Media on the take-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
"TIS the season to be jolly-especially for media people on the take. While the Christmas holidays are over, the local electoral campaign is about to start. And for corrupt politicians, they're busy making a list and checking it twice to find out who has been naughty among our local media practitioners.
Okay, I'll let you in on a secret, dear Readers-I wasn't born yesterday. Years ago, block timers on a local radio station attacked me and my colleagues working for the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (BIND).
For nearly a month, we ignored the scurrilous attacks; we felt there was nothing to hide. The ranters had no ethical dilemmas since these hacks never even tried to get our side. But we felt the verbal assaults were instigated by local politicians who were getting us back for our support against an illegal logging campaign.
Besides, we avoided dignifying the lies broadcast all over the province. Our mountain farmers, however, felt insulted with the slander against us. They wanted us to reply.
I decided to record the daily black propaganda. Too bad, we started monitoring the program with the intent of recording the block timers' rants so we can file an official complaint to the Negros Press Club.
Our timing was off, however. The "program" failed to make our day; their anchor's rants and raves have stopped. We cannot of course file a complaint based on what others have said. That would be what lawyers say a complaint based on hearsay, or what we in media call a corriente or a bum steer.
The Holy Bible says in Matthew 7:16 that "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?"
What are the fruits that our target audience should learn from media people who are on the take and how can they differentiate them from legitimate journos?
Recently, MediaNation, a network that holds regular conversations with different media stakeholders, signed a covenant with various publics whether internal or external to the industry against media corruption.
Obviously, taking a leaf from P-Noy's slogan "walang mahirap kung walang corrupt," MediaNation views the May 2013 elections as openings to deal with media stakeholders and their publics to clean the Augean stables in the industry.
For starters, those who signed MediaNation's Covenant are enjoined to shun "envelopmental" journalism, or to solicit payment from political candidates for media favors.
The signatories vow that they will neither accept nor solicit any such payment or form of compensation for favors.
The Covenant enjoins media practitioners to commit themselves to becoming stool pigeons by reporting instances of corruption in the media: "In the case of the news subjects/sources among us, to report these to the media; in the case of us journalists, to report on these in our media."
The Covenant signatories include Business World chairman Vergel O. Santos, GMA News Online editor-in-chief Horacio "Howie" Severino, ABS-CBN chief Regina "Ging" Reyes, TV5 chief Luisita "Luchi" Cruz-Valdez, Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug, LDP spokesman Miguel "Mike" Romero, Cagayan Rep Juan Ponce Enrile Jr., and former senator Ramón Magsaysay Jr.
The Covenant called for the political parties and their candidates publicly commit that they will not offer journalists and other media practitioners and their principals any payment or form of compensation for favors.
The Covenant challenged media practitioners to channel our efforts toward "self-cleansing, and renewing our commitment to public service." Can our Negrense media and local candidates who are non-signatories to the Covenant bind ourselves to the challenge posed by MediaNation?
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 25, 2013.