On responsible journalism

It’s true. There are such journalists, unfortunately. The so-called “low lives”.

In the press conference with the President following his statement about the killing of local journalists, it was reported that the President cat-called a lady journalist. His wife, it turns out. At this, the roomful of press people laughed or looked away.

I looked at this as a test, by the President, to validate the truth the journalists stood for. And a test those journalists roundly failed at. They should have consolidated their protest of a man (President or not) cat-calling a woman, in a professional setting, with a deafening silence. That would bring home the message- that these things are simply not tolerated. Then they would have earned even without opening their mouths the respect they’ve been clamoring for from the President.

The outcome for journalism which is positive change in society should shape how journalism as the medium is utilized. Experience will eventually teach one when to make something known to the public and when it is better said in private i.e. to the concerned individual(s), or nothing at all (because there’s something being done about it already or it’s not the right time), and how.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that it was most surprising that local journalists had not immediately organized themselves to make known their call for justice on their peers who were summarily killed in Maguindanao. The atrocity should have galvanized them to speak in one voice, because it was the right thing to do, the right time to do so, and that it was the better strategy as opposed to ranting about it individually. That too was a test they failed at.

Perhaps having seen too many deaths and violence up close, journalists here have become too sensitized thus hardly moved anymore. I understand that such is a natural reaction in order to survive and maintain sanity but sustaining the enthusiasm which has propelled one to take this particular career path in the first place is a responsibility. Responsible journalism is a habit one consciously works at continuously.

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