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Saturday, October 25, 2014

PNoy Hits Negativism in Media and Urges Balance in Reporting

Foreign and local media got another presidential lecture yesterday on how they should write their stories.
In a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) held at the Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, President Aquino lamented what he called the penchant of some members of the media to spread negativism although the country is “teeming with positive stories.”
Saying he is not averse to media scrutiny or criticisms, the President called on the media to strike a balance between positive and negative reports.
He urged journalists to “make room for hope” in their reports.
“Media is part and parcel of society, and it is incumbent upon you to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. These days, that also means accurately representing the national condition by striking a healthy balance between the positive and the negative,” the President said.
“Negativism has driven some members of our media for far too long, and it might one day convince our people that a disproportionate amount of national events are negative; that all is lost and it is foolish to hope. I encourage you to act on this, because just as it is your role to keep government in check, it is also your duty to keep a watchful eye on your ranks, in view of publishing the truest possible accounting of our national life,” he said.
“By all means, criticize; dialogue has, in many cases, helped accelerate our nation’s development. My only suggestion is for you to make room in your reports for hope. After all, it is also one of the tasks of media to inspire our countrymen with uplifting news,” he added.
Aquino cited the “enormous progress” in the Mindanao peace process, the robust performance of the local economy, and expansion of the Conditional Cash Transfer program which, he said, at has benefited more than 4 million families.
“Everywhere you look, there are outstanding Filipinos who are deserving of our attention: whether it is 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, Efren Peñaflorida whose continued efforts deserve more coverage, or 2014 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Randy Halasan, who has dedicated his professional life to educating indigenous communities, and should be hailed as an example to aspiring teachers,” he said.
He said the government has made high-profile arrests, including that of former general Jovito Palparan for alleged human rights abuses.
He also took pride in the significant reduction of recorded or validated extralegal killings, from a total of 168 during the previous administration to 42 in the last four years of his administration. “Indeed, one could consider this as progress, but make no mistake: Our administration will not be content until this number reaches zero,” he said.
The President renewed his commitment to resolve the spate of extralegal killings in the country, including those involving journalists.
Towards the end of his speech, the President assured that the government will do everything in its power to produce more positive developments to report.
“My only appeal to media is that you give these stories their time in the sun and, even as you retain a sharp critical eye, that you still look to inspire and encourage our people along the path to progress,” he said.
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