There is a crazy plan concocted by some pea-brained functionaries in the Office of Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to include bloggers in the mainstream media covering the President. They can also become members of the Malacanang Press Corps.
I say it’s a crazy idea. Bloggers do not have the credibility, integrity and respectability of those in mainstream media. They don’t have the Journalist’s Code of Ethics as we do. They are not responsible to anyone the way we are responsible to our publisher and the public. They cannot be sued for libel.
My gulay, hundreds of Filipino journalists have already been killed, either by those they have exposed for some wrongdoing in public office or in nongovernment organization.
I myself have been sued for libel 17 times. I have apologized four times in pure harassment suits—or made to apologize by my publisher.
By contrast, it’s so easy for anybody to become blogger. You just have to flick a finger —whereas we had to go journalism school to qualify for the job.
I first got my feet wet in journalism when I was editor of The Guidon, the publication of Ateneo de Manila at the Padre Faura ruins right after the Liberation of Manila in the late 40s. I then volunteered as an editor of The Mindanao Cross in Cotabato after my graduation. I became business editor of the defunct Philippines Herald in the 50s and an editorial writer and political and economic columnist until the 70s. And then I went on to broadcast until the mid-80s.
Social media are a product of technology, sure. But I still believe there’s no substitute for the dissemination of news as the printed word, and broadcast, (especially television)—an impact medium.
Counting bloggers among us professionals prostitutes media as a whole.
Many claim social media will soon replace the printed word and make newspapers an endangered species. I do not agree. I believe there’s no substitute for the printed word as an instrument of government policy and above all, research.
I have spent more than six decades of my life in mainstream media. I have gone full circle in print, radio and television. Journalism is more than a profession and a career—it’s more of a calling. One cannot get rich here. In fact, a journalist with integrity is certain to retire poor.
That I have lasted this long is proof of my credibility.
To become a newspaper columnist, one has to earn his spurs. Many columnists today think that all it takes is knowing how to write.
In fact I am amazed why government officials, publicists, religious leaders and yes, bloggers are allowed to write in the opinion pages. I am not saying this because I am afraid of competition. In fact I believe in the free market of ideas. I just think it is unfortunate that newspapers have become a free-for-all.
In my generation, one has to earn his spurs to become a columnist to earn credibility. What is unfortunate now in my mind, is that newspapers have become free-for all in opinion pages.
Some of those who I believe are excellent columnists are Bobi Tiglao, Tatad, Andy del Rosario, and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino.
Journalism is a noble profession and it should not be prostituted by including bloggers. Not everyone can last for long.
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There is no justification for having those inmates of the Cebu provincial jail strip and sit on the bare cold floor of the gymnasium while officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency searched for drugs and contraband inside their cells.
Whoever was responsible for that barbaric act must not only be charged with violation of privacy and human rights. He must be feathered and thrown into prison.
Some characters say that it was justified because the problem was the existence of illegal drugs and contraband items inside prison cells. My gulay, but should those responsible, including the Cebu governor, who was said to have given the order, and PDEA and prison officials get away with this?
I have witnessed brutality, and barbaric acts of Filipinos against their fellowmen during the Japanese occupation by some guerrilla organizations in the Ilocos. I had nightmares recalling them.
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I can agree with Senate President Koko Pimentel that what Lito Banayo, propagandist of President Duterte, and now chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office based in Taipei, Taiwan, is doing with MECO employees—classifying them like political appointees and making them resign—is illegal and dangerous.
Pimentel said that Meco employees are not government people but are simple private employees under the One-China Policy. We do not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Meco and its counterpart based in the Philippines like Teco or Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office are considered non-government organizations.
I’m really surprised that Banayo, in an attempt to bring with him his team, would resort to this. He has some experience in government, having been chairman at one point of the National Food Authority.
Banayo should know better.