“Commentary 3 (1 July 2013): World Bulletin jumps the gun on Japanase MOFA article regarding Philippine visa requirements
By TDP “Last 27 June (Thursday), netizens were abuzz on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites about a report issued by World Bulletin online stating that effective July 1, the Japanese Embassy is lifting visas for Filipinos wishing to travel to Japan on short-term visits (ABS-CBN, 2013). The report went viral in a matter of hours.
“However, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarified that contrary to the report circulating, it will be relaxing, not lifting, visa requirements for Filipinos visiting Japan for 15 days or less. Specifically: “In celebration of the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, the Government of Japan has decided to begin issuance from July 1, of multiple entry visas for short-term stay to nationals of the Republic of the Philippines (ordinary passport holders), who reside in their home country” (J-MOFA, 2013). ABS-CBN was the first local media group to clarify the mix-up, through an article published less than an hour after the World Bulletin report was issued.
“As per Section III, Number 1 of the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct’ of the Philippine Press Institute, “all efforts must be exerted to make stories fair, accurate, and balanced” (p. 117). On one end of the spectrum, evidently, the World Bulletin practiced poor, shoddy journalism when it failed to verify the facts, and thusly misinterpreted the report issued by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Especially in the age of digital technology where information is spread rapidly within seconds, journalists should take great lengths in making sure that all pieces of information are accurate, so as to avoid the misinformation of the general public.
“On the other end of the spectrum, it may be argued that ABS-CBN practiced responsible journalism when it swiftly squelched the inaccurate report going viral, by releasing an article online to clarify the issue. Further, the news group contextualized the situation, by alluding to the previous World Bulletin report, and then positioning the article as an erratum to avoid further confusion.”