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Preserve ethics in work, journalists urged

Photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO
Photo by KRISTELA DANIELLE S. BOO

JOURNALISTS should remain ethical in their profession despite the challenges posed by the current administration and the development of technology, seasoned media practitioners stressed in a forum held May 20.

Joseph Alwyn Alburo, GMA network program manager and UST Journalism lecturer, said journalists should continue to be truthful and loyal to the public in every report they make.

“Let’s level up our game, level up our journalism. Weaponize truth-telling, be ethical, and don’t forget to look out for each other. Talk to each other, debate if you must. We need to listen more [and] help process each other,” Alburo said.

“[W]e should not forget our basic journalism principle. […] Ethics gets to [be] mentioned when something bad happens but ethics is a living, breathing entity,” he added.

In light of the “ongoing war” between the media and President Rodrigo Duterte, journalists have to exert a huge amount of effort in their works to produce good stories, ABS-CBN multimedia reporter and UST Journalism professor Christian Esguerra said.

“There’s a war against media. It’s not necessarily single-handedly waged by the President but in the very least, he created this climate that allowed his own trolls, his own supporters, to fairly—as well as unfairly—attack mainstream media. And that, I think, is the biggest challenge confronting Filipino journalists now,” Esguerra said.

“We have to stick to the core principles of what we do. I still subscribe to the principle that we work behind the scenes largely. Let’s let our works do the talking,” he added.

In April, Duterte said he would block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, claiming that the network did not air his paid advertisements during the previous presidential campaign.

The President also accused the Philippine Daily Inquirer of producing stories that target him.

Former Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines president Manuel Mogato, on the other hand, noted that traditional journalism has started to lose its influence to the public due to the advancement of technology.

“Technology is becoming too fast for us, for reporters, for journalists, to cope with,” Mogato said. “Newspapers are losing money so the trust level of the people in our traditional media is at its lowest level because of fake news, trolls, and the people are now doing a lot of citizen journalism.”

Despite these challenges, BusinessMirror Editor-at-Large Dennis Estopace said making a good story should still be the priority of journalists.

“Good journalism rests its place in the basics. If you check out good stories, if you work on good stories, many people will realize even if offline or online that we are doing good journalism. At the end of the day, people will ask, ‘Was that a good story or not?’ And a good story beats anything,” Estopace said.

The forum titled Facebook Live, Creative Imagination, Alternative Facts: What’s Filipino Journalism For? was held at the Tanghalang Teresita Quirino Auditorium and was organized by the UST Journalism Graduate School and the UST Journalism Society. VANN MARLO M. VILLEGAS

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