Sunday, July 29, 2012

Messages and Manners

As guest of honor President Aquino made a speech at an anniversary dinner for TV Patrol, a long running  TV news show in the Philippines.   The President's speech featured criticisms specifically directed at the News Anchor, Noli de Castro who is a former top government official, serving as Vice President during Gloria Arroyo's term. 

The text of the speech (delivered in Filipino) is  available at the Official Gazette  and here's the  video.   

The President cited  three  instances where the News Anchor made negative side comments on news reports that were otherwise positive.  (In the text, you can read starting from the twelfth paragraph.)   
  1. A news item on the 20 percent increase in arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino Internaional Airport Terminal Three (NAIA 3) was followed up by the News Anchor with a reference to the quality of Terminal One (NAIA 1).
  2. A field report on the successful rescue of a kidnapped child was accompanied by the News Anchor's  speulations that perhaps the rescue was staged and that ransom was paid behind the scenes.
  3. A field report on the successful negotiations between the government and transport groups (bus, jeepney operators and drivers) on  fare adjustments was followed up by a question by the News Anchor asking what are the gripes of these transport group against the President.
The speech concluded with warning on the costs (in terms of tourist arrivals and jobs) of the media peddling cynicism via negative portrayals of the news.  This plea would have been  standard (and expected) from any government administration in power were it not for the three concrete examples that the President cited above.

In the social media forums I've seen positive reactions on the President's fortrightness.  The negative reactions  I've read so far is not on the content of the speech but on the occassion on which it was delivered.  Those who hold this view assert that given that it was the TV News shows' anniversary dinner and given that the President was the guest of honor,  criticizing the host was in bad taste and displayed lack of manners.   I'm not the host of the dinner party so i cannot put myself in their shoes, but is lack of manners really such a compelling issue given the content of the message?

Updates 30-July-2012:

ABS-CBN has cautioned De Castro even before Aquino’s critique– insider

Veteran Blogger-Journalist Ellen Tordesillas gives a mixed review on President Aquino's speech.

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