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”

Thank you, Ramos Family

THE ILOCOS TIMES turns half a century plus two years in the service of the Ilocano, and it is fitting that we thank the family behind the institution.

While this paper is a family business, I don’t think its continuous operation is driven by profit.  Community newspapers are not known as big earners.  Truth to tell, many local newspapers in different provinces have folded up into oblivion on account of financial woes.  In Ilocos Norte alone, a couple of weeklies have come and gone, and only The Ilocos Times remains legitimate and strong.

Members of the Ramos Family, I’m sure, make sacrifices to let this paper thrive.  I assume there are issues when advertisements do not suffice to cover the cost of printing, even as the paper is sold at only seven pesos a copy, one of the cheapest in the Milky Way galaxy. Continue reading “Thank you, Ramos Family”

Cory’s gift and Steve’s burden

ICON. HERO. SAINT. Every possible tribute has been paid to Corazon Aquino, now touted, and rightfully so, as the most loved Filipino of all time.

Still, allow me to give mine. After all, I have always been a Cory fan long before today, when it has become fashionable to be one. Dennis Estacio, my grade school seatmate at the old Divine Word College of Laoag, would attest to this. To the consternation of our teachers whose lectures we occasionally disrupted, albeit unintentionally, Dennis and I, then only in Grade 1, often had impassioned debates on politics. As with almost all Ilocanos, Dennis was maka-Marcos. I was maka-Cory.

In 1986, I accompanied my dad to the voting booth, and bent his hand into voting for Cory. That was the second best thing to voting for her, which I could not do yet because I was just seven. The teachers did not mind that I accompanied my dad. To them, I was just a child. Continue reading “Cory’s gift and Steve’s burden”