By Stephen Capillas, Senior Copy Editor
Manila – In covering the news, Philippine media urged to balance their reporting by not prioritizing bad news for the sale of ratings and increased readership.
President Benigno Aquino III issued the appeal in a keynote speech delivered during the 16th National Press Forum held by the Philippine Press Institute at Trader’s Hotel in Manila last Monday.
“Hindi ko naman hinihiling ma mag-imbemto kayo ng kuwentong kutsero upang pabanguhin ang gobierno. Pero kung ibabalanse po natin at iisipin na ang bawat salita ay nakaka-apekto sa buhay ng kapwa nating Pilipino, tiyak na po na mas madali nating maabot ang kolektibo nating minimithiin para sa bayan (I’m not asking that you invent stories to deodorize the government. But if we balance the news and think of how every Filipino, we can be sure that we can easily reach oir collective aspirations for the country),” the President told delegates to the forum.
In his speech, President Aquino questioned whether the Philippine media held fast on its principles of faor and balanced reporting following the spate of negative news stories that come out on an almost daily basis.
The president said media was practically turned into the human tape recorder before it was restored by the People Power Revolution in 1986.
“Maybe it would be fair to ask if you have upheld our principles and ensure your credibility by weighing the situation amd being committed to getting accurate figures and details. Does the principle of ‘get it first but get it right’ remains or it is replaced by ‘get it first, make sure that the story sells and if the information is wrong, just apologize?,” Aquino said.
The president bewailed the spate of news stories that cast a negative light on his administration ranging from state visit of an Emir of Qatar that was supposedly cut short to even his personal life.
“At the time that a report came out that I had a date in Greenhills. I attended a meeting by the National Economic Development Authority from morning to noon reviewing and approving projects,” the President.said in Filipino.
In contrast, Mr. Aquino noted how international publications voiced their approval over the country’s stance against China in its ongoing dispute over the Spratlys Islands.
“We are the only country in the world where we publish negative travel advisories in the front pages… We have over 40,000 tourists last February and if we maintain that, we can reach the 16.8 million target for tourist arrivals by the time I step down in 2016,” he said.
The PPI National Press Forum attended by representatives of national amd community newspapers around the country centered on the theme “Media Accountability amd Public Engagement.” The two-day event will conclude with tje Community Press Awards.