Ellen Tordesillas is trustee and writer of VERA Files, supervising the "Media Ownership Monitor" Philippines. She works as columnist of the newspaper Malaya and its tabloid, Abante. She also is one of the country’s top political bloggers: www.ellentordesillas.com. In 1999, she won the Jaime V. Ongpin award for best investigative reporting for the special report on the Public Estates Authority- Amari deal, dubbed as “The Grandmother of all scams”, which she did together with Sheila Coronel for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. The same year, she was a Marshall McLuhan fellow. The Manila Rotary Club awarded her twice: in 1999 as Investigative Reporter of the Year, again together with Coronel, and in 2016 as Outstanding Female Opinion Writer. She co-wrote the book, “Hot Money, Warm Bodies – the downfall of President Joseph Estrada” in 2001, in collaboration with Australian journalist Greg Hutchinson
Lala Ordenes is a journalist and editor, working as VERA Files lead researcher for the “Media Ownership Monitor”. She has been with VERA Files since 2011 and has worked on various projects such as reporting on the Philippine judiciary, PWD (persons with disabilities), human trafficking, national elections, and road safety. Part of her work is to supervise VERA Files correspondents and interns. She is one of the pool of authors of VERA Files’ two books on PWD: “The Right to Vote: Filipinos with Disabilities and the 2013 Elections” and “Getting in Right, Reporting on Disabilities in the Philippines.” She is also part of the research team for the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication’s paper “The political economy of the news media in the Philippines and the framing of news stories on the GPH-CNN peace process” produced with funding from the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre. She used to work for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism before joining VERA Files.
Verlie Q. Retulin is a journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines- Diliman. A former intern at VERA Files, she has written stories on persons with disabilities and the 2016 elections. She works a research assistant for the “Media Ownership Monitor”.
Yvette Morales works a research assistant for the “Media Ownership Monitor”. She is a journalism graduate from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She was an intern at VERA Files, and has written stories on education, persons with disabilities, disaster risk reduction and the 2016 elections. She is an inducted member of the Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences.
Atty. Romel Regalado Bagares is the Executive Director of the Center for International Law (CenterLaw), a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of the Rule of Law in the Philippines and Asia through binding international legal norms. He has communication research (1994) and law (2003) degrees from the University of the Philippines and a master in social and political theory from the Vrije Universitiet Amsterdam (2007, cum laude). A former journalist, Mr. Bagares lectures in public international law at the Lyceum Philippines University College of Law and in Mass Media Law at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.
Lisa-Maria Kretschmer works as a project manager for the "Media Ownership Monitor", Head of Research Media Ownership Monitor, and responsible for the project implementation in the Philippines. Previously, she has worked in the field of human rights and resilience, amongst others for the German Development Agency (giz) and a Member of the German Parliament. In 2011, she supported an international research project on the role of media in conflict at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. This experience now contributes to her work for MOM as much as her previous positions in communications departments & agencies (profit & non-profit) for creating public awareness for human rights concerns. She studied political communication, journalism and economics in Germany (LMU Munich, FU Berlin), The Netherlands, Denmark and Israel.
Olaf Steenfadt heads the "Media Ownership Monitor" project and the "Journalism Trust Initiative" at the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, RSF. For many years, he has been engaged as a consultant and coach in media development cooperation. Mandates of international organizations and NGOs lead him primarily to Southeast Europe and the Arab world. He previously worked for national German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF in various roles, including as a radio and TV presenter, investigative reporter, domestic and foreign correspondent, as well as in format development and corporate communication. Olaf is a member of the "High-level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation" of the European Commission and of the "Committee of Experts on Quality of Journalism in the Digital Age" at the Council of Europe. He teaches frequently at universities in Germany and Europe.
Josefine Spannuth works as an intern for the "Media Ownership Monitor" project. She studies Cultural Studies and Digital Media with a focus on postcolonial difficulties nowadays and a special interest in Asia. In the future she plans to work at the interface of sustainable development cooperation and the influences of media. Before she worked in the NGO Hope Project in India/New Delhi. As an intern with the MOM she wants to gain further practical experience in the field.
VERA Files Incorporated is a nonprofit media organization committed to advancing excellence in journalism by engaging in research-intensive, high-impact reports in multiple formats and providing training, particularly mentoring of journalists.
Formed in April 2008 by six veteran journalists, VERA Files has conducted groundbreaking investigative reports and published news and features that are relevant, timely, unique and refreshing. Through its various projects, VERA Files has built a national network of local journalists in different parts of the country on various issues that range from human trafficking and persons with disabilities to South China Sea and road safety.
Its books include Reporting on Millennium Development Goal 5, Improve maternal and reproductive health (A Primer for journalists), Bittersweet Stories of Farm Workers in the Philippines, Local edge: Decent work–Stories from the grassroots, Democracy at Gunpoint: Election-Related Violence in the Philippines, Silenced: Extrajudicial Killings and Torture in the Philippines, The Right to Vote: Filipinos with Disabilities and the 2013 Elections, Getting in Right, Reporting on Disabilities in the Philippines.
VERA Files syndicates its output to newspapers, TV networks and other online sites but its main outlet is its website, http://www.verafiles.org. VERA Files produces its output in multiple formats.
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (Reporter Sans Frontières, RSF) was founded in Montpellier (France) in 1985 by four journalists. It is is registered in France as a non-profit organization and has consultant status at the United Nations and UNESCO. RSF advocates for media freedom, supports independent media and protects endangered journalists worldwide. Its missions are
- To continuously monitor attacks on freedom of information worldwide;
- To denounce any such attacks in the media;
- To act in cooperation with governments to fight censorship and laws aimed at restricting freedom of information;
- To morally and financially assist persecuted journalists, as well as their families.
- To offer material assistance to war correspondents in order to enhance their safety.
Since 1994, the German section is active in Berlin. Although the German section works closely with the International Secretariat in Paris to research and evaluate media freedom worldwide, it is organizationally and financially independent. In that role, it has applied for a grant at the federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – in order to finance the Media Ownership Monitor project.