“The responsibility of journalists is to the people, not to the source, not to the sources of power, not to the people that they are covering.”
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility Executive Director Melinda de Jesus said this as some lawmakers aired their personal concerns against ABS-CBN during its franchise renewal hearing.
“Criticism is part of it, and governance requires that,” De Jesus said.
She added that using the issue of bias as a condition for granting a broadcast network a franchise “completely politicizes the process.”
“It makes it subject then to the political powers that are in authority at that period in which the franchise is being evaluated. The idea is that is should be free of political pressure and free of all kinds of governmental encroachment, abridgment, it is precisely the constitution that provides this,” De Jesus said
“The constitution protects even the imperfect institutions. The constitution protects the mistakes, the errors because of the nature of journalism because it is a kinetic process, it happens on deadline pressure,” she added.
De Jesus also said “low tolerance” for crisis has become a “contagion” among officials of the government.
“It is of epidemic proportions when you have these representing their districts now come on the national arena and complain about how they have been trolled. Well, that is the nature of what we have to live within the internet to begin educating ourselves to dismiss that as just plain trolling or to begin to discern that as an expression of a sincere dissatisfaction, discontent,,” she said.
“If you can’t take it, then you must find yourself another occupation because this is what the dynamic is about,” she added.
On Monday, several lawmakers aired their grievances against ABS-CBN during its franchise renewal hearing. Among them were Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron Salo, Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, Reps. Bambol Tolentino (PDP-Laban, Tagaytay City), and Crispin Remulla (NP, Cavite).