Responsible Press

For a journalist, it is always risky to write news out of unverified information. Except for sensational reporter, a responsible journalist adheres the basic principles of journalism – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability.

Half-baked stories are sure hit – increase readership, ratings; more revenue. But there are risks.

There is the risk of libel suits. There is the risk of losing credibility and public trust. The latter are more threatening.

However, it is always safe to humbly apologize and rectify errors.

Today, the Philippine Daily Inquirer run a story, Philippine Daily Inquirer apologizes. Its lead goes:

The Philippine Daily Inquirer apologizes for its banner story on March 9, which erroneously reported that Eduardo Mañalac, former president of Philippine National Oil Co., would testify on the alleged kickbacks in the $329-million National Broadband Network (NBN) deal with ZTE Corp.

The apology come after reporter Tony Bergonia wrote that Eduardo Mañalac would testify on the alleged kickback in NBN-ZTE deal.

It can be recalled that after the March 9 banner story of Philippine Daily Inquirer, Eduardo Mañalac immediately denied the report.

ABS-CBN Interactive reports:

The former PNOC chief also said he has “never met” reporter Tony Bergonia, who wrote the article, and was “never contacted by the Inquirer or any other newspaper” to “corroborate this piece of false information.”

I reserve the right to take legal action against the Inquirer and its reporter Tony Bergonia for their part in this piece of fabricated information,” Mañalac said.

On Tuesday, it was not Mañalac who appeared but a certain Leo San Miguel, Cable TV executive. Early media reports said that the “surprise” witness will “surprise” everybody.

On the contrary, it surprised everyone when Leo San Miguel had no surprising revealations. There is much hype in the trails of NBN-ZTE controversy. There is much hype on the Lozada’s stardom – and Philippine media are playing on “competitions” (ratings, readership).

The competition is stiff and taking an extra mile to verify information, to validate claims, to check sources before running the story take much time and effort. But as Candido O. Wenceslao puts it, it is a tedious process but ensures objectivity and fairness and protects the credibility of news institutions.

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Blog I author (Bisaya): Ambot Lang!
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One thought on “Responsible Press

  1. Responsible journalism entails huge strands of, well, responsibilities. Which goes without saying that what they write and print could very well be their downfall or, perhaps, ticket to a well-established sense of credibility.

    I do sense that the erroneous report was spurred by the folding of the events, the situations which pressure reporters to get the first nibble of the news and report it the soonest time possible. And I’m sensing faint echoes of a Trojan Horse unleashed by the Greeks somewhere in a lofty Palace beside Pasig River.

    batang buotan says:
    Pressure should not compel journalist to write baseless reports.

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