A concerned citizen writes her lamentations against the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, erstwhile one of the country's bastions of free press.
Pilar Santos 01/20/2017
You seem to have a habit of writing open letters to the government.
The first was in June when you called out the president about his statements on the "killing" of Journalists that you claimed threatened Journalists with death if they did wrong. Was the president entirely at fault? I don't think so- it exposed corruption among you, that you repeatedly affirm and accept as a truth.
The second was last December 30, when you called out the President for his statements made during one on one interviews where you lectured him on how he should speak to the public and make his statements clearer- for your benefit.
The third called out press secretary Andanar for calling out your reportage on his Saturday speech in front of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce.
Here's what a simple former journalist thinks of your three letters:
1. The "mainstream" Journalists and big media companies you front for are losing their grip on that divine right to report on what government says. Many among you stand, and remain accused, of your own "creative imagination" in misreporting and misrepresenting the truth nonetheless, adding fuel to keep the fire of this cacophony you call democracy burning.
That 80 percent of the people repeatedly support the President and trust him only means he is getting through to them- even without your intervention.
2. Your open letters only amplify an accusation against you that many hold- a desire to keep the turf upon which your profits depend. This leads us to wonder whether you represent journalists or their employers. Are you a legitimate union, or the voice of the big media business club?
3. Have you become so spoiled as to demand this outright attention from the President? If truth is on your side, and journalistic skill under your belt, then you won't need these letters.
Your December 30 letter prompts us to ask: Why force the government to say what you want to hear?
There is a lot of truth out there you need to train these skills on, and a lot of journalists- bless them- who are still able to report on them without having to mangle the President's soundbites and cussing.
4. These letters also point to a fear among many of you that social media threatens to dethrone this entitlement to report the truth. The #Lenileaks controversy saw you beaten to the draw, and left you accused of a bad double standard when many among you failed to report on it promptly.
It's clear to us that these letters portray you as a special interest group that has become belligerent and self centered. You have been used to previous governments that pandered to this, and have repeatedly admitted to massive corruption within your ranks yet did nothing to stop it. Please don't be hypocrites. You are as black as Andanar's kettle.
You give former journalists like me a bad name.
We hope that the truth beyond the profit is part of that interest. Otherwise, the public will only be more frustrated with you, and prefer to get information from fake news.
(Ms. Santos is a former journalist based in Butuan City, Philippines, who is now involved in development work among women and children. She has contributed to various publications. --Ed.)