MAGANES: How safe are the media critics in a democratic society like the Philippines?
The field of journalism is regarded as a fourth estate to balance the excesses of the the three branches of the government- the executive, legislative and judiciary. Because of its nature, the Constitution put value of its existence, thus the freedom of the press and expression was enshrined in it. However, freedoms are not absolute as they require responsibility and prudence. That responsibility should be borne by the journalists in the exercise of their profession or vocation.
I have been in the field of journalism for quite a long time. I put weight upon myself on issues that have to be tackled. I always have been fair such that I only delve on issues that are true and supported by facts. I never dwelt on the personal lives of politicians much so in concocting news stories that are full of lies.
Media critics should be regarded as partners in development not as personal adversaries if what they are writing and broadcasting are true and supported by facts. The targets of criticisms should look beyond the news stories and separate the personal from the official issues. Criticisms if accepted objectively shall even improve the delivery of services and what are acceptable from the end of politicians as public servants.
What is wrong with our leaders these days is that they always take criticisms as personal tirades against them. They took them as against to what they are doing. Many politicians are always happy to hear praises and any attempt to bring out truths about their public services particularly in the field of graft and corruption are considered a big no-no. What then now is the role of journalists? Are we here to write praise stories? Are we here to concoct palatable news stories about them to appease their egos?
Media shall always be viewed from an angle that will balance truths from fallacies. It’s not also right when news are twisted or statements are slanted. Journalists should always stick to truth unless the articles are opinions like editorials and columns.
In media world now, competition is at its best. There are pseudo-media practitioners who are fond of concocting stories against their media colleagues especially if they are in front of politicians. They make fun of their fellow media practitioners just for the sake of getting favors from the politicians such that when the fellow they intrigued goes to the politicians, cold shoulders await him or her, to the glee of the pseudo-media practitioners.
Why I came to know this? A mayor whom I visited few weeks before I almost lost my life to a “riding in tandem” intimated to me how a media man frequenting his office have been maligning his colleagues. I was told that I was one of his subjects, but when the mayor defended me he kept his mouth shut and shifted in making tirades against another media colleagues. This kind of practice of some pseudo-media practitioners is the one pulling down the journalism profession.
And yes! I almost lost my life last November 8, a day after my birthday. I was about to go to Dagupan for my radio program when the tricycle I was riding was fired at by “motorcycle riding men”. There were three shots that I heard from my back not knowing that those gunshots were directed to me. I just came to my senses when the fourth gunfire was already directed to me hitting my body just below my armpit. I was perflexed and could not believe that such a sinister move will be done against me.
I was not able to recognize the culprits as they fled hurriedly on their motorcycle. I am only certain that the attempt to kill me has something to do with my work as a journalist- a columnist of this paper and a radio anchor/commentator at DWPR Radyo Asenso of Dagupan City. I believe it has been related to politics that the mastermind/s of the dastardly act want to silence me for life.
That incident might be a product of media intrigues posed against me by fellow media practitioners. They might have fed these politicians with wrong information such that they believed on it. I just thank God that the good prevailed over the devil. That day could have been my end but God indeed is good that He never allowed that my life will be taken over by the “demons” masquerading as angels of God. I know that the day of reckoning shall come when these culprits, who I am sure were hired to kill me, will tell the whole world who was the man or men behind my foiled assassination.
The incident has also opened up my minds on who are really my friends in the media world. I have known them through their messages telling me that they prayed hard for my safety. Those whom I considered “friends” have not even attempted to reach out or expressed their sympathies of what had happened to me. Maybe, they want to but they fear also of their lives as they might know the mastermind behind the “demonic act”.
To those who offered their prayers and show of support, thank you very much. Now I know who are my real friends. Thank you that your paths crossed mine that you have not abandoned me when I needed you most. May God will repay your kindness three-fold. Keep on praying for me.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at email@example.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Listen to my radio program “VIRGIL MAGANES SA DWPR” aired over DWPR Radyo Asenso, 1296 KHZ AM Band at 8:00-9:00 AM, Mondays to Saturdays.)
Entry filed under: News.