THERE SEEMED to be no real intention to bully or bash media, or push journalists to the wall.

True, it took third parties like experts from the academe to pinpoint what is wrong about Philippine journalism. But, there was a resulting introspection that made it feel like “self-examination” was the unofficial theme of the Philippine Press Institute’s 17th National Press Forum. (Read the live blog of the forum and watch the videos here.) If there is any other word harsher than that that could be used, self-criticism would be it.

Dean Rolando Tolentino of the University of the Philippines College of Journalism cited the lack of proficiency and competencies. “The quality of news reporting and the dissemination of news rest on these truth claims: what is claimed needs to be in proximity with the actual truth,” he said. “Similarly, the quality of performance needs to be in proximity with actual competencies.”

Tolentino then went on to talk about the “showbizification and nationalization.” of the news in this country. He said that in the “showbizification” of national news, the trivial and personalities are highlighted instead of the actual news and analysis: the president’s love life, red-carpet fashion at the State of the Nation Address, and hobbies and interests of the political candidates during election campaigns, among others. At the same time, he said, there is also a “nationalization” of showbiz news: showbiz items, stretched throughout the duration of the news, are given equal prominence with the burning issues of the day.

When his turn at the podium came, media critic Vergel Santos chose to talk about the “twisting of journalism” and how this is being done today — through technology. “The specific technological culprit,” said Santos, “is one that allows anyone to string words together, set them on a non-paper medium, and foist them on the rest of the world, supplying misinformation, instead of truthful information, and sowing confusion, if not chaos, instead of bringing enlightenment.”

These two speeches were received with mixed reactions by the delegates. At some point, it even seemed like these were unintelligible to some. But in the end, most were in agreement with the high standard of scrutiny both offered and that provoked those in attendance to suddenly reflect on the kind of journalism they had been churning out on a daily basis.

Of course it’s not as if we haven’t examined ourselves personally or collectively since time immemorial. But when we talk about ethics, press freedom, competencies, economic welfare, and the like, are we really in agreement that it is basically quality journalism that we are talking about?


And when we talk about ethics, press freedom, competencies, economic welfare — and the list can go on and on, do we all agree that it is basically quality journalism that we are talking about. The seeming lack of these ails us but I hope we never failed in the efforts of redeeming ourselves.

I am leaving MYSELF with this thought from Leloy Claudio’s ON PARTIALITY IN JOURNALISM: And if the media are really committed to telling the truth, they should not just tell the truth about others. They need to tell us what they really think. They should tell us the truth about themselves. Biased journalism is honest journalism. Conflicts of interests arise when biases are undisclosed.

* Ariel Hans S. C. Sebellino is the executive director of the Philippine Press Institute, the country’s national association of newspapers

1 Response to Ailing, failing? Media in media’s eyes



July 11th, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Hi! Would you happen to know where the rest of that Claudio article is?

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