“This commentary only aims to discuss the article in the provided link above in accordance with the Philippine Journalist’s Code of Ethics and the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct of the Philippine Press Institute. The article is about the malversation of funds and several anomalies that were discovered at Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) through an investigation conducted by the Provincial Government.
“Under the Philippine Journalist’s Code of Ethics, a journalist “shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis.” Further, he/she “shall “recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.” Malversation of funds and other anomalies mentioned in the article are sensitive and critical issues that involve public interest; thus, getting the view from the other side is necessary. However, there is nothing in the article that expressly or impliedly states the act of the writer to perform the same. Likewise, the writer failed to exercise the necessary diligence and prudence in making sure that fairness to both parties is observed. The writer was not able to show Benguet General Hospital’s or Mr. Dison Balangue’s side of the story. Moreover, attempts to acquire the same for the sake of fairness and equality were not directly stated or implied.
“Under III.2 of and the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct of the Philippine Press Institute, “single-source stories must be avoided as a rule.” In connection with the preceding paragraph, the writer only relied on the allegations of Provincial Legal Officer Danio Bolislis and the Provincial Government’s affidavit-complaint. The need to get more sources, especially from the other party involved in the issues, was not satisfied. The provision of the Code also mandates that a journalist “must strive at all times to ascertain the truth of sources’ assertions.” On the contrary, the writer plainly based the article on the allegations of the complainants; extra effort to validate, confirm, or get other views was not exerted.
“Under the Philippine Journalist’s Code of Ethics, a journalist “shall presume persons accused of crime of being innocent until proven otherwise.” Although the writer used the term “alleged” throughout the article, the previously discussed failure or omission to present Benguet General Hospital’s or Mr. Dison Balangue’s side also tends to taint the parties’ innocence. Likewise, the whole article appears to be favorable to the allegations of the Provincial Government and might be prejudicial to the other. The article might influence the public to believe that the allegations of the complainants are true, despite the pending actions in Court that have not been resolved by final judgment.”
Background: Vera Files published a report on how a new group of models and photographers, calling itself Mongoloid na Pogi Productions or Monggi Productions, received flak from groups such as the Down Syndrome Association.
Commentary Written by Pseudonym One “On “Monggi”: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/the-inbox/monggi-group-asked-change-offensive-name-224319403.html#ugccmt-container “ While reading the title of the report, I did not quite understand what the fuss was about, since “monggi”, at first sight, seemed to be a harmless word. However, as I read through the report, “monggi” of the production group Monggi Productions actually stood for “mongoloid na pogi”. Upon reading that definition, I began to question the reasons behind the naming of the group. What is a “pogi” or handsome mongoloid? Is there a “pangit” or ugly mongoloid? What does that mean? Why did they have to include the term “mongoloid”, a politically incorrect term to refer to people with Down syndrome?
“In my opinion, the name of the group is offensive. Firstly, the production group and its output falls under the media, since it has its own Facebook group and photographs that are published for the public to see. Also, stating that “monggi” meant “mongoloid na pogi”, the group should have known better and could have been more sensitive to the public, which includes people with these disabilities. What added to this problem were the photos of the group with celebrities’ faces that mimicked the “features associated with people with down syndrome”. The article was clear to state the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, which indicates that public ridicule and vilification of these persons as a crime. Based on the interview, it seems like they did not mean to offend this sector but the mere fact that their use of the term created a stir among members of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, the act must be evaluated. According to The Philippine Journalist’s Code of ethics, “I shall not, in any manner, ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religion, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin”. Even though it is not explicitly indicated in the code of ethics, as a subject of attack to the person, this may also go for persons with disabilities. I, personally, would not use that word in public, let alone make it a name for my company seen by many online. It is a good that the group agreed to think about modifying the name of their brand, which gives us hope that this problem will soon be resolved. From this, I can say that one can show his or her artistry (in the form of writing or photography, and the like) without trying to clearly offend and violate a sector of society, in this case, people with Down syndrome.” Written by Pseudonym One