MANILA - President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday proposed to the members of the press a "paradigm shift," saying they could continue criticizing the government but must provide the people uplifting news as well.
In his speech during the annual Presidential Forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) in Marco Polo Ortigas, President Aquino acknowledged the role the foreign press played when the country was under martial rule.
“Back then, media taking an adversarial role to government was a symbol of bravery, social responsibility. It was a badge of honor, and rightfully so,” he said.
He however observed that despite the return of democracy – and freedom of the press -- in the country, “some veteran journalists have maintained their jaundiced eyes towards government.”
This attitude is no longer compatible with the times, he said, noting that while it is incumbent on the press to tell the truth, it also needs to strike a “healthy balance between the positive and the negative."
"Negativism has driven some members of our media for far too long, and it might one day convince our people that a disproportionate amount of national events are negative; that all is lost and it is foolish to hope," he lamented.
"By all means, criticize; dialogue has, in many cases, helped accelerate our nation’s development. My only suggestion is for you to make room in your reports for hope. After all, it is also one of the tasks of media to inspire our countrymen with uplifting news," the President reminded the press.
These days, there is no shortage of positive, inspiring news in the country, he said, citing the Mindanao Peace Process and the performance of the economy as examples.
“Rest assured, the government will do everything in its power to produce even more of these developments to report,” said, appealing to the media to give these stories “their time in the sun."
"Even as you retain a sharp critical eye… still look to inspire and encourage our people along the path to progress," President Aquino said.
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