Speaking of Media

Another journalist down
“The Arroyo government may argue until it is blue in the face that a culture of impunity does not exist in the country.
“It should tell that to the family of Palawan broadcaster Fernando “Dong” Batul, murdered early this morning on his way to anchor his regular Bastonero program on dyPR in Puerto Princesa.
“And to the families of Albert Orsolino, gunned down in Caloocan City on May 16, Iring Maranan, mauled just hours after Orsolino’s murder by San Pablo City, Laguna Councilor Edgardo Adajar in full view of 100 people, including other journalists, and our 40 other colleagues who have lost their lives in the five years since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came to power…
“And we stress that, while the killers in these cases may have been convicted, NOT A SINGLE MASTERMIND has ever been brought to justice. Not to mention the fact that, in many cases, the killings may be traced to agents of state security…
– National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, May 22

‘Solving’ a problem
“The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply troubled by recent statements made by presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye and the Philippine National Police (PNP) that many of the cases of journalists killed in the country have been solved and that the cases are unrelated to the issue of press freedom.
“Denying the problem of impunity for killers of journalists does a great disservice to the Philippine press and to the families of the slain journalists. As an independent organization dedicated to defending our colleagues worldwide, we urge you to ensure the arrest, trial and conviction of those responsible for killing Philippine journalists.”
– CPJ executive director Ann Cooper’s letter to President Arroyo, May 15

“Democracy depends on the free flow of information to the public, which depends on a press free to do its work without government intervention.”
– US Sen. Richard Lugar on the murders of journalists since 2000, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 5

“Philippine media is in a formidable struggle to remain free. It cannot rely on its material resources. It has no armed forces to protect its safety and integrity. It has, in fact, become the declared enemy of those in power and influence. No wonder then that some media outlets and certain media practitioners give in to one or more of its ABC curses: Anxiety. Bribery. Corruption.”
– Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, “Viewpoints,” The Daily Tribune, May 9

“My reminder to journalists is this: You are not philosophers speculating in ivory towers. The words you utter and print have real consequences in the real world we live in. Like everyone else, you are accountable for the consequences of your utterances. You may not with privileged alacrity cause undue harm—to your neighbors, to your government, to your country.”
– Filipino Lawyers for Good Governance. Inc. (FILGOOD) national chairman, Rick Abcede, as if writing for President Arroyo,  BusinessWorld, May 18

In observing May 3, which has been set by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day, members of the press call on the public to examine the situation and the dangers of clamping down on the work of the press and the media. There is a thin line that separates legitimate complaint against irresponsible journalism and intolerance for scrutiny and public evaluation.
As a nation that had previously endured a dictatorship, we should condemn any move towards the suppression of democratic rights and liberties.
– Statement signed by journalists and media organizations led by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility on World Press Freedom Day, May 3

History overlooked
“It is not well known that Tenzing’s (Norgay) daughter Nima lived in the Philippines. Like her famous father, she was an accomplished mountain climber herself, scaling heights in her teens, yet when love called, she married the least athletic of persons in the late graphic artist and book designer Noli Galang. When she got married, her father was not around to give her hand to her Filipino husband so that role was taken by Prince Peter of Greece. That nobody in the TV newsrooms knew this bit of information is a sad commentary on how little background research is being done in television news.”
– Ambeth Ocampo, Inquirer, May 19, on media’s failure to connect the recent Philippine expedition to the first successful attempt to reach Everest.

Now, who’s hao-siao?
“…it should be the easiest thing in the world to remove the hao-siao journalists in this country. Gonzalez himself knows who they are. They are the poseurs, mercenaries and quacks in the administration’s payroll.”
– Conrado de Quiros, Inquirer, on Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez’ offer to allow journalists to carry guns provided they removed illegitimate media practitioners from their ranks, May 29

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