Nothing but the truth

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


“STAND impartial and faithful to factual, substantive and empowering reportage,” exhorted President Benigno Aquino III to the new officers of the Negros Press Club, led by its president Carla Cañet of Sun.Star Bacolod and vice president Chrysee Samillano of The Visayan Daily Star.

Let me echo the President’s call to my colleagues in the local media. If we want to inject our opinions and biases in our news story, join our Op-Ed club. We in the opinion pages are paid to be partial in favor of our causes.

But like you, we share the same work ethics in writing for media. Report the truth, not the half-truths, or worse, the lies as vested interests dictate to us.

Anyone can spin a story or fairy tales. It’s a free country after all. But such freedom of expression is abridged when our stories populate whether in the local dailies, TV, broadcast, and social media.

We are like witnesses in court who take an oath to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God. Not the “truth” of news sources who are obviously lying through their teeth.

Of course it’s true that the sources made a statement. Whether what they said is true or not is something else altogether. What a good journalist should do is to check and countercheck with other sources to get a balanced news reporting.

That reminds me of the Indian fable of the five blind men and the elephant. What is truth? Is an elephant the tusk? The big ears, the huge legs or the tail?

Veteran news reporters working on tight deadlines don’t always have enough time to double check every statement an official makes. Thank God, there’s Google to help us with our harassed memories.

Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. hit it to use advances in the ICT sector for the media to pursue fair, responsible, objective and vigilant reporting.

Then of course, we should build extensive contacts among the various newsmakers. Google is a powerful search tool, I use it all the time as references when I write my columns.

I take umbrage at people who trot themselves as journos once they’re behind a sound booth and read or report on air the news.

I have been a victim of black propaganda in the last decade. The blocktimer whom I often see in press conferences never bothered to get our side of the story on reforestation projects of the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development in Salvador Benedicto.

We were about to file a complaint with the Negros Press Club but the scumbag decided to stop his rantings. To this day, the scumbag still attends press conferences, and one time even brazenly asked how much would anti-GMO advocates pay him to pick up our cause.

As German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche advised, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

For media outfits, that means we become less credible with our audiences if we are perceived as biased and loose with our facts especially in our news reporting.

With column writing, the columnist looks like a dumbo when he or she is limited to generalizations, without factual backups. On the other hand, the paper would be like a rag sheet with sloppy news writing.

Congratulations to Carla Cañet who in her inaugural address, said the media should always be guided by the values and principles of honesty, integrity, responsibility and most importantly, should always protect their good names and the good name of the Negros Press Club.

Report the truth, and nothing but the truth and the good name will be a given.

*****

You may contact Benedicto Q. Sánchez at bqsanc@yahoo.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 05, 2014.

Opinion

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