President Noynoy Aquino seeks fair reportage and encourages the throng of media executives and top editors to continue to empower for the "greater good of the public," during the opening ceremonies of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) event in Manila.
“Media, and perhaps especially print media, (have) a special role to play before, during and after our elections – as it does at any critical time in even your own countries. We Filipinos will need a just, comprehensive accounting of this historic time, and you are in the best position to do that."
Philippine's Chief Executive shared his views on the current media landscape to the delegates of the 16th Publish Asia conference attended by 300 fellows from 24 countries and supported by top Filipino publishers Dr. Emilio Yap III of Manila Bulletin, among others.
He noted that shifts to digital or new media pose danger to the services ideally traditional media must provide, saying that the recent trends allow "a single Tweet to break news — where anyone can report on anything, at any time, and have it reach anywhere in the world."
Aquino mentioned about several "clickbait" articles that came out after he attended a forum with live streaming on the Internet recently.
“I am also told that majority of, if not all, outlets have demonstrated a tendency to sensationalise titles, or post only provocative portions of articles online...Never mind if the reader chooses only to view that particular snippet and assume that they have been presented with the complete story."
He however also did not exempt those in print which publish articles "written with blatant bias" or fall short of reporting accurately.
At the point when the line between straight news and opinion becomes blurred, he says journalism or the media profession would be in danger.
“In the long run, will they not seek out alternative sources of information – sources that they know will tell them the truth?" he asked.
“By far and large, you — the press — already have our people’s trust. This alone reflects the magnitude of your responsibility to wider society: to disseminate information, instead of speculation; to foster higher levels of discourse, instead of becoming a rumor mill; to empower citizenries and nations, instead of tearing them down. It is my deepest hope that you will never forget this — that, whether in the Philippines or elsewhere in the world, you live and work accordingly with the greater good of the public in mind,” Aquino said.
The President pointed out that news about the presidential candidates are being utilised by millions.
He also stressed that "some more sensational candidates" enjoy more feature as if this has become one of the many opportunities for them to gain voter preference.
Good News Not Fear
To the executive publishers and foreign media, Pres. Aquino cited the case of Myanmar's battle for democracy, where good news are reported and "support to this transition" is extended "by telling the truth about the people’s sentiments, their dreams, and their efforts to realise that through democratic means."
WAN-IFRA, which organises the annual Publish Asia, is composed of 18 thousand publications and 13 thousand online sites in the world.
The two-day conference aims to discuss issues and new trends in media industry.
Photo Credits President Aquino at Manila Hotel by KrizJohn Rosales