Navarro, Navarro, and more Navarro

JEERS TO TV Patrol and 24 Oras for allotting a large percentage of air time to the incident involving celebrity-host Vhong Navarro, and failing to provide reports on key issues and events that day.

On January 23, the beating of Navarro made headlines on local television news programs. The incident was linked to a blotter report filed by a 22-year-old model-stylist accusing the artist of rape.

Navarro appeared on ABS-CBN’s showbiz program Buzz ng Bayan to narrate his version of the events of January 22. Navarro’s camp later said that he was suing the model, a certain Cedric Lee, a certain Mike and other unidentified men for serious physical injuries, illegal detention and extortion.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) monitored the news programs TV Patrol and 24 Oras on January 27 and found that the entire news program was practically devoted to the Navarro incident to the neglect of other, more important events.

ABS-CBN 2’s TV Patrol devoted 36 minutes and 41 seconds, or 65 percent of its entire air time, on Navarro. The news program had a total of eight stories on the incident including reports on the possible procedural lapses of the Southern Police District, an interview with the model and Lee, an interview with Navarro’s lawyer, and reports on celebrities and netizens expressing support for the celebrity-host.

TV Patrol anchor Korina Sanchez said at the end of the program: “…at si Vhong, magpagaling ka Vhong, mahal ka namin (and to you Vhong, get well soon. We love you).” Navarro is one of the hosts of ABS-CBN 2’s noontime variety show It’s Showtime.

GMA 7’s 24 Oras used 23 minutes and 55 seconds, or 43 percent of its entire airtime, to report on the incident. The program had seven news reports including an interview with Lee and the model, a report on the NBI investigation on the case, and a statement from GMA management. Earlier news reports said that the model is related to GMA 7’s Chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon, but was later denied by the station.

The focus on Navarro edged out of the news programs the signing of the last annex of the Bangsamoro or the MILF peace process, the demolition in Agham Road, Malaysia’s crackdown on illegal aliens, and deliberations in Congress on the Freedom of Information bill.