Hyping media relief efforts

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Saturday, December 7, 2013


SUPER typhoon Yolanda was not the strongest typhoon to hit the country. There were other powerful and devastating ones that hit the country and are still threatening to hit it. One of these is not in Pagasa’s records. It’s name? “Tukso.”

The song with the same title was popularized by Eva Eugenio and was a hit in the ‘70s: “Kay rami nang winasak na tahanan. Kay rami nang matang pinaluha. Kay rami nang pusong sinugatan.”

“Tukso.” It really was a devastating typhoon.

***

During the last-quarter meeting of the Cebu Citizens Press Council (CCPC) last Thursday at the Marcelo Fernan Press Center, an issue was raised regarding broadcast networks constantly hyping their relief efforts for victims of calamities like the recent super typhoon Yolanda.

Did these broadcast networks violate ethical standards? I say no. In fact, these media outlets should even be commended for their noble act. Allow me to clarify some points there.

I don't want to specifically mention GMA 7 Kapuso Foundation precisely because GMA 7 is my main employer. There might be a conflict of interest there. I am writing this as an ordinary citizen even though I cannot disassociate myself from the network.

What these broadcast outlets are doing are part of their social responsibility. Media owners are not only after revenues or profits. They have also that social responsibility of helping people and the community when the need arises.

Like some local government units and private companies, we at GMA 7 cancelled our Christmas party and will use the savings we get for the typhoon victims.

Why are media outlets giving importance (or let's call it publicity) to its relief efforts?

We get relief goods from well-meaning citizens, private companies, associations and even government organizations that trust us. Media hyping is a sort of a public accounting so the donors will know what has been done with their donations.

If you call it a publicity stunt, so be it. But we are doing it because we are accountable to our donors and also in the name of transparency.

If media accommodates requests for coverage by other non-government organizations and groups like the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), there is no reason why we will not also publicize our acts considering that we have the facilities and the capability to do it.

But back to Communication 101. Basically, the function of media is to inform, educate and entertain the listening, viewing and reading public. But because of its social responsibility, media is now into public service in its real sense.

Aside from just reporting the event, media is involved in relief efforts together with the private sector and even government instrumentalities.

Media and the private sector fill up the shortcomings of the government in providing for the immediate needs of calamity victims.

Just consider this. Right after typhoon Yolanda hit, GMA Kapuso Foundation and its partners, like the All-Terrain Medical Response Unit (Amru) headed by Dr. Wyben Briones, already dispatched a team to Bogo City and conducted a relief operation and medical mission there.

Where was the government at that time, especially the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWS)?

To television viewers: Don't feel discouraged that your favorite newscast is sometimes flooded with footages of our relief efforts. We are just also doing our part to help the community.

(bobby.nalzaro@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 07, 2013.

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