Is the media part of the problem?

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III has deplored recently the absence of a balance presentation of news on important events and economic development in the country.

He said Philippine media only print and air negative stories and seldom play up news on high economic growth, job creation, and heavy inflow of foreign investment.

If ever there are positive news they are not highlighted or discussed in columns, editorials and commentaries.
Philippine journalism has been adversarial since the time of the Propaganda Movement launched prior to Revolution of 1896 against the Spanish rule, which later against Japanese occupation. It has never been a developmental journalism.

In Australia, a huge country we had visited twice, only positive news of national significance are  published. Crime stories written in straight form were shortened and put just inside the newspapers.

Germany which we had also visited years back, do not have newspapers of national circulation. All dailies are regional in scope and carried  stories only about the economy, new inventions and new breakthroughs in science and technology.

Newspapers in Singapore, Malaysia,Brunei, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, and perhaps to a certain extent the rest of members of ASEAN, are restricted compared to our free wheeling press. Print and broadcast journalists are proud to hear that the Philippines has the freest press in the world but feel ashamed when our country is branded as the most dangerous place for journalists.

The sad commentary of the President on the Philippine  Media prompted us to read back issues of dailies  in our file to discover how news reports were evaluated and treated.

We found that the President is right. Media in the country are indeed adversarial, negative and critical of the government because their traditional orientation is that the press is the vanguard of the people who live in a democracy and that the press is not essentially the messenger of truth and good news.

This  must be understood by our leaders today so that they can learn how to deal with press. In criticizing the media for alledgedly focusing only on the negative things, Mr.Aquino was probably dissapointed by the way the press treated his achievements in so short a time.Two of these achievements of Mr. Aquino are:

1) The peso will likely gain ground against the dollar at a faster pace than most Asian currencies this year as the Bangko Central ng Pilipinas starts raising key interest rates to curb rising inflation pressures in the second quarter, European investment bank Credit Agricole CIB said.

The Philippine peso is one of our top picks in the region for 2011 as the current account  surplus is likely to remain large (nearly 9 percent of gross domestic product) while valuations in the equity market are likely to continue attracting foreign portfolio flows, it said.

2) Philippine Economy galloped to its highest annual growth after the Marcos administration, surging by 7.3 percent in 2010 on the back of a global economic recovery. recovery.

Analyst said the growth is a boost for President Aquino’s new government as it seeks to attract more foreign investors and enable long underperforming economy to catch with its fast-developing Asian neighbors.

The  2010 growth surpassed official growth projections of five to six percent. The economy grew by only 1.1 percent in 2009, hit by the global financial crisis.

Despite the El Nino and the diminished government spending during the second semester, the domestic economy sizzled to its annual DGP growth in the post Marcos era of 7.3 percent in 2010 from 1.1 percent in 2009.- Cornelio de Guzman


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