Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The corruption of the media

When a journalist is murdered, it isn't always a case of a society's deteriorating respect for press freedom. Sometimes it is just karmic retribution. Professor Luis Teodoro brings to our attention that despicable brand of journalists who have been corrupted by their part-time practice of the profession:

Many journalists in the communities are not professionals in several senses. They were not trained in journalism. Many do what they think is “journalism” part-time. Still others do it for no other purpose than to use the media for narrow, personal ends.
Many “journalists” in the communities, to sum up, are caught in a web of complex relationships in which they invariably accumulate enemies, in addition to their doing violence to the core ethical and professional values of journalism. General Santos radio reporter Abayon, for example, was described by those who knew him as not likely to have been shot because of his work, perhaps because he fit the description of many local “journalists” who have one foot in the media but who have the other -- and probably both arms as well -- in other pursuits.

One of these complications is the common practice of serving as the attack dogs of these interests, which in many instances has led to inaccurate and biased reporting, virulent attacks on their patrons’ rivals, libel and slander, and plain, garden-variety lying.Some victims of journalistic malpractice have gone so far as to declare that filing libel suits is too good for those who habitually destroy reputations and who poison the well of public opinion by spreading lies rather than the truth that’s the fundamental responsibility of journalists to report.

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