As of this writing, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has pretty much slammed the door on the face of the Philippines’ clique of for-profit Corporate Media “journalists” and now relies on state-owned (not-for-profit) People’s Television (PTV4) Network and Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) for the issuance of public updates. Every “journalist” and her dog is screaming bloody “censorship”. But, really, was “freedom of the press” curtailed?
As soon-to-be former President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III would say: “But you did not die, right?”
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Indeed, press freedom in the Philippines is alive and well. The mediocre “news reporting” continues and the din of hysterical chatter on social media persists. People are still free to speculate, opine, and theorise on public platforms. After all, it will take a control regime in the scale that Red China had implemented to control all this now that the Internet has all but democratised mass communication.
Philippine Corporate Media had it coming for a long time. For thirty years it enjoyed god-like status in the Philippines following the 1986 “revolution” that, supposedly, was a referendum on the “dictatorship” of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos. What specifically stung Filipinos by the Marcos regime was a “lack of press freedom”. This, we are told, is what hobbled the Philippines’ march to progress — because there was no free “Fourth Estate” to keep government honest and keep the public informed on pertinent issues.
Did thirty years of “press freedom” undo all that?
That is the confronting question today’s crop of Filipino “journalists” and their corporate employers need to answer. Speficially:
Has Philippine Corporate Media;
(1) done a good job keeping the Philippine Government honest; and,
(2) done a good job keeping the public informed on pertinent issues?
We’ll leave the madla to decide whether to hang medals on their “heroic” “journalists” or tar and feather them after evaluating how much value they had added to society over the last 30 years of “freedom” to “express”.
Perhaps the best people to consult on how “heroic” Philippine Corporate Media soldiers are are the families of the nine Hong Kong tourists who were slaughtered by rogue police officer Rolando Mendoza during a botched hostage situation in 2010. Unethical reporting practices employed by scoop-hungry reporters who swarmed to the crime scene contributed to the fatal degeneration of the situation. A report published by Stratfor described the debacle caused by an irresponsible media presence…
One of the essential principles in this effort is to isolate the hostage-taker so that he or she cannot receive outside communication, motivation, encouragement or other forms of support. Hostage negotiators seek to control the flow of all information into or out of the crime scene. That did not occur in this case. Mendoza was able to talk to outsiders on his cell phone and even gave media interviews. He was also able to use the television in the bus to watch live media coverage of the incident, including video of the deployment of police officers. This gave him a considerable advantage and far more information than what he could have observed with his eyes from inside the curtained bus.
Indeed, Filipino reporters are known to even barge into emergency rooms and shove cameras, floodlights, and microphones into patients’ and medical personnel’s faces in their routinely desperate quests for stories.
Hypocrisy seems to be the standout word underlying the conduct of Philippine Corporate Media in many instances — they apply an approach to “journalism” that is a far cry from the sober and dignified regard for the practice in bygone days.
Perhaps it is because the “journalism” community in the Philippines is really just a small clique of mutual-high-fiving boys and girls who, because of unhealthy familiarity with one another, are generally disinclined to police their own ranks and call-out bad behaviour amongst one another. Indeed, to this day, Rappler reporters Carmela Fonbuena and Magtanggol de la Cruz have yet to be taken to account for their offenses against the Philippines’ bank secrecy laws when they published private banking details of the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012.
Bad behaviour and unethical practices abound in Philippine media! Another example of behaviour inconsistent with principles and “decency” is the social media initiative #RP69FanFic reportedly launched by “film critic” and ABS-CBN lifestyle contributor Philbert Dy (and promoted by corporate media sites) which rallied Netizens to post lewd stories and memes about Sandro Marcos (son of vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos) and Baste Duterte (son of President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte). The hashtag (warning: link leads to a Twitter profile that serves content not fit for minors) became a “trending topic” on Twitter and was fanned by a who’s-who of hipster media personalities and Jesuit-educated chi-chi folk many of whom, today, lead chatter surrounding the “indecent” soundbytes issued by Duterte in what was once routine (now defunct) meetings with the press.
It is therefore not surprising that Philippine society is an utterly confused society. The late Singaporean elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew had a few things to say about the dubious contribution of the Philippine media to this young and developing nation. Lee observed that…
[…] a wieldy partisan press helped Filipino politicians to flood the market place of ideas with junk […]
and that it…
[…] confused and befuddled the Filipino people so they could not see what their vital interests were in a developing country. And because basic issues like economic growth and equitable distribution was seldom discussed and were not tackled, the democratic system malfunctioned.
Trust Mr. Lee to handily sum up the Philippines in no more than two sentences.
This is the Philippines outsiders see — the very outsiders that Philippine society’s inward-looking cliques of “activists” and “thought leaders” could have learned a lot of things from if they had not been too busy dismissing valuable insight coming from a community of observers who have lots to offer by way of confronting outsiders’ perspectives.
More importantly, this is the Philippines that is a product supposedly of a “free” press that styled itself as a community that aimed to serve Filipinos, keep them informed about important and relevant issues, and challenge the Establishment to stay at the top of its game. Instead of all that, Filipinos got mere entertainment. For thirty years.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.
16 Replies to “Philippine Corporate Media have FAILED the Filipino people”
To divert the agony of the majority, media esp. TV stations flooded the market with none sense telenovelas, while the landed few continue with the ripping off of the wealth of the nation. Journalists have been used to advance “their” selfish cause. Hypocrisy has always a place in journalism and very lucrative job for those who want to have easy money by selling their stories or being used by politicians, further confounding the populace. The last national election had further proven the manipulation of news, opinion of others, etc. to advance their usual propaganda or simply falsehood. Cry for press freedom? Well, I don’t think the journalists (or truth breakers) deserve it in the first place.
So is this the real reason why our country rank as the 3rd most dangerous place in the world for journalists due to corporate greed & corruption on Philippine media not by wars & authoritarian rule on the government? I say yes, and this should address it to our media but then again they’re just too ignorant, greedy & utak talangka & they will not wake on their own.
The question now is, how will gonna end this problem on Philippine media even under the Duterte’s administration? The answer is probably if we could follow the Singaporean style on handling the media & a make tougher law that forbids or penalize bias media reporting, corruption & corporate greed on our country’s media companies, and speaking of Singapore, this is what that country did to their country’s media companies. Unlike at the time of Marcos era were there was shutting down of TV, radios & publishing companies & media censorship was very common at that time, in Singapore instead of having a media censorship there & retain the press freedom in their country, they have a law that limits the number of publication per day or per year if that newspaper or publication company had published a bias news reports. In the case of TV & radios, they’ll gonna pay a huge fine for doing a bias media reporting & the Singaporean government have a small owner percentage to their country’s media companies so that the government have a full control on that industry without the fear of shutting down its business. And this should be done to our incoming president Rody Duterte on the issue on Philippine media and if he’ll do that, then our country will no longer be one of the most dangerous place for the journalists & there’ll be more informative, unbiased, accountable & transparent media industry in our country.
By the way, if someone wants to post a blog regarding on the UN & Duterte, well I’ll give you this link to read it & feel free to post your comments here.
Imagine watching a movie where the chaperone on the sidelines grabs the scene and turns into third-party lover and the central protagonist of the story – Well that’s PH media (sobrang galing pumapel).
Sooner or later PDI, GMA, ABS-CBN, PH-Star… will be running the country with the President as their puppet and the masses at their mercy.
Nothing new about Media. Nothing new about statements being released through RTVM that’s always been the official channel of the government. Also, the problem with media is that politicians and businessman allied with politicians own many media companies. So we will always get news that favors a side and often violates journalistic principles. People now turn to websites like Get Real Philippines as an alternate source to main media. But we need more alternatives. A public broadcasting system should have been in place years ago, like in the U.S. Ah yes, the U.S., the same problem is happening, media owned by biased business, as discussed in the book The Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosentiel.
Also in Gadi Wolfsfeld’s Making Sense of Media and Politics.
Failippine corporate media has been failing the Failipino people since 1986, with its brainwashing campaign that the EDSA Revolution was a success through “The People Power”.
Then “The People Power” became “Pinoy Pride” and “Proud to Be a Filipino” campaigns. The corporate media blew smoke up the people’s asses and called them “heroes,” encouraged them to leave their loved ones behind to work overseas as OCW/OFWs and expats, sincere there’s no more opportunities left in their own land because the Yellow Party of Chekwas have literally monopolized all economic sectors.
The remittance monies that OFWs and expats sent back to the Failippines were used to owned the oligarch politicians and businesses, and it’s been that way ever since. The corporate media was instrumental in turning the whole country into a Feudal society.
100% correct analysis Aeta!
[Correction section of my earlier commented]
“The remittance monies that OFWs and expats sent back to the Failippines were used to ‘owned’ [enrich] the [Yellow] oligarch politicians and [Chinese-owned] businesses, and it’s been that way ever since.”
[Another Corrected version/section of my earlier comment. I don’t know what’s wrong with my writing today]
“The remittance monies that OFWs and expats sent back to the Failippines were used to enrich the oligarch politicians and Chinese-owned businesses, and it’s been that way ever since.”
The Corporate Media giants are owned by Feudal Oligarchs, like the Lopezes, etc…these so called “Journalists” are in the payroll of these Corporate Media. If these “Journalists” go against the likes of the Corporate Media owner. Surely, they will be Fired. So, they have to “toe” the line. Write what their Bosses want them to write. Aquino and the ABS-CBN have a symbiotic relationship. It was manifested in the impeachment of the late Supreme Court CJ Corona.
The Philippine Media is like a “Carabao” tethered , at its nose. The Media owners, control the movement of the tethered animal. Pull right, the Journalist, go right. Pull left, the Journalist , go left. Pull up, the Journalist, slows down…I have’nt forgotten where, I came from; I still know how to control/ride on a Carabao…
And these idiot Yellowtards, call this “Freedom of the Press” ? It is Freedom to ingratiate themselves to their Bosses. They are more of Puppets, than Journalists…
What freedom men and women could have, were they not constantly tricked and trapped and enslaved and tortured by their sexuality! The only drawback in that freedom is that without it one would not be a human. One would be a monster.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should not listen to our country’s media so much that’s because its full of garbage.
To Mr. benign0, on Mr. Lee Kwan Yew:
“[…] a wieldy partisan press helped Filipino politicians to flood the market place of ideas with junk […]
[…] confused and befuddled the Filipino people so they could not see what their vital interests were in a developing country. And because basic issues like economic growth and equitable distribution was seldom discussed and were not tackled, the democratic system malfunctioned.”
What the late, good statesman from Singapore might have assumed…incorrectly…is that ‘journalists’ in the Philippines are as well schooled and as well grounded, (never mind ‘principled’), as those in the ‘The Straits Times’ (Singapore), and ‘The Standard’ and the ‘South China Morning Post’, (Hong Kong). Except for a precious handful, in ‘The Manila Times’ and ‘The Manila Bulletin’, who have neither clout nor following, Philippine journalists are either ‘controlled’, and influenced by the publishers’ agenda…or, are “unreadable’ anyway. All one has to do to ascertain this , is to read any issue of ‘The Philippine Star’ and ‘The Philippine Daily Inquirer’. Mr. Lee, as well, seems to have overestimated both the reach of Philippine newspapers and the interest, (or literacy) of the Filipino voter…70% of whom are in towns and ‘barangays”… and, to whom, current events and weighty issues are heralded directly by politicians and their local flunkies. Going by these premises, not only was the late Singaporean statesman, (his voice is sorely missed), misinformed about the real Philippines, but that, Philippine media, (except for Vice Ganda and Eat Bulaga) is quite irrelevant.
Many people have noticed over the past few days that the old yellow troll accounts on social media and the blogosphere have been reactivated. Someone is funding them again. Rappler and Inquirer are also now heavily censoring pro-Duterte comments on their websites.
This made me realize something—the yellow media will never be fair to Duterte. Ever.
The yellow media are a lost cause. It is time for the president’s team to switch from a reactive approach to a proactive approach. The best way to counter the yellow media’s black propaganda is not to keep trying to correct them (reactive), but to build a new communications infrastructure around President Duterte and his men that is completely independent of the yellow media (proactive).
President Duterte is an easy sell. People always want to see him and know what he’s doing. He has his own crowd-drawing power. With internet technology and access to government channels, it is not impossible to build a communications infra large enough to counter the Yellow Ecosystem within a short span of time, say, 3-6 months.
(Read more about the Yellow Ecosystem here: http://grpshorts.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/looking-into-propaganda-machine-of.html)
The media networks of the large religious groups that support President Duterte like Igelsia Ni Kristo’s Net 25, UNTV, Pastor Quiboloy’s Sonshine Channel can also be tapped.
A big percentage of the content produced by the yellow media comes from announcements and disclosures of government agencies. If the government diverts this content to its own well-run news channel and website (including the government procurement notices and job ads), it can attract a big audience very, very fast.
There are so many people who are sick and tired of the toxicity, negativity, hypocrisy, and duplicity of the yellow media. Many of us would stop watching the news on ABS-CBN and stop reading Rappler and Inquirer completely if we had more alternative sources of news.
The hardworking, responsible, productive citizens of this country are longing for positive, constructive reporting. We want stories that help us learn more about the useful things that the government, police, and military are doing, like the 911 helpline, the OFW one-stop shop, the simplified business application and tax filing procedures, etc. We have already seen glimpses of this from video clips on YouTube. For example, when Sec. Art Tugade explained the root causes of the traffic problem in Metro Manila and his recommended solutions at the Senate, it was very educational, like a class on transport management. We need to see more of this type of healthy, constructive, informative, mentally uplifting content.
We have entered a once-in-a-lifetime period of genuine public service since the new administration took over, and it is a crying shame that the oligarch-backed media—now also the drug-lord-backed media—are trying to distort everything to obstruct the Duterte admin’s ability to deliver the reforms and services that we Filipinos need. The yellow media and their backers, in their selfish obsession to take back the power that they lost after Duterte won, don’t care if they destroy our country’s reputation in the process and block the government’s efforts to improve the lives of our countrymen. They just care about getting what they want. They won’t stop, so the only thing we can do is walk away and leave them behind.
Sobra na, tama na, palitan na. Enough is enough. We slammed the door on Daang Matuwid during the elections, now let us slam the door on the destructiveness of the yellow media who feed us nothing but poison and hate. Sec. Martin Andanar, please give us a new well-produced primetime news program to watch and a new comprehensive news website to read so we can log off the yellow media once and for all. If you’re concerned about criticisms on lack of editorial independence, please don’t be. The world we live in today gives us vast access to information so we can decide for ourselves which version of the truth to believe. Editorial independence is a myth, anyway, because every journalist has his biases, whether he admits it or not. Besides, the yellow media’s concept of editorial independence is so Eighties, like hairspray and shoulder pads. Most of them are stuck in a Martial Law time warp (including the younger journos whom the seniors have infected with their jaundice), so their causes revolve around a very narrow set of worn-out themes (i.e. censorship, ill-gotten wealth, a simplistic understanding of human rights). This outdated 1980’s brand of yellow journalism is so pointless and counterproductive, it should be left behind to the dwindling few who refuse to move forward and embrace change. Magsawa sila sa ka-ek-ekan nila, basta tayo, move on na. Tara na!