Thursday, December 2, 2010
Against pro-RH bias in the media
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:35:00 11/29/2010
IN THE Reproductive Health (RH) bill debate, the Inquirer has trampled on hallowed journalism principles such as fairness and truthfulness.
While it is the Inquirer’s prerogative to favor the RH bill or not (it expressed support for the bill in at least one editorial), I believe that whatever its bias should not taint its reportage on the issue. It should bear in mind the first point of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics: “I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis.”
In dizzying near-consistency, the Inquirer in fact violated this first principle by depriving the public of adequate and well-explained information about the pro-life stand in the RH bill controversy. Contrast this fact with the newspaper’s abundant articles elaborating the pro-choice stance, while putting in good light pro-choice advocates and making villains out of pro-life crusaders. (For samples of biased Inquirer materials, visit www.peopleformedia.wordpress.com.)
In the interest of ethical journalism, I therefore plead with the Inquirer to dare to inquire with rigor and to present news as objectively as possible. I say “as possible,” because absolute objectivity in journalism is never possible. The Inquirer (and other media outfits) can, however, very well aim to at least keep on leash their biases behind (1) well-contextualized quotes from credible sources, (2) the equal presentation of both sides of an issue and (3) by clarifying data given them by sources, thereby avoiding misinterpretation and miscommunication (as happened in the news on the supposed threat to excommunicate President Aquino and the alleged acceptance by the Pope of condom use in the fight against AIDS). The Inquirer would also do well by being critical in the midst of the greedy and anti-life mindset being propagated by powerful Western secularists and ultra-liberalists.
Having been inspired by the Inquirer to take up journalism in college, I am hoping that the Inquirer, once the best newspaper in the country, would reclaim its original dignity and fulfill its vocation to serve truth, freedom and justice.
—JUN DARYL ZAMORA,
17 Maginhawa St., UP Village,
Diliman, Quezon City