EDITORIAL : Media blunder

March 3, 2014 at 8:44 am Leave a comment

Last February 24, Bandila, a late night news program of ABS-CBN, aired a news report that there were two victims inflicted with “flesh-eating bacteria” or “mysterious skin disease” in Pangasinan. The news was reported by a certain Jasmin Romero who apparently did not do her homework as a news reporter. What’s worse was the anchor said the mysterious skin disease was spreading throughout the province, causing panic among Pangasinenses as well as those living abroad.
The news was connected to an alleged prophesy of a self-proclaimed seer Indian national Sadhu. It was said that he was able to predict the occurrence of Super typhoon Yolanda that devastated the provinces of Leyte and Samar, and the earthquake in the province of Bohol last year. Whether Sadhu’s predictions were God-inspired or just mere coincidence, these have to be validated by Christian churches in the future.
After the airing of that news report, the provincial government led by Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. was alarmed. Espino directed the Provincial Health Office (PHO) to verify the conditions of the two alleged victims- a woman in Sta. Barbara and a man in Villasis. The health officials, with media men in tow, found out that the “skin diseases” afflicting the two were not caused by “flesh-eating bacteria.” Instead, the patient from Sta. Barbara was diagnosed to be suffering from leprosy, a curable disease, while the young man from Villasis has psoriasis- a non-contagious, not curable but manageable skin disease.
The “ skin diseases” were after all not “mysterious.” The two alleged victims are now confined at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital attended to by medical doctors. Pangasinenses and the provincial government demanded an apology from the management of ABS-CBN. Governor Espino said because of the news, many tourists feared to visit Pangasinan. Even “Lakbay-Aral” of many local government units (LGUs) has been cancelled. “ We worked hard to improve our tourism industry for six years but this was marred by erroneous and irresponsible reporting,” he said.
Did the airing of said news by “Bandila” have something to do with “media rating”? That the editors and producers of the show did not verify the news was a height of carelessness and irresponsibility. News must be verified and presented in a manner that it will not affect the viewing public. ABS-CBN committed an irreparable damage to the people of Pangasinan who are now the “butts of jokes” for being carriers of “flesh-eating bacteria”.
The news department of ABS-CBN specially “Bandila” has committed a media blunder. Three days that the news was aired in national scope, the anchor Julius Babao , a Pangasinense, aired the apology. The apology reads: “Bandila” apologizes for the unintended fear and panic caused by its report on the cases of skin diseases in two towns in Pangasinan. In accordance with the internal standard procedures, ABS-CBN’s Office of the Network Ombudsman is currently investigating the circumstances that led to the airing of the report. ABS-CBN News will take the appropriate actions based on the findings of the Network Ombudsman.”
Governor Espino appreciated the apology but the damage has been done. He does urged the TV Network concerned to exert extra effort to help rebuild the image of Pangasinan. We hope it will.

Entry filed under: News.


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