A highly divided media

DANDAN BANTUGAN COLUMN

(Conclusion)

We were appointed by Gov. Nonoy Torralba as his confidential executive assistant at the Office of the Governor and at the same time, as supervisor of the Bohol Law Enforcement Communication System (BLECS).
But we also anchored the radio program, Tagbilaran By Nite, of Station DYRD during night time.
Officially, we were a government employee and at the same time a media man.
In the local elections of 1988, a colleague in Station DYRD FM, Nelson Jabonite, known on the air as “Sonny J” and now also based in the US, also joined me in being a media man and a government employee at the same time.
When Torralba was defeated by David B. Tirol in the 1992 local elections, we still stayed at the Capitol as chief of staff of the late City Councilor George Lao, the first president of the Philippine Councilor’s League (PCL) who became the first ex-oficio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and continued our media work.
When David B. Tirol was governor of Bohol, one of his most trusted lieutenants was Lito Responte, who once served as a reporter and latger on became the station manager of Station DYTR.
There were many other media men who undertook the same route, being a media man and a government employee at the same time.
When we became a city councilor in 2001, not only one but a dozen of politicians already have their mouthpieces over the print and broadcast media.
The politicians bought air times in the radio and have their media staff connected with local newspapers.
Prior to 2007 local elections, we already learned of paid hacks in the local print media and attack dogs, “tigpaghot”, known as bloc time commentators in the radio stations here, already paid by politicians who do not appear as government employees.
When we were a government employee and a media man at the same time, we tried to maintain a balance in our broadcasts and “praise releases” but of course, these are all slanted in favor of our political patrons.
Today, the situation is already muddled. Almost all media men both in print and broadcast media, represents to be independent but they received, in one way or another, favors from politicians including “envelopmentalism”aside from the fact that some of them are “dual citizens”, meaning a government employee and a media man at the same time.
Worse, they are not officially listed in government payrolls but they dominate the “payolas” by local politicians.
While there is no more argument against the fact that the local media nowadays is highly divided, nobody however will openly admit in their radio broadcasts or in news articles carrying their by lines in newspapers that they are working under a local politician.
The problem is that they also receive the blessings of their station managers and their editors. In other words, almost all media practitioners here works under the baton of local politicians and their minions as long as they give more business to their media outlets.
There is now a demarcation line whether you are a pro-Capitol or a pro-City Hall media practitioner or not. And the persecution starts from there.
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