Photo me

ROMEO S. RUMBAOA, former police chief of Bangui and currently the chief security officer at the Capitol, tells me every time he gets the chance that I look much younger in person than in my photo in this space. The first time he told me that, I ignored it, thinking that he might be mistaking me for dear friend and fellow columnist Steve Barreiro whose hair, or the lack of it, is similar to mine.  Steve is decades wiser than I am. But Rumbaoa says he is really fond of our Riknakem, and I figured he truly is when he started giving me insights on specific articles he liked. I therefore decided to take his observation seriously.

I somehow believe that my column photo should really approximate how I look in person.  As this is not the case, some changes must be made. The first option would be for me to undergo cosmetic facial surgery, but I decided against it for two reasons. First, I do not have money for the procedure.  God knows how expensive it could get, and even if I had the means, I still would not splurge on it. I am sure there could be better uses for my money, ranging from sending an impoverished child to school to finally taking the Thailand trip I have long dreamed. Secondly, I would not go under the knife on fear of having a botched operation and ending up looking like Michael Jackson, Madam Auring, or Loi Estrada, who really look the same I have a difficult time distinguishing one from the other. Continue reading “Photo me”

Media Abuse

JOURNALIST TELLS the truth.  Powers-that-be get furious.  Powers-that-be hire assassins.  Journalist is murdered.  Public outrage follows.

One hopes, dear karikna, that the sequence is always as simple when a member of the media falls, but, sadly, there are complications.

One is tempted to say that media is to be blamed, too, for making the Philippines one of the top three most dangerous countries for journalists in the world (along with Iraq and Somalia), and Ilocos Norte a killing field for members of the Fourth Estate.  Corruption, impropriety, and unprofessional behavior cloud the practice of journalism here and in other parts.

Ergo, the death of a journalist is not always an attack against the truth.  It could also be a screaming statement against lies, spins, and half-truths, which are even more dangerous than lies.  A media worker wields tremendous power, which, if used irresponsibly, could backfire, and with fatal results.

There is no justifying though the ruthless killings of journalists which, from 1986, now number 137, 104 of which transpired under the Arroyo regime.  Not even the shadiest journalist deserves to be at the mercy of an assassin.  We have very strong libel laws to punish a malicious blabbermouth, and to redeem the dignity of an aggravated fellow.  In a supposedly civilized, democratic society such as ours, there is just no room for motorcycle-riding, gun-firing cowards.

The rampage should stop even as the truth must always be pursued.  This is not always easy because the world hates those who speak of inconvenient truths.  Socrates, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Jose Rizal, media men and women who did their craft with untainted integrity, and other martyrs of freedom and democracy know this very well.  However, when a journalist goes overboard, commits abuses, and gets killed because of it, it is not heroism, it is self-destruction. Continue reading “Media Abuse”