Monday, April 23, 2012

Peace Journalism in the Philippines

Photo from: Jon Slattery

The first top story on the Philippine News is "One killed, 6 injured in Philippines sqautters riot."  This pretty much sums up the Philippine News: full of sensationalism, blame, and bias.  To make sure that this was not just the tactics of one news website, but of all Filipino news websites, I checked a few other news sources.  It turned out that they were all very similar in how they reported news.  The one-sided approach was apparent when I read the tagline "Philippine News for Filipinos" (and that is exactly how they reported, as if no one but Filipinos were reading their news) on one website and the top headline "Aquino: These are our waters" on a third.  The search term "terrorism" came up with 9,580 results on one Philippine news site.

Needless to say, peace journalism is not practiced in the Philippines. Of course, there are articles that include peace journalistic writing, but overall, this is not the case.  The freedom of press is partly free, which is right in the middle of the scale, which includes "Free, Partly Free, and Not Free."  The sad part to me is that they have improved drastically in the past decade, but from what I read, it is far from peace journalism.  Considering that there was a "massacre" (CNN's words) in 2009 in which 52 people were killed, 32 of which were journalists, I can see how anything would be considered an improvement.  However, there is still a long way to go.  

One article in particular caught my attention.  It was called "Aquino urges media to shun negativism to boost tourism."  The article articulated the importance of keeping media outlets positive so tourists will consider traveling to the Philippines.  Aquino said, "if the media were more 'balanced' on their reporting, more foreign tourists would visit the country."  I was really excited to read the comments, but I think that the people who were commenting used slang so I was unable to translate most of it.  I did catch a few things, such as "You don't know what you're talking about.  The media is bound to tell the truth of what's really going on."  I was happy to read this article because it targeted exactly what we're talking about in Peace Journalism class.  Two problems, though: 1) His motive behind practicing peace journalism is not for the right reasons (but, whatever it takes, right?) 2) The article before this one was the one entitled "Aquino: These are our waters."

Overall, the news is very sensationalized, but I think they are taking steps in the right direction and are willing to change.

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