UP student raps Rappler, Agence France Presse for anti-Muslim slur in CDO bomb reports
“Commentary 6 (28 July 2013): Rappler writer implies ‘Muslims and Communists’ as responsible for CDO bombing” written by TDP
“Tragedy occurred last 26 July 2013 (Friday) in Cagayan de Oro City as forty-eight (48) were injured and six (6) civilians were killed in a bomb attack at a local bistro. Philippine troops and the police have since then been ordered to tighten security and stay vigilant in lieu of the recent event (France-Presse, 2013). Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and investigators were on site to search for clues on Friday night’s attack: “We are doing everything (to determine the suspects). We have placed the police in Mindanao, the intelligence community, and the army on heightened alert to prevent a similar attack” (France-Presse, 2013). An investigation is ongoing to determine possible motives for the restaurant bombing.
“Despite the lack of substantive evidence to pit a certain person or a certain group as responsible for the attacks, France-Presse of Rappler makes some misleading and judgmental claims about the possible culprits. In the 28 July 2013 article published by rappler the author notes: “Cagayan de Oro is a bustling city that has been relatively unscathed by a decades-old Muslim and communist insurgency that have plagued parts of the south in this largely Catholic country” (France-Presse, 2013). Although the writer notes that “Roxas’s statement suggested the attack may not have been the work of Muslim militants who operate in other parts of the south and are known to use mortar bombs rigged to a timing device”, the writer links specific groups as suspects of the attack. Furthermore, the adjective ‘Muslim’ is used to describe ‘militants’, which is problematic because it unrightfully relegates the act as being religiously, as well as politically motivated.
“According to the Philippine Press Institute (2013), “all efforts must be exerted to make stories fair, accurate, and balanced”, and “language, photographs, visuals, and graphics that are racist, sexist, insensitive, and disrespectful of men, women, and children, religious dominations, cultural communities, and gender and political preferences” should be avoided at all times. By insinuating that the attacks may be politically motivated and by implying that such attacks may be attributed to a particular religious group, France-Presse is guilty of two major unethical practices. Rather than speculate and consequently feed the public unsubstantiated information, it is best to wait for the results of the formal, official investigation.” Posted by TDP.