Daily Media Watch


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15 thoughts on “Daily Media Watch

  1. It is hard to see why “Pugad Baboy”‘s recent issue was the first to draw so much ire from people for its jab at religion, society, and homosexuality. Satire can hardly be considered an unfair attack, as its purpose is not to force an audience against an entity, but to enjoin an audience to critically filter the practices it sees, and the satire’s subject to reconsider and reevaluate its courses of action. Satire has been the famous comic strip’s forte for many generations, and it has never caused any trouble for any party until now.

    On the other hand, perhaps Pol Medina, Jr.’s downfall was naming a specific and privately-owned entity as the subject of the strip’s issue. In doing so, St. Scholastica’s College was depicted as sharing a narrow and exclusive view on homosexuality with a larger entity–namely, the Catholic church–when allowing traditionally-discouraged same-sex relationships is the least of the Catholic church’s flaws where homosexuality is concerned. The perverted practice of homosexuality among some members of the clergy, which have been attested to in several cases throughout time, is an even bigger problem than passively allowing harmless same-sex relationships to form. Medina needs not necessarily attack the Catholic church instead, though if in his interest to protect victims of homosexuality he decides to speak out, he may raise questions about it. However, there was no need to accuse St. Scholastica’s College of a shallow and demeaning view, as the administration does not explicitly take a stand against homosexuality, or at least not publicly or often. It was singled out to be painted in an unnecessarily negative light that it had not sought and had words put in its proverbial mouth–and this was something Medina could have avoided.

    (Interestingly, Kulasas themselves have attested to the truth of same-sex relationships in their school and do not take offense to the strip. It seems only the authorities are upset by the issue.)

  2. http://sports.inquirer.net/104791/philippines-files-racism-complaint-against-hk-football-fans

    Philippines played a friendly international football match against Hong Kong and have finally defeated Hong Kong for the first time in six tries. No doubt there were more Hong Kongers present at the football match as Hong Kong was the home team.

    As a journalist, you are suppose to write objectively without bias. It was shown in the early parts of the article as it was stating what happened in the match, what the Hong Kong supports did, and what the Football Associations of both Hong Kong and Philippines intend to do. However, at the end of the article, there were some unnecessary comments about the tragic hostage-taking incident in 2010. “Some in the southern Chinese city still hold a grudge against the Philippines since a Manila hostage-taking incident in 2010, in which eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a bungled police rescue. The Hong Kong government has maintained a travel warning for the Philippines since the incident.”

    That paragraph is redundant and does not give more information about the racism in the football match. The writer of the article indirectly, or even directly led the readers to think that the racism in the football match was definitely caused by the hostage taking incident in 2010.

    What’s more is that it is obvious that the writer of this article is not very happy with Hong Kong as a whole. The last paragraph of the article shows the obvious lack of knowledge in the OFWs by exaggerating the working conditions of the OFWs in Hong Kong.

    The writer said the domestic helpers work ‘toiling long hours’ for ‘low pay’ to describe the working conditions of the domestic helpers in Hong Kong. That is a incorrect accusation in so many levels. First, the minimum wage for domestic helpers in Hong Kong is approximately HKD$3500 per month, which is equivalent to almost P20,000. Compare that to the minimum wage here of less than P450 per day x 26 working days, that’s equivalent to around P11,700 per month only. Not to mention food and transportation is NOT included while working in Hong Kong, food and transportation is already all included. Two, yes, some may have harder time than others, but the way the writer phrased it is as if ALL the domestic helpers work long hours – that statement is too harsh and too strong. Not to mention, domestic helpers here in the Philippines do the same thing and some may work even harder and yet they get less than a quarter of what helpers in Hong Kong make.

    Lastly, the writer said that “Filipinos are also looked down upon in Hong Kong because more than 100,000 of them work as domestic helpers” – the writer again is generalizing that ALL Filipinos get ‘looked down’ (which again is too harsh for a news article) by ALL Hong Kongers. That is showing the writer’s opinion by trying to link one ‘story’ to another and this should not happen in a news article.

  3. http://filipinoscribe.com/2013/06/17/british-actress-jokes-about-filipino-children-on-bbc-show/

    This is not the first time that a foreigner has made an “accidental” quip about Filipinos on a public medium. One might recall Alec Baldwin’s “Filipina mail order bride” joke on David Letterman’s show, which caused an uproar for the insinuation that Filipinas allow their sexuality to be exploited and extorted for money. By doing this, Baldwin ridiculed, cast aspersions on, and degraded Filipinas for their sex and their race–that is to say, his comment was misogynistic through sexual objectification, as well as racist. It was unintended and probably said at the spur of the moment, but such things that are said usually lie in one’s subconscious before they get out. Baldwin’s situation was either that, or it was an attempt at randomness that came out badly. Furthermore, Baldwin has been in show business for a very long time, and he ought to have already known how to guard his words and be more discerning of what he said before a national audience.

    Canadian actress Katherine Ryan recently made a similar mistake on the BBC game show “Mock the Week”, an improvisational comedy show akin to the CBS’ “Whose Line is It Anyway?”. The prompt for a joke in one segment was “unlikely lines from a cosmetics commercial”, and she gave this line: “We don’t use any of our products on animals. We use Filipino children.” By saying the line, she ridiculed and degraded Filipino children by their race–and it is made even worse by the fact that her specific subjects are defenseless and have done nothing to earn such a comment. Those fortunate children struggle against obstacles to living their life fully, such as a lack of access to education, cases of abuse in some families, even child labor. That their hardships were belittled and mentioned in what was meant to be a humorous manner is tasteless and insensitive.

    The fact that the error was committed overseas by a foreign celebrity makes no difference. Although neither she nor the network is guided by the Philippine Journalist’s Code of Ethics, it does not change the fact that she had made light of the painful and very real struggles of an innocent group of people, some of whom might have no idea what her words mean. It is an ethical mistake anywhere. I hope Miss Ryan, like Alec Baldwin before her, would be more careful with what she says next time and recognize her responsibility as a public figure–even if it is on an improvisational comedy show.

  4. Early one Sunday morning, I came across a program called “Be Alive” on GMA News TV. At first glance, it seems to be a typical lifestyle show, with guests and medical experts discussing health conditions that went from poor to excellent, thanks to some alternative treatment or medicine. I deemed it a noble effort, seeing as more and more people are in need of safe and afforadble ways to treat various diseases, which range from the common to the rare.

    Just this week, I got to watch “Be Alive” again, and the product being discussed by the hosts caught my attention. The natural supplement, called Laminine, sounded vaguely familiar–and for good reason. Upon researching about “Be Alive” I discovered that each episode focuses only on this product, a questionable practice given the disclaimer flashed at the start of the program:

    “Our television program is not here to sell a product or to offer medical advice but to show that there are natural ways to address our ailments through information and healthcare prevention… and to give hope to our televiewers watching Be Alive.”

    This practice is highly similar to the presence of “advertorials” in newspapers and magazines (discussed previously), in which a write-up or press release for a product, service, or another similar subject is disguised as a feature piece that serves to review the subject, when it really is more of a publicity ploy than a true analysis of its subject. Upon doing further research, I learned that the production of “Be Alive” is actually driven largely by the company that manufactures Laminine. Be that as it may, the production team has still not been entirely honest about its goals, seeing as it has made a claim that goes against what it actually does.

    Better that the people of “Be Alive” honestly acknowledge the show’s leanings towards the company–like a cooking show that prominently features the same ingredients each episode, or an entrepreneurship program that carries a specific organization’s name–than claim to be neutral while subtly ingraining themselves into the televiewers’ subconscious. Honesty, after all, is the most important feature of any promotional material.

  5. Over the past few days, the United Kingdom as well as the rest of the tennis-loving world has been intensely focused on the 2013 Wimbledon Championships. Victories such as that of British tennis player Andy Murray against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the men’s singles category, however, were not the only thing “highlights” of the annual prestigious tennis championship.

    John Inverdale of the BBC made an unsolicited remark about this year’s women’s singles champion, France’s Marion Bartoli. He had joked about Bartoli needing to work harder for success as he did not find her as attractive as Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova. It is easy to identify Inverdale’s comment as a discriminatory one, having expressed judgment for Bartoli’s potential for success in her field based on her physical appearance. It was uncalled for, and it seemed to display misogyny through the estimation of a woman’s worth via her beauty based on social conventions.

    However, it seems that all’s well that ends well for this turn of events; the BBC and Inverdale have since apologized for the latter’s careless remark on national radio, while Bartoli seems to have taken the remark with a grain of salt, saying, “Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.” One only hopes that, in the future, such slips of the tongue would not make their way to wide audiences, especially in light of the efforts of a person who had fought her (or his) way to the top with blood, sweat, and tears–things that have nothing to do with one’s sex or physical appearance.

  6. AFP News on Yahoo recently reported the discovery of three bagged corpses of black women in a suburban community in Cleveland, Ohio. The three women–the first of whom was discovered in a garage, the other two in what was allegedly an abandoned warehouse–are believed to have been dead for more or less ten days, having entered an “advanced state of decay” and emitting foul odors when they were discovered. The suspect was identified as Micheal Madison, a 35-year-old black man and a registered sex offender who had already done time. He was arrested not long after in his mother’s house in a standoff. Several other details were given in the article, but for the purposes of this write-up, those that have been mentioned will be our focus.

    Although articles published on Yahoo News are often found with several mistakes in writing and sensitivity, this one seemed to have been done well in a number of ways. No assumptions were made about Madison–he was labeled a “registered sex offender” based on his history doing time instead of having just been branded as a sex offender based on the author’s assumption. Although the women’s corpses were described to be decaying and pungent, no unnecessary, overtly morbid details to illustrate the situation further were given. The article was written carefully to balance the urgency of the news and its care for the readers’ sensibilities. Finally, the names of the three women who fell victim to Madison were not stated–although this might just have been due to the inability of the local coroner to identify them as of yet. One only hopes that once they have been identified, the possibility of relaying the information to the public will be carefully mulled over between the authorities handling the case and the families of the victims.

  7. independent.ie/entertainment/michael-j-fox-aims-to-highlight-the-lighter-side-to-parkinsons-in-new-tv-show

    Hollywood actor Michael J. Fox is perhaps known best for two things; one is his stint as the time-travelling teenager Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” film trilogy, and the other is his battle with Parkinson’s disease for more than twenty years. He announced that he was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 1991, first noticing a twitch in his finger that slowly spread throughout his body. Since then, his otherwise blazing career has slowed down, and it seems that few people nowadays remember him without the disease.

    Fox declared on July 28 his desire to view the disease he has lived with for most of his adult life in a more positive light. He announced the upcoming “The Michael J. Fox Show”, an NBC comedy loosely based on his own life in dealing with Parkinson’s disease. With it, Fox hopes to portray life with the disease realistically, with a humorous touch, so that viewers may get a better idea of the daily life of a Parkinson’s patient. He explained, “There’s nothing horrifying about [Parkinson’s disease] to me. I don’t think it’s gothic (sic) nastiness. There’s nothing horrible on the surface about someone with a shaky hand. The way I look at it, sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s funny. I need to look at it that way.”

    Fox’s statement, as well as his decision to raise awareness about the disease through this new show, brings two things to mind. The first is that it is a noble goal–Fox is a good media model, a touching example of a patient who has, in a sense, emerged victorious in his battle with the disease in that it might not be curable, but he has not let it bring him down. He has come to inspire those who suffer from the same, and to those who are not intimately familiar with the disease, he positively represents the truth that people living with Parkinson’s disease are otherwise normal and can lead fulfilling lives. With “The Michael J. Fox Show”, he aims to illustrate that physical defects do not make a person any different from anyone else around him.

    The second is the amount of ridicule, both lighthearted and otherwise, that Fox has gotten on the Internet over the years because of Parkinson’s. Crude jokes have been made left and right about the uncontrollable shaking that Parkinson’s causes, a clear example of poor online manners. The prospect of Fox’s new show are both promising and worrying in this regard. Will the show promote better treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease (and other such diseases, for that matter) in the media, and by extension, the people who consume it–or will it only further encourage people to make fun of the disease and those living with it? Only time will tell, and it is up to Fox to make it work.

  8. The MV St. Thomas Aquinas passenger ferry sank recently near Cebu following its collision with cargo ship MV Sulpicio Express. As of the latest news reports about the tragedy, not everyone out of the 831 people aboard the passenger ferry has been accounted for. The death toll and number of missing passengers continue to rise from the initial reports of 40 and 170, respectively. Search and rescue operations for the ship and its passengers continue to be carried out.

    A few hours prior to the posting of this article, “TV Patrol” aired a live coverage of the search and rescue operations at the site of the tragedy. A mother who survived the tragedy was speaking with Noli de Castro, hopeful that she would still find her daughter. De Castro then directed the mother’s attention to the live video feed, adding that (possibly non-verbatim) “baka isa sa mga bangkay ay ‘yung anak mo.”

    Noli de Castro’s comment was obviously not thought out well. He had disrespected the mother’s individual rights by making an insensitive statement, perhaps forgetting that she was a possible victim of the tragedy in question. It is puzzling how Noli de Castro could have made such a slip on national television, considering he has been in the broadcasting industry for a very long time. Moreover, he should no longer be on air in the first place, given the conflict of interest that arises from his having been in office as a senator 2001-2004 and as the Vice President of the Philippines 2004-2010. In that time, he has gotten involved not only with his political party K4, but also with several other political circles, which commonly comprise news content. Such involvements are considered unethical.

    De Castro ought to take full responsibility for his actions, past and present, and own up to what he knows he must do. He has been in the field for far too long to not know what is ethical from what is not.

  9. This morning, local media outfits turned their attention to a movement that Filipinos from all over the Philippines and even in other parts of the world had been planning for weeks. The Million People March, a protest calling for the abolition of the pork barrel system in the government, took place today at the Luneta Park and along Roxas Boulevard. Until the afternoon, certain news programs issued updates live from the protest with different angles. Some reports described the various personalities who appeared at the protest; others focused on the crowd and what the people had to say about the issue at hand.

    Throughout the day, the reports featured on GMA-7 and GMA News TV were tastefully handled and presented. The information in the reports remained fair, factual, and objective; everything was presented in the proper original context. The field reporters and news anchors refrained from making personal side comments during the presentation of the reports, even though one would assume that they too have a stand on the issue. All opinions and terminologies that tend to lean towards one side were all taken from the people involved in the protest and the issue. Such details were presented accordingly, which meant that the media practitioners remained impartial all throughout.

    Notably, the coverage was also conducted in such a way that did not incite violence in the viewers or call for an overthrow of the government. The coverage remained true to the core of the protest–the issue of the pork barrel system–and did not add layers of political color meant to directly attack the government. This was likely due in part to the peacefulness and success of the movement itself, but it is also the network’s responsibility to ensure that coverages of such events will not cause unrest, and the GMA Network made sure to adhere to this responsibility.

    Finally, the coverage also made sure to shed light on the other side of the issue, that is, the statement of the government. Reports were aired featuring President Noynoy Aquino’s statement regarding the pork barrel system, straight from the program commemorating National Heroes’ Day, and other official statements were also aired from the Malacanang Palace. To this moment, GMA Network continues to seek all sides of the story, thus ensuring that the fair coverage of the day would continue beyond this as they follow the issue.

  10. On Sunday morning, I discovered a health program that airs on GMA News TV on early Sunday mornings. The program is simply titled “The Healthy Life”, and it is hosted by Drs. Cris and Linda Enriquez. On “The Healthy Life”, the two doctors discuss health issues and offer basic medical advice to the program’s viewers. Viewers send in their concerns through correspondence with the program, and the two doctors will then give a brief background of the ailment or condition the viewer describes. However, they refrain from giving full diagnoses on the program, instead explaining the possible implications of the symptoms described and advising viewers to see experts personally.

    The program properly complies with the provision in the Broadcast Code of 2007 that states only duly qualified and authorized persons may give professional advice through media. Drs. Cris and Linda Enriquez, as my research has revealed, are well practiced and have made multiple achievements in the field of medicine. This gives them much credibility and knowledge about the topics discussed on the show. It is also commendable that they only give brief explanations of viewers’ medical concerns and then advise the viewers to seek medical help personally, instead of diagnosing the viewers on air. This ensures that a viewer’s condition is thoroughly monitored and tested, thereby letting him or her get the best and most accurate medical help possible.

    “The Healthy Life” properly demonstrates how health advice programs (and by extension, other programs which offer professional help or advice) should perform their purpose, and I am hopeful and optimistic that it shall continue to do so in its run.

  11. Amid all the recent discussions of the PDAF controversy, both in the media and in social circles, the public has been very interested–and rightfully so–in the intricacies of the issue. People wish to delve more into the government’s spending habits with regards to the PDAF, how the funds came to misappropriation by both public and private personalities, and who exactly have been involved in the whole scandal.

    Tonight on “24 Oras”, another news bulletin about the PDAF controversy was aired. It discussed the allegations against Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago–that she herself has misappropriated her funds by “donating” to an unaccredited and perhaps non-existent NGO, just as businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles is purported to have done. A document containing details of the transaction with the alleged ghost NGO was briefly presented as proof. Santiago appeared in a pre-recorded clip shortly after, addressing field reporters and debunking the allegations against her.

    In only the span of a few minutes, “24 Oras” has demonstrated proper service of the public interest. It has chosen to air a news bulletin that was strictly about a matter of public interest, that is, the misuse of public funds. It has contextualized the public complaint through the presentation of the alleged documentation of said illicit transaction. It has also presented fairness by following the “equal opportunity rule”, by which Santiago was interviewed and allowed to air her side of the story. In doing all of the above, “24 Oras” laid out the proper background for all sides of the story, a relevant act in the proper analysis of the issue that will eventually lead to the victory of the public’s search for truth.

  12. “Unang Hirit” on GMA 7 has always been a multi-faceted show, with different segments dedicated to hard news, special features, home and cooking tips, and more. It has also been known to showcase advertisements on occasion, and it has done so again this morning. An advertisement for a food supplement was aired just before a commercial break, featuring a testimonial from a woman who claimed to have gotten good results from the product, a brief dramatization of her plights before using the product, and a spiel about the product. All throughout, the disclaimer “Paid Advertisement” was displayed at the upper left corner of the television screen, and the ad’s narrator declared that the product had “no approved therapeutic claims” at the end.

    The display of good ethical standards is commendable, in that the advertisement was aired separately from the program’s news segment, keeping the advertisement from being mistaken for or aired in the guise of news. It was also properly labeled as an advertisement so as to not mislead viewers into thinking otherwise. Finally, it made a proper disclaimer at the end of the advertisement, given that the product is a food supplement and could have easily been mistaken for medicine. In doing so, the advertisement prevented viewers from making mistaken assumptions about the product and how it can be used.

    It is good to know that, in a media society that has been infiltrated by stealth advertising in all its forms, there is still honest advertising to be found.

  13. Over the past few weeks, different media platforms such as radio, television, Internet media, and even print have covered the ongoing tension in Zamboanga between government soldiers and members of the Misuari-MNLF faction. Most coverages have notably taken care to properly identify and contextualize the persons involved in the conflict as members of one party of the other, never with cultural identities. However, among the latest slew of coverages comes yesterday’s headline of the Inquirer Bandera, which reads: “Krisitiyano VS Muslim sa Zambo.”

    Tabloids have earned a poor reputation of unethical journalism in different forms, but this has never justified the continuation of such practices for any publication in tabloid form (and it never will). Its unethical, contemptuous regard of the conflict in Zamboanga displays discrimination towards Muslims, undue partiality in favor of Christians, and blatant disrespect for the humanity of both–and all other parties involved. It brushes off the fact that both religious sectors it has named have suffered from the conflict it refers to, and that religion is not necessarily the basis of war. Christians and Muslims have stated that they themselves are at peace with each other, and that this conflict has nothing to do with religion. The article is insensitive, biased, and potentially inflammatory.

    Inquirer Bandera has yet to take responsibility for its actions via a retraction or a public apology, and concerned citizens continue to wait as they pray for peace.

  14. http://entertainment.inquirer.net/114841/beauties-defend-miss-world-megan-young-from-online-haters

    Megan Young’s win in Miss World is really cause for celebration especially for us Filipinos but it should be noted that sometimes our actions that are aimed to defend our own country turn into extreme defensiveness that put ethics aside.

    This article highlights this and discusses online etiquette. The outrage against Divina DeDiva is understandble but has it gone a little too far? Comparable to “Amalayer”and other online exposes, it impedes on the personal and private. Take note that DeDiva commented on her personal facebook account and she is being bashed all over.

    The reaction is understandble but the action could be more ethical.

  15. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/lifestyle/10/03/13/search-3-girls-viral-puppy-video

    Animals have been uncharted territory in media violations but this article highlights how media is used unethically against animals. 3 girls uploaded a video on the social networking site facebook where it can be seen that the puppy is being crushed. Using media in such a way is incredibly wrong. Even if one may say that facebook is a personal account, one must use the internet responsibly.

    Netiquette was clearly not observed here, as well as humane judgment. Many animal rights sectors are incredibly offended due to such a sickening display.

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