Exploiting people’s weakness through broadcast
There is no justification for exploiting people’s weakness and hopelessness.
Last Monday, my fellow station manager, Raul Credo, of IFm handed to me a hard copy of a letter from Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Cebu Chapter Chairman Victor Toledo.
It is addressed to all KBP member stations with the content of strictly following the Broadcast Code. Part of paragraph 2 of the letter states, “Please refrain from airing number games on your stations. The KBP code prohibits the same. Penalties, fines and revocation of the license to operate may be imposed if proven the commission of the aforesaid violations…”
I suppose that the KBP Chairman refers to the illegal airing of number games or giving of tips on-air because there are number games that are considered legal and authorized by the government like the games initiated by PCSO.
For illegal games, the broadcast code states that “the announcement of tips, results and schedules of illegal gambling activities is prohibited” (Article 18, section 6 of the Broadcast Code).
However, for legal games, the one duly authorized by government, what is prohibited only is the announcement of tips on-air. Section 5 of the same article states that “the announcement of results and schedules of horseracing, cockfighting, lotteries and jai-alai may be allowed only for those which have been duly authorized by law. However, the announcement of tips is prohibited.”
Furthermore, Section 4 of same article states, “Gambling shall never be presented as something good, nor shall the public be encouraged to engage in it.”
Admittedly, however, some of my colleagues in the broadcast industry float the idea of giving illegal numbers in news and public affairs programs because, anyway, they say, others are doing it also and it can “help” in the radio ratings’ game.
I vehemently disagree for at least four reasons. First, it is against the KBP Code as I discussed already in the preceding paragraph. I fully agree to the point of the KBP chairman on the matter.
Second, I don’t believe that it can help in attracting more listeners. Modesty aside, and with all due respect to other program hosts, my “Straight to the Point” radio program has consistently emerged as the most listened to of all radio programs across all categories in all radio stations in Metro Cebu based on the official survey conducted by KBP and Kantar media. I am proud to say that I neither tried nor attempted to resort to giving tips or illegal numbers on-air. I still believe that among radio listeners there are more non-gamblers than gamblers.
Third, giving tips or number combination on-air is tantamount to giving false hopes to the listeners. Truthfully, they are not true; otherwise, broadcasters would have been the ones to gamble such numbers. They would have been very rich if that is the case. I hope that broadcasters would not take advantage of some listeners’ weakness.
Fourth, broadcasters are supposed to be advocates of truth. I could not imagine if all broadcasters will give tips or illegal numbers on-air as some have expressed already their plan to do it because, according to them, some have done it anyway. I know that station managers and broadcasters may have the capacity to resort to such kind of antic technique. But the risk is high: the destruction of the broadcast industry.
Hence, I appreciate the KBP chairman of his courage to remind the radio stations on the matter. I know every broadcaster understands the Code. Everyone only needs to be reminded. The chairman can expect a full cooperation from our stations, dyHP and IFm, of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN).
I can give an assurance that our news and public affairs programs are not into giving tips or engaging illegal numbers on-air. I have not allowed any program handler to make it on-air. I already issued a memorandum for our drama department on the matter. Their broadcast is not live but recorded many days prior to airing.
For non-KBP members, the letter of the KBP chairman further states, “In re the non KBP members which violate the aforesaid number games, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is likewise aware and informed of the violations. Sanctions await and I am positively sure that notices are already sent.”
But more than the penalty, I join the KBP Chairman in calling on all broadcasters to use their privilege and power on-air in a manner that will not mislead the people. After all, no other sector can be more concerned of the broadcast industry but the broadcasters themselves.
Can we not set aside any personal and business motive to preserve our industry?
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