Thursday, February 8, 2018

DepEd Terminates MOA with Rappler

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"My heart dropped to the floor.

They gave no reason. The memo was as damningly bare-bones as it gets. 

We've partnered with DepEd for 5 years straight, with no monetary gain, to train student journalists around the country and cover rarely-reported events like Palarong Pambansa. And then this happens.

Politics is dirtiest when it robs children of opportunities."

The partnership between Rappler and Dept of Education was good because Students and Teachers were trained on News Reporting, and Disaster Preparedness. WHY cancel this partnership? 

Rappler's headline about the termination speaks volume of how Rappler sees itself. Hence, its audacity to shove down our throat its brand of journalism.

The lack of objectivity makes the severance of partnership all the more proper. Rappler doesn't have the legal bandwith to continue its business anyway.

"Why the department would make such a rushed decision that would jeopardize a project that took months of preparation on the part of the NSPC, DepEd, and Rappler merely highlights the unstated reason for DepEd’s action – that they are choosing to sacrifice the ideals of campus journalism to politics." - Rappler

Without stating any reason, last Wednesday February 6, 2018, DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones terminated two agreements with Rappler. DepEd’s partnership with them for disaster preparedness & the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC).

"As expected. DepEd is just like any other government agency - subservient to the boss - or they lose a significant chunk of the budget. Takutan lang yan!" Is it true?

"Obviously, political. First, it was SEC. Now, DepEd." Would you agree?

Is Rappler a bad influence to the students that the Department of Education has ended its partnership with them.

"All I can see was Rappler’s generosity. Generosity in providing us opportunities to help awaken our critical thinking to be directly involved with what’s happening with our own community. To never be afraid to take a stand on what we believe in, to be a part of nation building."

But we've seen that some of those people with seemingly noble hearts have in fact hidden agendas. 

The fact that DepEd hasn’t issued a response to Rappler’s “death of campus journalism” claims speaks so much of the quality of socmed training DepEd peeps got from Rappler. For all we know, nagbayad ang DepEd dati for overpriced “training” and Briones was right to sack Rappler.

But there is this:

"Hello, student journalists and teachers in public schools! Your Department of Education is, in effect, telling you this:  

The example of excellent "journalism" is Manila Times' series of reports that was based on innuendos made by a single, anonymous source over cherry-picked parts of some memoranda, twisted to fit the Palace narrative. 

For the record: Rappler didn't make – never intended to make – money out of those trainings and coverages we did for and with you through DepEd in the past 6 years. We spent for those because, to us, YOU and media literacy are not a transaction."

However, according to an articke by Manila Times:

"“WHEREAS, Rappler is a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines, operating a social news network that aims to inspire community engagement and digitally-fuelled actions for social change.
Rappler also aims to nurture the next generation of journalists in the country through its civic engagement arm, MovePH,” the agreement stated.
The source of the document noted: “In its appeal before the Court of Appeals, Rappler denies that it is a news organization. How can Rappler now explain this, when they’re doing all these things?”
“In this five-page MoA, three pages cite that it is a social news network and that it is into newsgathering, and that it maintains editorial independence. These terms are exclusive to media practitioners. They should really accept that they made a lapse in judgment, they violated the Constitution. One more thing, if they say that they are not a news organization, then why are they campaigning to defend press freedom?” the source added."

"In the guise "to nurture the next generation of journalists in the country", MARIA RESSA, deceived the Government's Department of Education when it entered into a MoA with ex-DepEd Secretary ARMIN LUISTRO by claiming that her company, Rappler, is an independent social news agency. 

This MoA gave Rappler exclusive media network to cover the Palarong Pambansa and send 3 or more crews with DepEd employees at out of town events free of charge.

This gave Rappler ability to reach our youth's minds with their destabilizing innuendos against the government particularly their false EJK count claims."
We all know that the youth nowadays are too passionate and could easily be motivated to go out of their comfort zones. But they are also easily lured into unwitting submission after a promise a taste of empowerment.

Now why would DepEd allow a foreign funded PR firm to teach our children sedition?

The rule of law will not compromise democracy. The violation compromised Rappler. Rappler should adjust to conform to the law. Not the other way around.

And has Rappler already asked DepEd the reason why it ended the agreements, and why are they quickly concluding that DepEd is not in favor of campus journalism?

"Nothing in Rappler’s roster of values is about excellence. Aside from the usual news angling and fakery that it has always been accused of, plus the bad writing, Rappler now represents circumvention of laws governing companies. Indeed, a bad example."

We might as well ask how beneficial the partnership was and if it served their interests well. 

Having said that, DepEd should have multiple partners this time. And Rappler can and should continue helping campus journos at the local level, at the grassroots where so many stories are left untold. This is a shared mission that should not be lost despite losing the Memorandum of Agreement with DepEd.

"This gradual and sustained erosion of democratic values can only be stopped by a critical mass of citizens who are determined to resist it. Lawyers, constitutionalists, law-abiding citizens, those who believe in the rule of law: where are you?"


Campus journalism teaches the students the value of a free and independent press. At a time of heightened attacks on press freedom, we hoped that DepEd, who educates and empowers the youth, would not give in to political pressure. 

We were mistaken. 

It is unfortunate that DepEd gave in to malicious reports regarding our partnership. This robs the students and teachers of another opportunity to learn and practice journalism. 

We will not stop speaking truth to power and empowering communities not only in campus journalism and sports but also in our other advocacies like disaster risk reduction and poverty alleviation. We know we're not alone in this. We will keep fighting."

When an institution we pin our nation's hopes upon crumbles to political pressure. Yes, suffer the children. ...or do they?

The more they defend themselves, the more their credibility erodes. Poor staff of Rappler, after this debacle, I wonder if they'll even be hired in other companies.

Rappler, there are better organizations than you. It's DepEd's and students gain actually because now the agency is open to partner with as many news organization they want, and not binded by an exclusive contract! Campus Journalism will do just fine without Rappler. RIP Rappler. 

Cogsworth (Beauty & the Beast, Animated, 1991): "If it's not Baroque, don't fix it!

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