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PRESS FREEDOM MISUSED


Where do we draw the line between freedom of the press and the individual's right to privacy? There is a thin line between freedom of the press and the individual's right to privacy. A journalist, who exercises assiduousness in acquiring facts, always responsible for his actions, and does not resort to any immoral activities just to get the scoop, is practicing true fueedom of the press. Freedom is not absolute. We have this delusion and freedom entails no boundaries or limitless. How many times a journalist gets sued for libel because of the negative impression created by a malicious article? Yes, Article III of the Bill of Rights strongly states that "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances." But
never disregard the fact that the same constitutional right is also given to every citizen, “every person shalt respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons." Individuals who were cloaked in authority abuse it. They assume that they can say anything, do anything and decide on anything as they please, even to the extent of willfully causing someone else's misfortune. While it is true that
the pen is mightier than the sword, the person who wields it has fulL control of it thus he has the pleasure to concoct stories he thinks is salable. Gone are the days of real journalistic prowess. As compared to today's journalism, we have an abundance of smut, libelous, harangue and vulgar language attributed to tabloids and some shame reading materials. During a press conference Pres. Benigno Aquino III reminded reporters of what should be: to gather first  hand information (correct information)  before  broadcasting it. However,  media/press are drooling over PNoy's love affair which sells like hot Pinoy pandesal in bakeries. Where is objectivity? 

In colleges and universities, communication students are being taught ethics in journalism and a lot of those principles that would help them become better media practitioners. Four years of exposure in theories and six hundred hours of internship  in media outfits go down the drain. Why? Once they graduate they'll be eaten up by the system, all the controversies and scandals involving media. The media industry together with the academe should work together in developing the skills and the good character of these future broadcasters, journalists, advertising and public relations practitioners. Mr. Howie Severino said, "Think before you click." This should be the battle cry of every reporter, broadcaster, journalist, or even bloggers! Remember that we are also  human beings who are sensitive. The words that we hear or read can be a compliment or worse it may defame, once uttered it can never be retracted. Before we point a senseless finger at others for their  alleged unholiness, consider that we are also at fault. This is why the remaining fingers point back at us. The main point of it all: be RESPONSIBLE. 
By: VON ROMMERL BARBOSA GARRIDO │ Operation Eposé Vol. 9 Blg. 45 May 20-26, 2012      

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