Two marginally related things that, taken together, paint a rather bleak picture of the Philippine media landscape this week.
For Halloween, two hosts of noontime variety show “Eat, Bulaga!” (Or Eat Beluga to our friends from Buzzfeed) dressed up like “Arab sheiks”, a costume that offended some Filipino Muslims, including Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who called it “a mockery of and an affront to the image of the Muslim.”
The Philippine media industry is facing a crisis: In many newsrooms, journalists are quitting and while that is normal in an industry that has historically had a high rate of attrition, this is happening in the lead up to an election year.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who is running for the Senate in 2016, said Tuesday that the Philippines should not rely on the United States in its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, the country’s economic zone in the South China Sea.
“Let us rely on ourselves,” he said, according to a Rappler report. And that is a wonderful sentiment and a great goal to aspire to. His suggestion is for the Philippines to be “like Vietnam and other countries that didn’t seek [assistance, presumably] from the United States.”
Days after filing her certificate of candidacy for president, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has given the public a peek of who she is now, and has always been.
Not the affable lady who cracks pickup lines when speaking in public, or even the supposed “graftbuster”, who loses her temper at the corrupt and the inept, but the blowhard who brooks no opposition.
Did you know that Dennis Trillo is in a movie about Iglesia ni Cristo founder Felix Manalo, and that the movie — called, logically enough, “Felix Manalo” — has broken Guinness world records?
Well, now you do, thanks to the Philippine Star. Also, some stuff about some whatever sea dispute with China and some baloney about elections. Who cares?
It must be noted, though, that Iglesia did nothing wrong here. If newspaper space can be bought and an advertiser has the money, then it will be bought. What is more disturbing is why the space was for sale at all.
This subversion of the newspaper front page seems to have worked, though, because the world records that the movie broke were for having the most people watching a movie at the same time.
The influential religious group has broken other world records in the past, all of which were essentially variations on the theme: Many people in one place doing one thing at the same time.
In January 2001, when the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada began crumbling and his political allies began jumping ship to join the growing crowd at the EDSA shrine calling for his resignation, a young activist with AGHAM-Youth wept bitterly: “The politicians have stolen the moment, they have stolen our protest.”
And he was right. In the months leading up to EDSA Dos, the movement to oust Estrada was led mainly by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the groups affiliated with it.
As the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility , the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and the National Press Club keep reminding us, press freedom in the Philippines is under a continuing threat. What they — well, okay, the CMFR does — sometimes neglect to mention is that sometimes that threat is from so-called journalists themselves.
Sports website Spin.ph warned on September 21 of a “chilling warning to media” in the Philippine Basketball Association banning sports writer Snow Badua from covering PBA games and barring PBA officials, referees, and players from granting him interviews.
The ban came after Badua alleged that a PBA official was having an affair with a model, but , Spin.ph says there is more to it than that:
A PBA official, requesting anonymity, intimated that some team officials present in that board meeting were fed up with articles that Spin.ph has dared run in the past. These presumably include the ‘farm teams’ issue and game-fixing in the league, which we did run, precisely to give the professional teams a chance to air their side and address accusations constantly thrown at them by fans online.
It would perhaps be educational for everybody else who seems to agree that Martial Law was not the best idea if Marcos loyalists — many of whom were born after the dictator fled the country in disgrace — would share their sources. Either of stories about how life was great back then, or of the drugs they seem to be taking to believe that Marcos deposited tons of gold at the World Bank (which does not quite work like a regular bank where people deposit things, in any case) for the benefit of the Filipino people.
If it sometimes feels that you’re reading the same news stories across platforms, that’s because you probably are. read more