Is the tobacco industry shutting down positive media coverage of the Sin Tax Bill? #sintax

Where are the stories of the Sin tax bill? From September 1 to 10, only 11 stories came out on print media: nine were negative, one was positive while one was neutral. Check out this infographic created by @sintaxph:

Images from @sintaxph

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The website Sin tax for Health reports the following in their website:

Both government officials and concerned non-government organizations have complained about an alleged news blackout on the Sin Tax debates being held in the Senate. Supposedly, this is to keep compelling testimonies and the health issues surrounding the Sin Tax Bill out of the newspapers. A report by Ces Orena-Drilon quotes an official of Health Justice, an organization advocating the Sin Tax, as saying, “We…have information about actual feature articles and cover pages being sold to the tobacco industry.”

We don’t know what information they have, but we do know that whether or not this is true, we all have a loud enough voice to get the message out there: the Sin Tax is an Anti-Cancer Tax; it is a measure for the health of the nation.

This is what websites like this are for—this is the role that social media is playing today, in an increasingly important manner: to make sure that the voices of all are heard.

The report cites a research paper from the University of Sydney that claims that “…cigarette manufacturers manipulate media outlets and politicians to keep the prices of cigarettes low and to keep the subject of its adverse effects out of the news.” The same research also says that the Philippines has the strongest tobacco lobby in Asia. This may be true, but we believe that so long as there are Filipinos who believe in this cause—who believe that the Sin Tax Bill is good for our country—and are unafraid to speak their minds, news blackout or no news blackout, we can spread the message across the country.

So take action. Write about it on your blogs or Facebook statuses.  Follow on @sintaxph on twitter. Tweet about the #sintax, or join the discussion on the Facebook page. Point other people to the resources available on this website and others. If we stay informed and help others to be informed, we can help more and more Filipinos know what’s going on.

Read the report of Ces Orena-Drilon.

 Read a column of Yoly Villanueva-Ong on the same issue.

Join the discussion on Facebook here.

Know more about the Sin Tax Bill:

Sin Tax Bill SB-3249

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Blog Watch receives the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  for their story on “Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda” . Forbes Philippines also received the same award.

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