‘Malignant’ corruption in media feared in 2013 polls

By Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2012 01:35 PM | Updated as of Nov 26 2012 08:05 PM

Ex-Polish President tells media: Guard the politicians

TAGAYTAY, Philippines - "Cancer na ang problemang ito."

This is how news organizations view corruption in media nowadays, with many fearing it would be more prevalent in the coming 2013 national elections.

In the recently concluded 9th Media Nation Summit held here, [email protected] Foundation president Bart Guingona said: “Ang media, watchdog 'yan ng government, but who watches the watchdog?”

It is crucial that this problem should be discussed freely since the role of the media shapes not only the country's policy and development, but also the people's everyday lives, he added.

[email protected] Foundation is one of the organizers of this year’s summit.

Former Polish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa spoke to the members of the media and reminded them of their role in society.

"The media has the most important role in today’s world. You have to provoke discussion with questions,” he said.

Walesa also challenged the media to be more responsible. “You can build with freedom, you can also destroy with freedom...The world has never been as dependent on media as it is today,” he said.

Although media uses the word “democracy” frequently, he said, “We are forgetting what is practical democracy.”

Walesa urged the media to be at the forefront of guarding politicians. “Media makes many heroes, including me. But I can see it is also destructive. It is the question of how we learn to be responsible...God gave you a lot, and this is where he spoiled you. So now, media [you have to] move a little bit,” he said.

News organizations such as ABS-CBN News, meanwhile, committed themselves to curtailing this "cancer- like" problem.

During the three-day, two-night summit, media practitioners, members of the academe and other participants came up with solutions targeting the persistent corruption affecting the industry.

These include strengthening and publishing codes of conduct of news organizations; coming up with a single industry-wide standard; creating a website that can police erring/corrupt journalists; and signing a 2013 election covenant that seeks a corrupt-free national elections.