Something positive about Duterte’s media slur

By: Nestor Ramirez June 14,2016 - 09:19 PM

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s slur against the media should not be taken as entirely negative.

The only thing that I did not agree about in his strong statement against the media is the part when he said that corruption in the ranks justifies the killing of abusive members of the media.

As a member of the academe and at the same time a media practitioner, I am thankful about the categories of media practitioners we have in the country as spelled out by Duterte.

The president-elect publicly distinguished members of the media as crusaders, mouthpieces and vultures.

The crusaders are those who live by the tenets of fair and just reporting; the mouthpieces are those who allow themselves to be promoters of certain quarters for some considerations while the vultures are those who will attack and defend personalities in exchange for money.

Except from the aggressive, insulting and threatening way it was delivered, I have no argument with the rest of the statement because of the fact that there are members of the media who allow themselves to be mouthpieces and vultures clouding the media environment in the country.

Duterte’s statement against the media has simplified for me the answer to the questions raised by my students on why there are media practitioners who accept envelopes distributed during news coverages and press conferences.

My ready answer for this question would be the categories of media practitioners as defined by Duterte.

Envelopes were distributed in several press conferences attended by my students from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R).

Of course my students turned over the envelopes either to me or to their editors, but they were asking why there were others who attended these press conferences that did not do so?

Honestly, it is so hard to explain the situation to them. But thanks to the distinctions made by Duterte, I’m now ready with the answers.

Another thing that made me glad about Duterte’s statement is that issues on ethics and media corruption are brought to the open for discussion not only in the academe but by the public in general.

This is a great opportunity to push for the ethical practice of journalism not only among aspiring journalists but also among current media practitioners.

What makes matters worse is that many media practitioners are vocal about their entitlement to receive the envelopes due to their low salaries.

Corruption is corruption and low salaries are not an excuse to be corrupt. There are still many media practitioners who remain true to the ethical standards set by their profession despite their low salaries.

This is also a good opportunity for newsroom executives to look into what category their reporters fall under because there may be mouthpieces and vultures in their midst disguised as crusaders.

This is also the best time to look into and recollect what we have done with the freedom of the press that is bestowed on us and is even guaranteed by the Constitution.

Let us rise above Duterte’s slur by continually doing the right thing. That is to simply follow the tenets of journalism and be contented with the level of satisfaction you get from serving the public.

For the mouthpieces and the vultures in the media industry, you still have the chance to change and realize that journalism is not the place to get rich.

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TAGS: banned, cash, Davao City, Duterte, envelops, interview, journalis, journalist, media, money, press, Rodrigo Duterte

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