A clamor for development oriented Philippine media
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-12-09
Your Chair Wrecker was pleasantly surprised upon reading the online and emailed reactions of folks to our Sunday (“When the media become the bad news and a national problem”) column. It’s comforting to know that folks see the need for media, especially television, to contribute more to nation building and addressing our Information Gap.

Rem Maclang wrote: “When broadcast media companies, mostly owned by the well-entrenched oligarchs, succumb to their voracious appetite, as always, for profit, they become oblivious to the reason for their being – responsible public service. Too often, we are regaled by the two TV broadcast giants’ publication of their top-recorded earnings in their attempt to outdo each other. This begs the question: Aren’t these broadcast media companies, operating under government franchises, public service entities, bestowed with public interest? If so, why are they allowed to earn unlimited income, at all cost, to the detriment of the public which they serve? Other public service companies, like transportation or power firms, are regulated by their respective franchises in their return of investment, making them more responsive in their quality of service to the public.”

Louie Tabing wrote: “The topic in your column today (Sunday) on media becoming a bad news and problem will be the subject of a round table discussion scheduled around the 12th of this month at UPLB to be participated in by development communication stalwarts.

One month ago I sent the professors and developmental communications advocates an article written by Mario Vargas Llosa (2010 Nobel Peace laureate in literature) written in the UNESCO Courier magazine 20 years ago which piece I found relevant to present Philippine media and political system.

An episode of very enthusiastic e-mail exchanges ensued that ushers to the scheduled discussion next week and a possible advocacy campaign to transform NBN and PBS into a public service broadcasting system similar to British Broadcasting Corporation. Among the reactors were former Dev Comm deans Dr. Maria Celeste Habito-Cadiz, Dr. Lex Librero, Dr. Rex Navarro and current dean Dr. Cleofe Torres. Dr. Florangel Rosario-Braid of AIJC and Ms. Carmen Pedrosa, Philippine STAR contributed to the discussions leading to the informal forum and the prospective campaign towards a public service broadcast system.”    

Louie furnished us a copy of that very interesting article written by 2010 Nobel Peace laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. Louie closed his reaction with: “The academics will surely be delighted to find in you a veritable ally in the move to reform our country’s media system.”

From denversimon18 of STAR online: “What’s so piteous in our country is that our Philippine Media, especially Television, seems to be more focused on profit rather than public service. Cite the top 3 local TV networks as examples! They allot more time and stronger priority for nonsense showbiz updates and soap operas rather than informative programs that is more needed by the public! Where in the world can you find networks that showcase JUNK shows during primetime but the informational ones at midnight! Is that what you call ‘Serbisyong Totoo’ na ‘Panig sa Bayan at Katotohanan’?!”

From chairman of STAR online: “The Philippine media is geared towards profit and not public service. Where in the world can you find primetime newscasts with 30 percent or more about showbiz nonsense? Take the case of ABS-CBN, they have TV Patrol with showbiz news, then later SNN (more showbiz news).

Weekends have The Buzz where they propagate rumors about their mainstay actors/actresses, and E-Live, which is more of the same, rehashed old news.

Enough of these mindless shows and give more informative and investigative programs like The Probe, The Correspondents, etc.”

From zarjof of STAR online: “I am just one of the guys on the street but I decry the “information gap” among us Filipinos and yes I am blaming the media especially the television. They show craps during primetime and the informational programs at midnight. I used to call this kind of programming as an exploitation of the Filipino psyche. That is why we wallow in the bliss of ignorance preferring rumors for the truth. I forgot the source of this saying: Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events and great minds talk about principles.”

From journey1017 of STAR online: “This is one intensive piece that precisely identifies what makes the broadcast media a main player in the miseducation of the Filipino. It cannot be denied that there is an excess of irrelevant and unneeded showbiz news and I find little or no reason why we are force fed this type of trash. This kind of material and programming undoubtedly contributes to the degradation of the Pinoys’ level of intelligence and sense of concern for what is significant and what is escapist and delusional.”

It’s high time that both the Executive and Legislative branches of government take a stronger position and compel the franchised broadcast media to render more relevant public service programs. Admittedly, the government cannot impose such guidelines on print media which are not operating from franchises granted by Congress.

However, compelling TV networks to reduce inane entertainment programs in favor of more informative and developmental programs does not constitute curtailment of press freedom. That’s political will to improve the Filipino mind.

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  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

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