MANILA, Philippines - As mudslinging among candidates intensifies, so are the attacks against the media.
Media watchdog Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said that in a situation like this, it is usually the media that is caught in the crossfire.
For some candidates, reports favoring them are considered balanced, but reports against them are described as unfair.
“Ang trabaho kasi ng media dapat i-report lang, i-report kung ano ang mga nangyayari. Di naman sinabing ire-report iyong nangyayari ayon sa gusto mo. So kung di naaayon sa gusto mo, baka naman iyon talaga ang nangyari,” said Luis Teodoro, CMFR deputy director.
Based on CMFR's monitoring of the news coverage of private stations ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and government-station NBN-4 from March 1 to 12, NBN-4 devoted more time to election-related stories at 34.2%.
ABS-CBN's coverage of election-related stories was at 31.8% while GMA-7's was at 19.7%.
The CMFR said 90% of ABS-CBN's election stories were neutral while GMA-7 had 64% neutral reports. For NBN-4, 41% of its reports were seen as neutral.
The CMFR said the reporting done by the major networks was generally responsible during the period.
CMFR’s findings are reflected in an April 2010 survey of Pulse Asia, which found 63% of respondents believe that ABS-CBN has been the most credible in covering the polls, followed by GMA-7 at 55%, and NBN-4 at 27%.
A recent survey by Manila Standard Today also showed a similar result: 60-63% of television viewers said they trust ABS-CBN News programs, while 35-38% found GMA-7’s programs trustworthy.
The CMFR said the high credibility of television networks, and their being the major sources of news, are among the reasons why they are always being attacked.
“Pagka lahat ng kampo sinasabing biased ka, ibig sabihin nire-report mo lahat ng nakikita mo,” said Teodoro.
The CMFR added that the strength and credibility of a news organization depend on how it can report the news fairly amid accusations of being biased. - report of Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN CBN News