Manila Times Gets Flak From Mindanao Journalists

The June 2, 2008 issue of Manila Times drew flak from various sectors in Mindanao particularly Mindanao journalists who criticizes the paper's portrayal of Mindanao as "strife-torn". This negative portrayal of Mindanao is said to be economic sabotage because even papers with a small amount of credibility (not in reference to the Times) gets to be read by decision makers and businessmen who might change their minds about investing in Mindanao just because of a blurry, much more erroneous and ignorant report.

The questionable article stems from an AFP release published by the Times on the unannounced Zamboanga visit of US Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. Mullen, who was with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was accompanied by AFP chief Lieutenant General Alexander Yano when he visited the Edwin Andrews air base just days after a bomb exploded outside a US project office located near the base.

A lot of news organizations have conducted seminars for journalists on reporting about Mindanao. I and several other Mindanao journalists have attended such seminars but I am not aware if the journalists from Manila and other correspondents were also invited or had the chance to attend such seminars in the past. Perhaps Press secretary Jesus Dureza should make this part of his initial project aside from reiterating equal treatment between Manila and provincial media.

Mindanao is an island composed of several regions and cities. Zamboanga itself is composed of several cities, not all of them war-torn as this paper (and other papers for that matter) want to project. Mindanao includes Davao and I believe (as most people agree with) that Davao is safer than Manila so why not call Manila strife-torn as well? I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that maybe, this is not deliberate but can be blamed on ignorance.

Perhaps, an apology or even just an erratum is in order.

Comments

Moses Billacura said…
Damn!
Our leaders have been working very hard to keep Mindanao peaceful.
What is the action of the Philippine Press Institute?
We have PPI officials here in Mindanao.
Something must be done!

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