Aquino under fire for lambasting journalists

Posted at 07/30/12 9:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino has come under fire from a media watchdog for lashing out at Philippine media over "negative" stories.

The Burgos Media Center, in a press statement, condemned Aquino's tirades against journalists during the 25th anniversary celebration of ABS-CBN's flagship primetime news broadcast "TV Patrol." 

"Why is he too much conscious about the negative criticisms from the media?" said Burgos Media Center spokesperson Marc Joseph Alejo. "No one can fabricate the real score of the socio-economic condition of the majority of Filipino people."

He said that instead of targeting media, Aquino should prioritize other issues such as the freedom of information bill.

More positive stories

During the TV Patrol celebration, said he wants a positive spin in news stories and commentaries from ABS-CBN's flagship primetime news broadcast.

"Kung gabi-gabing bad news ang hapunan ni Juan dela Cruz, talaga namang mangangayayat ang puso’t isip niya sa kawalan ng pag-asa," he said.  "Ilang turista kaya kada buwan ang nagka-cancel ng bakasyon dahil sa araw-araw na negatibismo? Ilan kayang kababayan ang nawawalan ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng kabuhayan dahil sa bad news na ito?"

Aquino also said overseas Filipino workers should get more good news from home.

He specifically vented his ire on veteran TV Patrol anchor and former Vice President Noli De Castro for allegedly belitting the gains made by his administration with regard to the sorry state of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.

Aquino also said he was unhappy over criticisms on TV Patrol regarding the National Bureau of Investigation's recovery of a kidnapped child last June 26.

 "May naitutulong po ba ang mga walang-basehang spekulasyon, lalo na kung lumalabas ka sa telebisyon at sinusubaybayan ng sambayanan? Kung nagbabangkaaan lang tayo sa kanto, hindi problema ang mga walang-basehang patutsada. Pero kung alam mong opinion maker ka, alam mo rin dapat na meron kang responsibilidad. Sana po, sa tuwing sasabihin nating 'magandang gabi, bayan,' ay totoong hinahangad nating maging maganda ang gabi ng bayan," he said.
In response to Aquino's comments, Ging Reyes, head of ABS-CBN's News and Current Affairs Division (NCAD), said: "Criticism is not a monopoly of journalists and media practitioners. The President had as much right to free speech as every citizen."
"But the focus of Friday's celebration was TV Patrol's 25 years - the people behind the stories, the unsung heroes behind the cameras and unforgettable events that shaped history. We did not just remember the disasters, anomalies and political upheavals that TV Patrol covered. We also celebrated stories of remarkable achievers and everyday heroes, whose triumphs over adversity is a testament to the resiliency of the Filipino spirit," she added.

TV Patrol has kept a wide lead over closest rival, 24 Oras of GMA 7, based on Kantar Media/TNS nationwide surveys. On July 23, 2012, for instance, TV Patrol rated 29.2% compared to 24 Oras' 17.3%.

Palace defends Aquino

Malacañang has defended Aquino against criticisms following his TV Patrol statements.

Presidential spokesman Ediwin Lacierda on Monday said the President is just being consistent when he sought factual and fair reporting.

According to Lacierda, the same message was relayed during in BusinessWorld's anniversary.

"The only difference was there was reference to an anchor," he said. - with a report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News