Aquino wants fair, balanced reporting, not mad at mediaBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino is not mad at bad news, he just wants truthful, balanced reporting, according to his communications secretary.
Secretary Herminio Coloma described Mr. Aquino as “patient and very serene in his ways,” and would only ask media reports to give justice to the situation.
Coloma made the statement when Isabela Representative Rodolfo Albano asked him why the President has been against bad news.
“Are you being beaten in propaganda?” Albano asked.
But Coloma said the President was just asking the media to be truthful and to present news and opinion in a balanced way if it wanted to make itself accountable.
“Our President is not angry. We know him, by temperament and character, he is a person who is patient and very serene in his ways. If he has commentary about the state of reporting, he has always used concrete examples,” he told lawmakers.
He said one example Aquino had cited was the reporting of advisories from foreign embassies warning their citizens about traveling to certain parts of the Philippines. He said some of the advisories were inaccurate, such as those warning against traveling to Mindanao, which was unfair to the peaceful provinces on the island.
“We’re the only country in the world that gives full play to advisories not directed toward Filipinos but toward citizens. So that’s the concrete illustration,” he said.
In the President’s SONA, he noted that foreign media have been quicker in recognizing positive developments in the country, Coloma also pointed out.
“He just said he hopes local media would be the same,” he said.
The President has gone on a tirade against what he believes to be shortcomings in the media during his recent public speeches.
During the anniversary celebration of TV Patrol, Aquino slammed the show and its main anchor, former Vice President Noli de Castro, for supposedly highlighting negative issues in reports.
Meanwhile, politicians who want to broadcast their projects and good deeds to the public may place ads or buy airtime in the government run Radyo ng Bayan.
Coloma said the state-run station would charge only a minimal fee, especially compared to the rates of commercial radio stations. He said the funds Radyo ng Bayan would generate would go toward upgrading its facilities.
But as much as possible, he said he would not want the radio station to be used for partisan politics.
“We will issue guidelines and request them to focus on delivering news and explaining actions they took to help. They should focus on public service and avoid partisan politics. They should refrain from character assassination as well,” he said.