Prosecute erring journalists

PUNCHLINE

by Ali G. Macabalang

Journalists known for exercising press freedom excessively deserve prosecution, not death. Lock them up to realize in reclusion that free press comes with utmost responsibility for enlightening and persuading people to do better, not for maligning and other whims.  

One Eric Duga-Duga, who claims to be the “youngest commentator” nowadays, had called elected Muslim officials “baboy” in some of his video clips I have watched. His misbehaviour has reached the attention of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security. The Maguindanao Prosecutors’ Office has already lodged a case against him.

He works for the Radyo ni Juan FM station owned in Tacurong City reportedly by a political family in Sultan Kudarat. Two program anchors cum commentators of the same station had been shot dead by henchmen.

Media groups including the Bangsamoro Press Crops had condemned the fatal shooting on the two media workers – Jaynard Angeles and Benjie Caballero on January 12 this year and in October 2019, respectively. Angles died on the spot while Caballero died weeks later in hospital.

Angeles and Caballero were not as foul-mouthed as Duga-Duga. I suspect that the alleged politician-owner of Radyo Ni Juan FM radio station was not protective of the dead workers, while seemingly allowing the latter to rampage on elected officials perceived as supporting rival political camps.

The PTFoMS or the Kapisanan ng mga Broakaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) should impose restrictive sanctions on the outfit by pushing for the nullification of its operations permit.

In Kabacan, North Cotabato, an FM station was shut down by then Mayor Luz Tan when she cancelled its business permit to operate after a series of “malicious attacks” against her by one or more of commentators of the outfit.

Conscience-bereft BBM trolls

Senatorial candidate Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, a veteran journalist-turned-politician/bureaucrat, is gaining popularity with his own heart-touching campaign narratives about the ills of the agriculture industry in the country and how such odds can be squarely resolved with focal government attention.

Piñol has no money to pay trolls to speak for him. He does the talking, even as supporters kept volunteering to print campaign materials for him while others embedded their vehicles including trucks with tarpaulins seeking votes for him in the May 9, 2022 elections.

When Presidential candidate Ping Lacson staged his proclamation rally this week in Cavite, he prominently endorsed Piñol saying he was highly impressed by the campaign narrative of the former Agriculture and MinDA secretary about the glaring contrast between Israel and the Philippines.

Piñol in a recorded video footage said Israel is 60% desert with just one river in a two million-hectare land, while the Philippines comprises hundreds of rivers in 32 million-hectare land deplete with fertile soils. The contrast is: Israel exports food to other nations, while PH imports food. The problem in PH is lack of full state support for farmers and fisherfolks, he said.

Pinol’s reality-based persuasion in public speaking is in sharp contrast to the case of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos, whose popularity hinges on trolls’ narratives, albeit some of which appeared as make-believe.     

Bongbong is evasive of media-sponsored dialogs, shunning two popular episodes already. He seems to have given the lead role to trolls in speaking for him and ganging up against critics (as exemplified by lawyer Larry “Bobo” Gadon in maliciously maligning a lady veteran journalist over the issue of payment in tax evasion case fines.)

In one of my moderated Facebook pages, one BBM fanatic likened me to a monkey for posting the question: “What has BBM done for the Bangsamoro people. The crazy fanatic could be true in his claim. But when I checked his profile, I saw his profile photo in reality looking like a monkey. I posted such photo, making Muslim backers realize that trolls, to me, are bereft of conscience. (Comments can be sent to: alimac.bulletin@gmail.com.)

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