Saturday, July 1, 2017

Integrity: Learning About Ethical Standards in Journalism (and Blogging)

Wazzup Pilipinas!

"....Philippine journalism is being challenged by many Filipinos to be true to its vow of being truthful, balanced and fair in our reportage and has become even more difficult to ferret truth from lies, spins and fakery" - National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)

Media persons and outfits have a far greater responsibility than ordinary citizens to ensure proper standards. Is the level of profanity in media, blogs and social media included, ruining free wheeling dialogue that is necessary to a democracy?

Some of us would never include profanity, curses, and our own special rants and bashing on our published literary works, but our social media pages are filled with fuming and rage towards the people, companies or organizations we hate. If not, we bad-mouth others to our friends and acquaintances.

"....newsmen, and even radio commentators, are not supposed to use foul language no matter how much they disagree with opinions. (Then again, this has been happening for some time) This much is clear in the KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas) code of ethics." - Ed Lingao in reaction to "a long radio and FB live rampage against a senator that involved quite a lot of colorful cussing and swearing (he begins warming up at around 32:30, continuing with his cussing on FB live while the radio program went into a commercial gap). The rampage involved a lot of putang ina, sonafabitch, punyeta, lintik, what the fuck, etc."

"According to the Philippine Broadcast Code of 2011, we should observe the following:

1. To broadcast (and publish) commentaries only by persons who have thorough knowledge of and practice of broadcast (and journalism) ethics, present opposing or contrasting views fairly, and not allow our personal bias or prejudice to distort the facts (Article 2. ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARIES);

2. To prohibit personal attacks and unfair criticism (Article 4. PERSONAL ATTACKS)

3. To acknowledge and rectify mistakes as soon as possible (Article 5. CORRECTING MISTAKES);

4. To prohibit offensive, obscene, profane and vulgar words and phrases as well as name-calling and personal insult (Article 25. SEX, OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY and Article 27. ON-AIR LANGUAGE);

5. To adhere to the basic principles, as well as code of conduct for broadcast media (Article 29. QUALIFICATION OF ON-AIR/PROGRAM PERSONS and Article 33. UNIVERSAL ETHICAL STANDARDS).

Admittedly, some colleagues have forgotten these ethical standards that should govern our work as broadcasters and journalists." - NUJP

Just because the top media outfits ad personalities have a large base of listeners and supporters, it should not mean their statements are considered authentic and credible. There are many cases when news were blocked or modified to suit the preference of others that will be greatly affected, and it was only on online media (especially the bloggers) that offered the real news. This was mainly because some media outfits would not dare hurt their sponsors or advertisers, so they opted to ignore the damaging news in favor of their clients.

To this we form another headline asking a question "Who Are the Real Peddlers of Fake News?" 

We consider news that were intentionally withholding complete information as fake news too. Real news should report everything that could be significant and substantial. News should not be modified to deliberately keep other parties safe from possible downfall or humiliation - whether its a business, personality, the government or the entire country itself.

On the other hand, there are also media outfits that sensationalize their news to gain more audience. Some news are being hyped or exaggerated to gain more interest from the gullible public. They even connive with some individuals, groups or entities to satisfy whims, sponsors' requests, or politically motivated and vested interests. When you start seeing envelopes getting passed among members of the media, you start to question if integrity still exist among us. 

Whether we would admit it or not, when we accept and bring home all of those complimentary gifts, perks and freebies given during press conferences and media coverage affects our reporting of the news. Unless you were given a product or service to review, media outfits should not be receiving "tokens" of any form. Now some would say, bloggers are excused since unlike media, they do not have regular salaries from their mother media outfits. Still, we believe media and bloggers should only receive ex-deals or freebies if they were pre-arranged deals agreed by both parties, or when they are to review certain products (new dishes, equipment, etc), services (spa, clinic, travel, etc) or establishments (hotels, restaurants, resorts, etc). 

Whether on television, radio, print or online, our journalists, commentators, news anchors, or bloggers, should abide by high standards of ethics and strive to adhere to stringent standards of journalistic integrity. We expect our reporters, producers and writers to be fair and honest and to confirm the facts before print or online articles, TV or radio segments,  are released for public consumption.

Let us all do our part to cleanse our print, online and broadcast of gross made even grosser by biased partisanship. Let us protect the journalism or blogging profession from further "erosion of the people’s trust and respect."

"It will only be a matter of time before one of us prosecuted, judged and persecuted an innocent person"...or has it happened already?

"..... restate our firm promise to a high sense of responsibility and honesty in the practice of our chosen profession.....

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