Gov’t should not ‘meddle’ with editorial content of news orgs – Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — Government officials should not “meddle” with the editorial content of news organizations, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Wednesday.
“Ang gobyerno hindi dapat nakikialam sa laman ng editorial, opinyon nila yan, e, they could be wrong but that’s their opinion. As a matter of fact, I have this mentality na hindi lang sa news organizations hindi dapat nakikialam ang gobyerno. The government should not meddle with businesses,” Sotto said in an online media forum.
(The government should not meddle with the editorial content.That’s up to the news company, that’s their opinion, they could be wrong but that’s their opinion. I have this mentality that it’s not only in news organizations that the government should not meddle with. The government should not meddle with businesses).
This after several congressmen brought up ABS-CBN’s alleged “political bias” during the network’s franchise renewal hearing.
Sotto said the government could only intervene if media companies commit violations to the law.
“Pagka may mga pagkakamali o may mga violations, okay punahin mo pero that’s different from pakikialam or pagme-meddle,” Sotto went on.
(If there are violations, go ahead and reprimand them but that’s different from meddling).
The Senate president also advised public officials who feel that they were not treated fairly in news reports to just face the accusations.
“Harapin nila. Kung hindi naman totoo yung sinasabi, lalabas at lalabas din ang katotohanan. The truth is very difficult to hide,” he added.
(Face it. If what is being reported is not true, the truth will be revealed one way or another. The truth is very difficult to hide).
Once House bills seeking the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal are officially transmitted to the Senate for consideration, Sotto said the network’s supposed biases will probably not be tackled.
“In the Senate, hindi siguro. I don’t know about the others but as far as I’m concerned it’s not an issue,” he said.
“It’s not really the company, hindi naman yung mga executives may kinalaman dun sa slant eh, kung minsan yung mga reporters,” he added.
(It’s not really the company, it’s not really the executives who slant stories, sometimes it’s the reporters).
On Monday, the House committees on legislative franchises and on good government and public accountability tackled the broadcast company’s alleged “political bias.”
For its part, ABS-CBN said the network strives “to keep biases in check, and to report on newsworthy events, persons and issues in an accurate, fair and balanced manner.”
Meanwhile, Senator Nancy Binay recently said “personal viewpoints” should be set aside in the deliberation of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
“[W]hether you’re in media or in politics, what’s important is to transcend beyond personal biases and take to heart your commitment and responsibility to people and country,” she had said.
“We have to set aside personal viewpoints because issues that we need to address should never be about us–it should always be for the greater good of every Filipino,” Binay added.
A day after its franchise expired on May 4, ABS-CBN went off the after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the shutdown of its radio and television broadcast operations nationwide.
Nearly two months after, the NTC issued separate cease-and-desist orders to stop the operations of ABS-CBN’s digital and satellite platforms.
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