Party-list for media workers

A NUMBER of friends have expressed fears that the media’s participation in the coming elections as a party-list group would cloud its objectivity and destroy its credibility.

I think not. I believe that the much bragged media objectivity is a myth perpetrated by those who romanticized the vocation. News or opinions are always written or aired so from a certain vantage point. Events do not happen in a vacuum nor do writers write in one.

Events always happen within a certain context while stories and opinions are written, emphasized and aired based on the style and “thrust” of the publishing or broadcasting companies. Thus we have newspaper or broadcasting companies known to be particular for a certain cause or identified with a political or economic interest.

Since an event always happens within a certain context, a story about it is always within that context. It is written or aired from a specific standpoint of either of a personality, a known newsmaker, a crime victim, a criminal, or the authorities concerned. However, it could also be sourced from “almost everyone” if the media practitioner is simply naïve, a paid hack or does not want to take a stand, which paradoxically is a stand on itself.

Since absolute objectivity is quite impossible, the media practitioner could do the next best thing and that is to report the incident as faithfully as possible within the attending context. It is never right or permissible to invent facts.

The intrinsic absence of objectivity when doing a story is the reason why I am not so concerned about the possibility of losing “media impartiality.” I won’t discuss the legal basis that gives right to media persons and practitioners to form a party-list group. That is a job for lawyers.

However, I would like to point out that media workers, from its practitioners to the people who work in the printing presses, are among the most exploited segment of labor in our time. Rightly or wrongly this is why we have AC/DC (Attack and Collect/Defend and Collect) media practitioners.

To argue that nobody was forced to work in the media industry is simply callous. Media work, particularly for practitioners, is a vocation. We know we are performing an important task in nation building. It being a vocation, however, is not a reason for us to suffer exploitation.

It is my hope that a representation in congress will give media workers the necessary voice to implement changes. It is indeed ironic that we write about exploitation and yet we are silent about the oppression we sustain.

This is why I admire and support the initiative of Mr. Jerry Yap, former president of the National Press Club of the Philippines, to organize and lead the ALAM party-list for media workers and other oppressed sector of society. Although the setting of party-list group for media workers will not end our struggle for better working condition, it is a meaningful start.

I sincerely pray that Mr. Yap and ALAM succeed in their avowed goals to uplift the quality of life for media workers and practitioners for the nation’s sake.

Go forward Pareng Jerry, kaisa mo ako.

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