Reviving Capitol TV, newsletter-A A +A
Monday, January 14, 2013
IF THE plan of Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale pushes through, Sugbo TV and its printed component, Sugbo News, will resume operations today, Jan. 15.
Magpale didn’t say if there would be a reformatting of the cable television program or the newsletter after these were closed when she assumed as acting governor.
She didn’t say if there would be changes to correct what her camp had complained about these Capitol media outfits and their focus on Gov. Gwen Garcia and her brother, Rep. Pablo John Garcia, who will run for governor in the May polls. Governor Garcia earlier denied that the television station was being used to prop up her family’s political ambitions.
The plans may still be up in the air but reviving the two media outlets should require some changes in the way these are operated.
In ordering the closure days before Christmas, Magpale said she wanted a study of the outfits’ finances and personnel contracts. Magpale assumed as acting governor when Governor Garcia was ordered suspended after she was found guilty of grave abuse of authority. Garcia had said she would not leave her office until the Court of Appeals decides on her petition for review and issuance of a temporary restraining order.
With the resumption of operations of the television program and the newsletter, some changes would have to be made to correct suspicions of favoring one party and to clarify what exactly is the role of these media outfits.
Sugbo TV and Sugbo News are owned by the Provincial Government and are tools for disseminating information emanating from the Capitol. While they may look foolish criticizing the provincial leadership, it does not mean these two media outfits cannot do a good job at reporting what’s happening or what the people should know about their government.
They can report not only on the governor’s activities but also on events and undertakings of the other elected or administrative officials and offices. Don’t focus on one person because readers and viewers would also get tired of seeing the same face again and again. There may be other Capitol departments that are doing a good job but the public is not made aware of them.
Bring the Provincial Government to the public by airing live or in real-time activities such as Provincial Board sessions or meetings of the bids and awards committee. Programming does not have to focus on tourism alone. Let the public see the inside of the Capitol building and of other facets of governance in the province.
Public service should be a major component of the work of these two outfits. Emergency numbers, bus schedules, list of churches and their masses, the weather and other basic and useful information can be part of the regular reporting.
And, do not solicit advertisements from private businesses and organizations.
It leaves a bad taste in the mouth when government media competes for advertising money with private media. A government office that solicits an ad placement from a contractor or supplier of a government project need not push hard to get it. That gives government media undue advantage over other media.
Government media have their limitations. Government owns them; but their reporting does not have to be boring.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2013.