Sunday July 22, 2018

Mainstream media, Mocha Uson

WHEN dzRH radio, owned by Manila Broadcasting Co., suspended indefinitely a commentary program by Mocha Uson, President Duterte’s “supporter and propagandist,” it set off some ripples in the media industry.

For two reasons:

[1] Broadcast is not known for disciplining its hard-hitting commentators and news anchors. They are even encouraged to be vitriolic and acerbic, to sow fear in the airlines and develop a mass following. Obviously, for ratings, which drive basic programming to compete for the news organization’s share of advertising revenue.

[2] Uson, a multi-talented person (dancer, singer, writer who’s better known for his blog, twitter and Facebook comments) is deemed to be a social media creature outside the realm of mainstream media protocol.

Broadcast Code

Why then the punitive action, which MBC said would stay in force until Uson would pass an accreditation seminar?

MBC apparently believes that everyone under its ambit must follow broadcasting rules, which are laid down in the 2007 Broadcast Code of the broadcasters group Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

And MBC believes that, even for broadcasters in general, known for their venom and meanness, Uson crossed the line.

What did she say? Here’s a sampler from Uson’s live streaming last March 18, as reported in a March 23 story:

(To Vice President Leni Robredo)

“Kasi nga sinungaling ka at fake news ka… Huwag mong ara-arawin ang katangahan mo. (Cuss words bleeped out.) .. Bumili ka nga utak! Nakahawa na yang katangahan mo... Sobra na talagang nakakagalit ang kabobohan ng babae na to.”

(On local media)

“Ito namang mga local presstitutes natin, puro pera ang iniisip kay sa kapakanan ng bayan.”

Limited to

An advocacy group called The Silent Majority, in a formal complaint to MBC, said under the Broadcast Code “public affairs programs and commentaries shall be handled only by persons who have thorough knowledge of and practice broadcast ethics.” Those programs “shall strive to elicit responsible views on public issues, concerns and events from all sectors of society.”

Uson could get back on the air after after a seminar, which is supposed to teach her the KBP precepts.

But could she, would she learn to follow mainstream media values when she has started and succeeded as an internet writer, to whom no rules apply except those that internet and social media sites care to enforce?

She could tell MBC to shove its rules up its ass. She could limit her writing to social media.

MBC’s efforts are clear. They’re trying to uphold values that through the years have made mainstream journalism a force in sober and rational conversation.


Struck twice in a month

Early this month, Mocha Uson was briefly suspended from Twitter. Possible reasons, which Twitter didn’t specify: spam, account secrecy at risk, and abusive behavior. Then the indefinite suspension from DZRH.

It could be due to her intense passion to have Vice President Leni Robredo impeached. Uson seemed to have pulled all stops and gone full speed ahead.

Whatever, operating in two worlds -- mainstream and the world of web -- she must be confused as to when she could throw away the rules and when she must embrace them.