Monday, May 29, 2006

Response to Arming the Media Members

I hear you Mr. Ortigoza.

However, I think the long-term solution to the safety of mediamen is a larger base of credible and effective media practioners. What do I mean by this?

The current set-up of the tri-media in the Philippines is focused around a handful of large entities owned by powerful persons/organizations that can protect themselves. The other side is the countryside media that is vulnerable to threats and violence as we have seen. Media persons who incur the wrath of the powerful are singled out. They are exposed, isolated, and have practically no one to turn to.

The "small' media people need to band together and protect each other in a more innovative way. Media , as it is structured in the Philippines, does not protect the media person who takes on the powerful. Beyond guns, the effort should be on expanding the media base and putting in place mechanisms that allow for widespread gathering of information, protecting the informant and media person, and ensuring that an expose leads to concrete action. My suggestions below propose that the task of the "expose" media should go beyond being a profession, but should be a MOVEMENT for good governance. How to do this?

1. Those threatening or killing media people must be exposed immediately. They, including their families, must be exposed and isolated. Their sources of (ill-gotten) wealth, political protectors, etc. publicly identified. Information is more powerful than guns and when used effectively can confront the powerful.

2. Disseminating these information must be done regularly for the long-term with follow-up stories.

3. A mechanism should be set up to receive tips, protect the informant, relay the information to the proper authorities and to the general public.

Media, and for that matter citizens, to protect themselves, must make more use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Websites that expose the corrupt and the violent should be set up. These websites should have a flat organization using a cooperative approach, say 100 founders, some of which live abroad. Manning and running it should be such that anyone can pose an expose as long at it is verified and credible. The political MoveOn.org website (1 M volunteers) is an example. The Indian website that exposed official corruption is another example. Tips/expose to be posted should have a mechanism for its verification. Anonymous volunteers (think dedicated anti-corruption watchdogs, political and human rights activists, environmentalists, etc.) can help maintain and expand the site. If reporters are threatened to be quiet they can post anonymoustly.

Blogs are another form of ICT that can be used. Just imagine if you have 100 blogs suddenly writing about Congressman Taga ordering the hit on Reporter PatayKangBataKa for the next two weeks. What do you think the impact will be on the mainstream press and government?

Unity in numbers, effective management of information, and linkaging/ helping one another is the way to address violence against the media.

Perspective
By Mortz Ortigoza

Why I'm for the Arming of Media

I'm a businessman but moonlight as a take -no -prisoner columnist in a news weekly in Pangasinan for several years. In this vocation I saw and learned the tentacles of corruptions at its worst as perpetrated by local officials in the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government here.

Like our serious brothers and sisters in other parts of the country, we expose these malefactors not for monitorial consideration, but with patriotic dedication to extinguish these tumors that gnawed the moral fibers of this country. As a consequence, we are being peppered to death

The reasons why numbers of journalists being killed is rising in the Philippines because we have bozo like Vice President Noli de Castro who pooh-poohed the proposals from different sectors of arming us.

In an internet article posted at www.gmanews.tv on May 24, 2006, the vice president said that implementing a measure to arm media, people may see it as an indictment of the failure of our law enforcement authorities to maintain peace and order. He added that arming media men was, and never will be the answer to the spate of killings of journalists. It will only exacerbate the situation.

Failure of our law enforcement, Mr. President?

You made me puked.

Our people have known a long time ago our law enforcement was a fiasco. Just take a look at those waylaid:

Since democracy was restored in 1986, there were 79 journalist killed. 42 of these were murdered under the administration of President Gloria Arroyo.

And I don't know what lucky number I belong on this increasing figures of media guys who are reassigned to take a beat in either Heaven or Hell. Though an armed media is quite bizarre to look at, It' s the best thing we can do for now. Imagine, my peer in profession as sitting ducks for target shooting by killers hired by corrupt government officials that we exposed.

The commonsensical thing this helpless government can do is to train us how to handle and carry firearms if not long arms.

With Secretary Raul Gonzales asking us what help the government can do for this alarming deaths, then it's time to tell him, and the president that what we need is for them to teach us how to be responsible gun holders. For her to issue an order to the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to have a special mode of processing for us to avail for license, and permit to carry firearms outside our residence.

For majority of us who don't have financial capacity to buy this lethal piece, then it's time for Congress -pronto - to make this great service by amending the Firearms Law so our brother and sister who make our democracy more transparent can bear the said arms too fro free.

Remember, these things are issued to them not only as protection but as deterrence to assassins to think twice before pulling the trigger.

It's far fetch for Noli boy "the electoral product of the shallow minded bakya crowd-- fearing the danger of an armed media men because they will abuse it

We have those high school graduate if not lowly security guards and barangay captains who strut on the streets with a gun tucked on their waistline. Have you heard them shooting each other, or poking their pieces to everybody's face?

Seldom, if none.

That analogy will be the same, if not much better to a much intelligent media people whose talents made them taller then the "mechanical" blue guards, and those idiotic barangay officials whose only accomplishment was to crow their pathetic accomplishment before their friends in a beer drinking orgy.

Besides, the fear of de Castro, Senator Richard Gordon, many of our peers in the profession, and others about rogue in our rank is only a fly on the ointment.

These people can still be discouraged as what we see on the said guards and officials.

These people know any mishandling of firearms have respective criminal imprisonment.

Discharging of firearms, poking it to another, and shooting somebody have consequential penalties like alarm & scandal, grave threats, illegal discharge, attempted, frustrated, or consummated homicide or murder. Not to mention the civil liabilities for the culprits.

Our brother and sister would surely wouldn't like these. What they want is they can practice their profession without fear because of a visible assurance of protection besides them.

So forget that fear Noli boy, Senator Gordon, and those nincompoops in the media industry .

What we should fear for goodness sake, our ranks are being decimated to extinction. And we have to do something for it.

Would the Filipinos allow the forces of evil reign on this country? Where the name of the game is survival of the fittest, the strong rules, and the weak-though they are great in numbers play only the subservient role.

Oh by they way. With that justification of unnecessarily of arming us since the PNP can provide us bodyguard. Was it too much of a hassle for the police force who bellyache that it is undermanned? Was it a hassle for those poor media men who got pretty wives, who will pay for the jitney rides, and food of his body guards who most of time shadow him, notwithstanding the vulnerability of the fidelity of his wife because of the presence of a handsome police protector.

The primordial issue here is what makes our democracy ticks because we have a healthy media that check the abuses of the three branches of the government which couldn├»¿½t effectively check themselves.

What makes everybody├»¿½s life exciting is because we have these courageous members of the fourth estate that are willing to sacrifice their lives just to expose corruption.

Corruptions particularly in the local level like overpricing of government projects, protection of illegal gambling, prostitution, drugs, and other anomalies. Notwithstanding, corrupt judges, officials and rank and files of national agencies like those in Public Works and Education that are based on the provincial areas

As what the quote from Edmund Burke said: "All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing."

My fervent hope, there are still good men and women in the public and private sectors who can still hear our wail for the greater good of this country.

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"In God We Trust, all others bring data" - W. Edwards Deming

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