MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino on Friday night lashed out at Philippine media for alleged bias toward negative news reports.
Aquino, in his speech at the 25th anniversary celebration of TV Patrol at the Manila Hotel, said he wants a positive spin in news stories and commentaries from ABS-CBN's flagship primetime news broadcast.
"Kung gabi-gabing bad news ang hapunan ni Juan dela Cruz, talaga namang mangangayayat ang puso’t isip niya sa kawalan ng pag-asa," he said. "Ilang turista kaya kada buwan ang nagka-cancel ng bakasyon dahil sa araw-araw na negatibismo? Ilan kayang kababayan ang nawawalan ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng kabuhayan dahil sa bad news na ito?"
Aquino also said overseas Filipino workers should get more good news from home. "Kung isa po kayo sa sampung milyon nating kababayan na nagsasakripisyo sa ibayong-dagat, gaganahan kaya kayong bumalik dito kung mas nakakasindak pa sa Shake, Rattle, and Roll ang balita sa telebisyon?"
He cited one flagship anti-poverty project of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that he continued -- the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program -- which he said should get more positive news reports in media.
"Sa mahigit tatlong milyong pamilyang benepisyaryo ngayon ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, hindi naman po siguro mahirap maghanap ng isang magsasabing, 'Malaking tulong ang programang ito,'" he said.
"Hindi ko hinihiling na kumatha kayo ng mga gawa-gawang kuwento, o pagandahin ang imahen ng gobyerno. Ang akin lang po, kung naibabalita ang mga nagaganap na krimen at trahedya, ibalita rin naman po natin sana kung paano ito naresolba," Aquino said. "Ang pagkiling sa negatibismo ay mag-aatras lamang sa dapat sana’y pag-usad na ng ating bayan at mga kapwa Pilipino."
He issued similar statements during the 25th anniversary of BusinessWorld newspaper also on Friday night.
"Too often, these days, when we switch our televisions to the news, or when we browse through the pages of our papers, we are greeted with negativity," he said.
"The news shouldn’t be about competing with other outfits on who can sell the most negative headlines; it shouldn’t just be about attracting more and more readers in the short term. Think about it: In the long term, how many people would be willing to pay just to have their day daily ruined? How long can an audience withstand negativism day in and day out?" Aquino said.
He said the media should join forces with the government and the public in creating "an environment of positive, progressive discourse."
"We must veer away from negativity and sensationalism. These must not run the course of our national discussions. Negativity leads to despair, which leads to apathy, which then perpetuates the vicious cycle," he said.
It was not the first time that Aquino has vented his ire on Philippine media.
In April this year, Aquino said at the Philippine Press Institute's National Press Forum and annual membership meeting that the country will have difficulty reaching the target to attract 10 million tourists by 2016 if media continues to focus on crime and the negative.
He accused Filipino journalists of having a "crab mentality" and accused them of pulling down efforts of other Filipinos.
ABS-CBNnews.com is the news website of ABS-CBN Corp.