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TEN months, nine lives, and a flurry of finger-pointing and paper work later, the controversy over the media coverage of the 2010 Luneta hostage-taking incident by the country’s biggest and most influential television and radio networks has come down to feeble fines of P30,000, and a virtual slap on the wrist.

The media are not only failing to regulate themselves; more importantly, some media organizations are actually depending on the government to intervene, in effect eroding the very principle of self-regulation itself.

IT ALL started late night of April 9, 2008 when Christian M. Kalaw was arrested by the police for alleged illegal parking and driving without license in Manila. Two years and four months later, on August 23, 2010 one of those Christian accused of robbery, extortion, grave threats, and physical injuries commandeered a tourist bus and proceeded to hold its occupants hostage.

FACTUAL disparities, possibly errors, litter the various documents and media reports on the criminal and two administrative cases that were filed against Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza and his four co-accused colleagues. Bad police investigation work seems at work, at the very least.

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