Media tackle issue of corruption


President Benigno Aquino shares a light moment with Philippine Daily Inquirer president Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez and Newsbreak editor-in-chief Marites Vitug at the 9th MediaNation Summit of the News Media in Tagaytay City Friday. By Malacañang Photo Bureau

The news media industry is engaged in a deep and painful self-analysis as it tackles an issue that is not openly talked about—corruption in its ranks.

Media industry leaders meeting at the Media Nation 9 summit in Tagaytay City said it was high time the industry scrutinized and examined its actions, motives and beliefs, particularly with another election coming.

In her speech at the opening of the three-day summit on Friday, Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, representing the print industry, said that one of her most disheartening experiences was finding out that “someone you’ve tried your best to support and whose independence you’ve nurtured breaks that trust by selling valuable editorial real estate.”

“This betrayal weakens the institution deeply and must be addressed with great conviction,” she said.

Honest and critical look

The Philippine news media opened its ninth annual conference in Tagaytay on Friday, with more than 70 journalists from print, radio, television and Internet-based news organizations taking an honest and a critical look at media corruption, its causes and impact on national life.

Romualdez said unethical and corrupt practices should have no place in the news media, particularly in the print media, which is already faced with numerous challenges amid a rapidly changing media landscape as a result of the  “death spiral” of newspapers in Europe and North America.

She noted that from its long experience, the print media industry has come up with certain remedies for corruption such as “gift policies, correction boxes, performance reports, assessment and ombudsmen.”

Gray area

Maria Ressa, chief operating officer of Rappler, an Internet-based news company, was concerned over a gray area becoming “grayer” because while the mainstream media industry has some parameters that define corrupt practices, this seemed to be justified as “making money” by new media practitioners or bloggers.

Jessica Soho, vice president for news of GMA 7 television network, said that the best way to combat corruption is doing it from within, by policing one’s ranks and strictly enforcing an internal code of ethical standards set by the individual media organization.

Maribel Buenaobra, director of programs of summit co-convenor, the Asia Foundation, said in her welcome address that the summit would then be a challenge to MN9 participants to come up with not only a frank assessment of the true state of the media industry by scrutinizing media corruption, or what she called the “white elephant” in its midst.


Defining media corruption

Friday’s opening day was devoted to discussions to clearly define corruption in radio, broadsheets, television, tabloids, community news and electronic news.

On Saturday, the sessions will involve discussions on “envelopmental journalism,” by Marian Roces of Pagbabago@Pilipinas, and models of reform by John Nery of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Red Batario of the Center for Community Journalism and Development, and Rappler’s Ressa.

Economist and Inquirer columnist Cielito Habito, a former socioeconomic planning secretary, will talk on “ethical journalism and its potential to impact the economy” while Vincent Tan, also of Pagbabago, will be speaking on “the bridge between transparency, ethical journalism and prosperity.”

The summit ends Sunday with a plenary and a closing keynote address by Nobel Prize Laureate Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland.

Walesa will speak on the media’s role in an unfolding democracy.

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  • farmerpo

    Yukkk!!!! The media is reflective of our corrupt political mindset. Magkano, is the best hoped for question from the good, the bad and the ugly. Of course, you have to be a very good journalist, reporter, anchor or beat man to get such a question. We see and appreciate the heights and wealth some journalists have attained not necessarily thru exemplary journalism…Isip isip. Chow 

  • Joe Kano

    Somehow, I doubt this is the whole story….

  • Rodel

    napakalala nang corruption sa media hindi na bago yan….papano naman naging political leaders ang iba kung walang pera iyang mga yan.  

  • EdgarEdgar

    Corruption in media is not something new. One can argue about the semantics and technical definition of corruption but we all know what corruption is when we see one. The cozy relationship of ABS-CBN and Arroyo in the earlier years of last decade benefited the Lopezes tremendously who badly needed to divest from some business due to heavy foreign-denominated debt burden. ABS-CBN was single-handedly responsible for creating movies such as “ESKAPO” back in 1995 to entertain the Filipino masses and launch the senatorial career of the Senator Swerge Osmeña. Under the expert guidance of the great marketing guru Emily Abrera, the massive outpouring of public grief over the passing of Noynoy’s mama was deftly transformed into a launchpad for Noynoy’s presidency through the help of ABS-CBN. PDI’s Prietos and Pangilinan are no less disinterested in politics. They too have their own business interests. Erap during his presidency almost broke the back of PDI had he not been removed by the elite forces of the Prietos and others in the oligarchy. But like all business relationships, there’s always reciprocity. The media bosses of ABS-CBN and PDI certainly know how to knock on doors after having done so much favor for Noynoy what with the smear campaign against the Coronas in recent memory. But corruption in media is not only confined to business transactions. The late Ninoy Aquino was dispatched to Korea as an impressionable cub reporter by the CIA-friendly editor Dave Bugoslav of Manila Times to do US Cold War propaganda. The love-hate relationship of the president and the press is here to stay. But the business relationship will always trump everything else. At the end of the day, the news business is still business.

    • Seroquel55

       Educational institutions should teach their students to think critically.  Filipinos are known to be very gullible. They simply assimilate information without critically processing them.  This will be one way of countering media propaganda.

  • My mom

    THE nemesis of traditional media with corruption stems from the archaic belief that only the news industry could publish news. Consequently, corruption-prone bureaucracies (unfortunately manned by the poorly paid and overworked) are formed within news organizations to ensure this happens. Those who are waylaid, bearers of the other, uncovered side of the news, are forced to pay their way to getting read, seen, or heard. It’s time for traditional media to open up to user-generated content – to the max. There is no corruption in FaceBook because of citizen journalism and user-generated content. Media corruption cannot survive where the voice of the people thunders mightily.

  • $14334231

    as if we didn’t know!!!….this had been going on for eons and aped by the new breed…..who are you fooling????…..

  • blainz

    “Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez… said that one of her most disheartening experiences was finding out that “someone you’ve tried your best to support and whose independence you’ve nurtured breaks that trust by selling valuable editorial real estate.””

    Will the Inquirer president name names? She can publish it… in the Inquirer.

    If the media, as they must, continues to press for transparency in government affairs, shouldn’t the public have similar expectations of transparency from the media?

    And why is there no mention made of the four writers suspected of “column feeding”?

    Finally, a minor quibble; Maribel Buenaobra (or the reporter) must have had her idioms mixed up, confusing “white elephant” for “elephant in the room”.

  • John_Galt_II

    Sana mag speech si Noli Boy at si Tulfo. Hehehe.

    Tapos turuan din nila na umiwas gumamit ng mali maling metaphor ang kanilang mga columnist.
    “white elephant in the midst” ?

  • driftw00d

    maraming media ang nang ba-blackmail, lalo na yung sumusuporta sa mga pasugalan, malaki kickback ng mga yan sa mga operators para di isulat sa dyaryo.
    wala din pinagkaiba ang mga media sa mga tiwaling pulis, marami din buwaya at mahilig sa kotong, problema sinong magrereport sa media?

  • resortman

    Most of the disheartening news that we have (ponzi scams,massacres,political shenanigans..etc..etc..) is an evidence of Failure of the Government, Media and civil organizations..
    To live in this modern world is to trust institutions to do their jobs, for people cannot, in his own, progress in this modern world only by his own knowledge and cognitive skills.

  • Your_King

    As long as the news story favors Aquino and his Administration, it does not matter how it was written or who wrote it and why. But if the news goes against Aquino and his Administration then Aquino will attack the source irregardless if the story is true and accurate.

  • disqusted0fu

    how can there not be corruption in media??? the president’s sister is the “queen of all media”.

  • kypros

     light moment alright, i can see that in pnoy’s head

  • Boodoy

    Parang walang tiga ABS-CBN. Takot ma-sabon?

  • To_Be_Continued

    ALEXANDRA PRIETO-ROMUALDEZ SAID: “Unethical and corrupt practices should have no place in the news media…which has come up with certain remedies for corruption such as “gift policies, correction boxes, performance reports, assessment and ombudsmen.”

    So why is the Inquirier still keeping Ramon Tulfo in its fold?!?!?!

  • josefe38

    Ano ang kahulugan ng larawan, di ko maintindihan! May kaisa-isang galak na galak sa tuwa o kaya sa inis gustong manampal, may gulat na gulat na parang nanginginig o pilit magpatawa na tuloy mukhang katawa-tawa o kaya na tata-e tuloy muntik ng masampal , ang babaeng naka shoulder bag hintay na hintay sa i-aabot na envelope, samantala ang isa naman lungkot na lungkot nag alala na baka kung ano ano ang pinagsasabi ng abno. Siguro yan ang larawan ng KOMEDYA sa pinas. IWAN!!!!

  • D_BystandeR

    To become a journalist is the noblest of all profession but it pales in comparison with some of the high-paying careers available. But there are some who join the profession and want to make “fast money” in it that made possible the entry of those with ulterior motives who made a “blackeye” to the industry. And I think it’s not difficult to spot one among themselves and when they find him it’s there duty and obligation to “unmask him and ostracize him” to avoid others from being “contaminated.”

  • Garo Ungaro

    there is a lot of difference between a real truth and the  corrupted truth…when the journalist is a position to write and expose the truth…then twisted the truth…because of its consequences..if a journalist can’t do that then maybe its better for him not to write it…it takes guts and mostly ur life is at stake when there no protection…and u end up dead..the right balance to the real truth is not easy to expose…the media has its obligation to its writers and the public…consistency in following the truth…most of the time it ended in confusion…until the next sensation coming in…the unfinished business..of writing the truth and end up…corrupted…

  • Francis81

    Happy si Pweenoy sa picture kasi kasama niya mga katulad niyang AC-DC.

  • tabingbakod

    The solution is a strong public broadcaster guaranteed by the constitution. We don’t trust public bradcasters because they have been used by past administrations for propaganda but the case is different for other public bradcasters like BBC, PBS and CBC.

    Our justice system is payed by taxes, as well as COMELEC. These are institutions that we guard and develop to be unbiased. Media and an informed public is equally important for a democracy.

    Only channel 7 is the only major broadcaster that is not owned by a bigger business that have huge business interests, and channel 7 is not immune to the call of profits too.

    At least if we a have strong public broadcaster, we have a counter balance. Somebody to report on the others.

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