising awareness about tobacco industry tactics
1. PH gains in bid to stop tobacco industry from marring public health protection; by Tricia Aquino, InterAksyon.com; August 18, 2015
Media exposure helps in increasing awareness of the gains in countering tobacco industry interference. In this article, the launch of the 2015 ASEAN Tobacco Industry Interference Index is publicized and efforts of the Philippine Civil Service Commission was lauded.
2. Tobacco-control advocates want industry booted out of policy body
Business World Online; August 19, 2015
Media plays a key role in creating infographics that present the issues of tobacco industry interference clearly. In this photo is an infographic laying down the indicators of tobacco industry interference in accordance with Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC, and in line with the Tobacco Industry Interference Index.
GLOBAL exposure of tobacco industry tactics especially in prestigious news outlets greatly aids in raising awareness of tobacco industry interference and the need to counter it
- Efforts of the World Health Organization in promoting awareness of Art. 5.3 and tobacco industry tactics on a global level also play a significant part in facilitating exposure of tobacco industry interference in media. In 2012, the WHO chose the theme “Tobacco Industry Interference” for World No Tobacco Day 2012, and published a document on stopping tobacco industry interference.
2. Video documentaries that expose the tactics of transnational tobacco corporations (such as John Oliver’s satirical narrative of tobacco companies’ use of trade litigation and BBC’s report on BAT and the evidence of bribery) provide a clear picture of tobacco industry behavior. These aid policymakers in understanding why it is important to treat the tobacco industry differently in accordance with Article 5.3 of the FCTC.
3. Social media is also a potent means of raising awareness. Aside from a note verbale circulated to the Parties of the FCTC to warn governments about the event of the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC), the WHO FCTC Secretariat used social media, including Facebook, to promote awareness about ITIC’s links to the tobacco industry and to remind Parties of their obligations under Article 5.3 of the FCTC.
Having clear programs to deal with tobacco industry interference and informing the public about them is an important aspect of raising awareness. At the same time, raising awareness is a critical element for the success of programs, which can include programs on raising awareness, training, enforcement, among others.
The Philippine Civil Service Commission has an enforcement program which includes distribution of a handbook that explains how the public can report and file cases relating to tobacco industry interference.
Policy issuances on Article 5.3 can provide the basis for a systematic monitoring mechanism, a media campaign, or tobacco industry regulation. The JMC contains provisions that require heads of agencies to include reports of tobacco industry interference in their annual reports. The Department of Labor, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and Metro Manila Development Authority, among others, have issued their respective policies to implement the JMC.
REMINDER FOR DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
Below is an example of a reminder issued in accordance with the JMC. It is also consistent with the COP6 decision to “raise awareness and adopt measures to implement Article 5.3 among all parts of government, including diplomatic missions.”
DECLARATION OF INTEREST
One of the ways to jumpstart monitoring of tobacco industry interference is to have a policy that mandates agencies to require a declaration of interest to be filled out as a standard operating procedure in all meetings, events, or as a requirement for all employees. This form is derived from the one used by the Philippine government during its capacity-building workshops and other events related to Article 5.3 of the FCTC.