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Team

Availability of a competent partner organization in a country is critical for effective implementation of the Media OwnershipMonitor (MOM) project. MOM would not have been possible without the commitment and passion shown by the local team convened by VERA Files

MOM Team

Ellen Tordesillas, President, VERA Files

She writes news features, investigative reports and opinion columns which appear in  Malaya Business Insight and VERA Files.

As reporter of Ang Pahayagang Malaya (now Malaya Business Insight) she had covered the education,health and science, the Presidential Commission on Good Government and foreign affairs beats before she was assigned to cover politics.She covered the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos  (1992-1998).

She was the 1998 Marshall McLuhan fellow.

She co-wrote  with Australian journalist Greg Hutchinson the book, “Hot Money, Warm Bodies – the downfall of President Joseph Estrada” in 2001.

She was guest of the Hamburg Foundation for Politically Persecuted People in 2020 during the oppressive presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

Elma M. Sandoval, Editor, VERA Files

ELMA M SANDOVAL has been an editor at VERA Files since 2021, both for print and video outputs produced by the team. Her journalism experience is primarily with People’s Journal, a nationally-circulated tabloid where she served as reporter covering the presidency and the House of Representatives (Congress), and later as news and features editor during her 10-year tenure with the media company. She has also worked as a communications officer and media consultant for public officials and handled freelance public relations communication.

Tricia Denise Zafra, Lead researcher

Tricia is a licensed psychologist, journalist, university lecturer, and an advocacy specialist. She is the Relationships Editor of online magazine Subselfie.com and writes about mental health from time to time. She co-authored a mental health handbook for journalists, and was part of a peer support program for media workers in distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. She works as a clinical psychologist at Argao Psych and Mind Care Center of Perpetual Help Medical Center. She also teaches social science at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. Tricia is among the 2023 Psychology Licensure Exam top notchers, ranking 2nd. Prior to becoming a mental health professional, she had a 12-year career as a multi-awarded broadcast journalist, reporting on social issues, politics, crime, and health, among others. She was a news correspondent and anchor for RPN 9 and GMA 7, and worked as an Executive Producer for CNN Philippines.  She later joined Doctors Without Borders – HongKong as Communications Officer, and served in the government as Chief of Public Relations and Information Division of the Philippine Space Agency.

Ivel John Magbanua Santos, Junior Researcher 

Ivel is a former researcher/reporter under the "Fact-checking Public Figures" team of VERA Files. Aside from debunking misinformation and disinformation in the last five years of working as a fact-checker for VERA Files since 2019, he produced podcast episodes and articles on various topics such as the South China Sea territorial disputes and the International Criminal Court's probe into the Duterte administration's bloody war on drugs. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (Manila branch).  

Katie Chelsy Perez, Junior Researcher 

KC is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She recently earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philippine Studies, with majors in Philippine Literature and Broadcast Media Arts and Studies. Her research interests include the political economy of media, Philippine revolutionary movements, local history, and cultural studies. KC envisions leveraging her academic prowess to develop critical perspectives that can be used to analyze and address the myriad challenges and issues prevalent in society and contribute to a deeper understanding of the socio-political fabric of the Philippines.

Atty. Romel Regalado Bagares, author of legal assessment

Mr Romel Regalado Bagares has communication and law degrees from the University of the Philippines and a master’s degree (cum laude) from the  Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He teaches international law, human rights law, legal method, and philosophy of law courses at three Manila law schools (Lyceum of the Philippines University, San Sebastian College Recoletos Manila Graduate School of Law LLM program, and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, respectively). He is also a professorial lecturer and member of the Department of International Law and Maritime Law of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA), the official training institution for judges and judges-in-training established by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. In law school, he won the Myres S. McDougal Writing Prize in International Law and Legal Theory and the Justice Irene Cortes Writing Prize in Constitutional Law and served as an editor of the Philippine Law Journal, the country's oldest legal journal published in the English language. His most recent publications are an essay in a volume on the History and Theory of Customary International Law , Cambridge University Press, May 2022) and the Philippine Chapter for the Oxford Handbook on International Law in Asia and the Pacific (Oxford University Press, 2019).A third essay is forthcoming  with Routledge (June 2024) for a British Institute of International and Comparative Law book project on the pedagogy of international law. For 12 years (2004-2016), he litigated many public interest, free expression,  and human rights cases for the Center for International Law-Philippines and served for nearly a decade as its Executive Director. Before turning to law, he worked as a reporter for eight years with The Philippine Star, covering  church and civil society, national police, defense, interior and local governments. 

Olaf Steenfadt, Global Project Director, Global Media Registry

Olaf 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, Project Manager, Global Media Registry

Josefine supported the MOM Philippines 2023 edition as Project Manager. This was her second time working on the project with VERA Files. She previously assisted MOM Philippines in 2016 as part of Reporters Without Borders. In 2018, she also worked on MOM India and MOM Pakistan. In addition to her MOM work, Josefine develops and manages research projects for GMR, expanding and refining its database on international media ecosystems. As part of a research partnership between GMR and the Global Media and Internet Concentration Project (GMICP) she is currently researching media concentration in Germany.

Lea Auffarth Spannuth, Head of Operations, Global Media Registry

Lea coordinates the implementation of the Media Ownership Monitor's editions, and manages some of them directly. Previously, Lea has worked for the press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, where she coordinated the Journalism Trust Initiative (JTI) and headed the development of its IT infrastructure. Other work on media transparency, literacy, and ethics include the ‘Media Ownership Monitor’ (MOM) and Lebanese Samir Kassir Foundation’s ‘Digital Rights Project’. Lea is a trained journalist and has worked with the German public broadcaster WDR as well as regional press. She holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from King’s College London.

Nafisa Hasanova, Head of Research, Global Media Registry

Nafisa managed Media Ownership Monitor projects in Ukraine (2016), Serbia (2017), Albania (2018), Sri Lanka (2018), India and Pakistan (2019). She was also involved in the Journalism Trust Initiative, from the RSF team. Before joining RSF, Nafisa worked on the Transdniestrian Settlement Process for the Finnish Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) founded by the former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari. Prior to that she worked as policy officer for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia for APRODEV (now ACT Alliance EU), EU Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM) for Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). Nafisa holds an MA in Intercultural Communication and European Studies from the University of Applied Sciences in Fulda, Germany. She completed a BA in English Philology at the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages in Uzbekistan.

VERA Files

VERA Files is a nonstock, nonprofit media organization registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission in May 2008.

Established by six veteran journalists, the organization’s chief purposes, as embodied in its articles of incorporation, are to: (1) engage in the research, writing, production and distribution of news and other media products and related services in multiple formats, including but not limited to print broadcast and online, to advance excellence in journalism; and (2) provide a venue for the training of journalists, students and educators in the practice of excellent journalism.

VERA Files undertakes fact checking to fight misinformation and disinformation. It is a third-party fact-checking partner of Meta (formerly Facebook) and a signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network.

VERA Files conducts fact-check trainings with students, civil society groups, professional groups, and Filipino overseas workers.

The main outlet for VERA Files’ editorial output is its website (https://verafiles.org) and promoted in various social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, Instagram. It is also on Spotify. VERA Files has produced stories and organized seminars and workshops for journalists and members of civil society organizations from all over the Philippines on such themes as the South China Sea conflict, election reporting, climate change, human trafficking, extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, people with disabilities, and road safety.  It employs a rights-based approach to its reporting.

In addition to its regular fare of fact checks, in-depth reports and commentaries, VERA Files has produced books and manuals that include VERAfied, a DIY guide to fact checking and fighting fake news; a manual on health fact checking in comics format; Reporting on Millenium Development Goal 5: Improve maternal and reproduction health;  Democracy at Gunpoint: Electoral Violence in the Philippines; Silenced: Extrajudicial Killings and Torture in the Philippines; The Right to Vote: Filipinos with Disabilities and the 2013 Elections; and Getting it Right: Reporting on Disability in the Philippines.

In 2016, VERA Files in partnership with the German section of Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders, RSF), undertook the Media Ownership Monitoring project that looked into the real powers behind media in the country. 

To know more about VERA Files, visit its website here: verafiles.org

Global Media Registry

The Global Media Registry (GMR) collects, compiles and provides – either publicly available or self-reported – datasets and contextual information on media outlets around the world.

In doing so, the objective is to enhance transparency, accountability and responsibility in the information space. Thus, the GMR facilitates better choices and decision making, both algorithmic and human, of all stakeholders. These may include every citizen and consumer, regulators and donors, as well as the private sector – for example advertisers and intermediaries (a. k. a. platforms and distributors).

By providing this public service as a social enterprise, the Global Media Registry contributes to the advancement of the freedoms of information and expression at large.

It was founded as a spin-off from the Media Ownership Monitor project, which it now operates as a non-for-profit LLC registered under German law.

  • Project by
    VERA Files
  •  
    Global Media Registry
  • Funded by
    BMZ
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