MANILA - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said it is about time the issue of ethics and professionalism in media is discussed openly.
In a statement, NUJP Chairperson Rowena Paraan said: “We hope that any discussion of ethics and professionalism shall encompass all aspects of the media industry as a whole and not be limited only to weeding out individual offenders. After all, for all its virtues and faults, the Philippine media is a reflection of the society from which it springs and which it claims to serve.”
This comes on the heels of a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that claimed broadcast journalists Erwin Tulfo and Melo del Prado received payoffs from the National Agribusiness Corp. (NABCOR), one of several government offices used in the pork barrel scam.
These payoffs were supposedly in the guise of advertising payments.
Paraan said the NUJP will not comment on the specific allegations to allow those involved to air their side. It also urged PDI to present more evidence to back up their story.
“We also fervently hope that the discourse on ethics does not descend into a mindless witch-hunt or be exploited by the enemies of a free and independent press to tarnish a profession that, for all its blemishes, still remains one of the Filipino citizens' strongest defenses against those who habitually abuse their powers and privileges,” she said.
She added the shortcomings of the Philippine media have been used by some quarters to justify media killings “as if corruption deserved a death sentence.”
“Any examination of ethics and professionalism should take into account as well the ownership and management patterns that exist in the media and how these, more often than not, play a major role in why journalists - from beat reporters to editors - fall astray. This is as true in Metro Manila, where practitioners earn substantially more, as in the provinces, where many journalists toil under difficult working conditions for wages below even the legal minimum,” Paraan said.