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Ex-broadcasters’ lament: Why ‘unfair’ coverage of Bangon Pilipinas?

March 16, 2010 1:08pm
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Two former broadcasters both seeking Senate seats expressed dismay at how members of their erstwhile industry are covering the elections, saying more prominent parties are getting the lion’s share of coverage on television programs and broadsheets.

Bangon Pilipinas senatorial bets Kata Inocencio and Alex Tinsay on Tuesday questioned why the presidential bets leading in surveys, such as Senators Benigno Aquino III and Manuel Villar Jr., are most covered rather than their party standard bearer Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

Inocencio, who had been in broadcasting for 24 years, said media was contributing to the "degradation" of the electoral system by supposedly failing to acquaint the public with reformist candidates.

"Media is misleading the public towards suicide, towards electing the wrong people. And I would say it courageously — it’s a shame that media is doing a great disservice to the public," Inocencio told GMANews.TV.

For his part, Tinsay slammed media for "believing in surveys" and supposedly failing to highlight Villanueva’s so-called appeal to the masses.

"I’ve been harping about how we are getting an unfair share of coverage. I challenge them to find out for themselves if we [our party] really don’t have support. Bro. Eddie draws a sea of humanity wherever he goes. How come that is not shown [on television]," added Tinsay, who said he spent 30 years as a broadcast journalist.

Poor showing

He and Inocencio perform poorly in Pulse Asia’s recent survey on most preferred senatorial candidates. [See: Revilla, Estrada lead senatorial race in Pulse survey; Miriam among top gainers]

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility recently said that television newscasts covered former President Joseph Estrada the most. He was followed by Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., administration bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Sen. Benigno Aquino III, and Sen. Richard Gordon.

Getting lower airtimes were Olongapo City Councilor JC de Los Reyes, Villanueva, Sen. Jamby Madrigal, recently disqualified Vetellano Acosta, and environmentalist Nicanor Perlas. [See: CMFR: Erap most covered by TV]

Ironically, Inocencio admitted that "it is just how the way things go."

"I have been a major network’s news gathering head for four years. I know how it works. It’s unfortunate that broadcast stations and publications are businesses and their goal is to make money and not true public service," she said.

For his part, Tinsay, a former GMA News reporter, admitted that media is sometimes limited by airtime or space constraints in publications. "I am not really surprised," he said.

Broadcasters-turned-politicians

Aside from Tinsay and Inocencio, veteran radio broadcaster Rey Langit is also seeking to enter the Senate under the administration’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD ticket.

UNTV station manger and former television host Jay Sonza, meanwhile, is seeking the vice presidency under the Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan banner. The same goes with Nationalist People's Coalition vice presidential bet Loren Legarda, also a broadcast journalist before venturing into politics in the 1998 elections.

The most prominent broadcaster to reach a high elective post was Vice President Noli de Castro, a news anchor and radio broadcaster for almost two decades before entering the political ring as a Senator in 2001. He won the vice presidency in the 2004 elections.

But Inocencio said she ran for senator not because she wanted to follow De Castro’s steps.

"Generally, any celebrity or media personality has an advantage because of fame and popularity. But that’s not the reason why the people will vote for me. I have talked to them, and they said they’ll vote for me because of my track record for fighting injustices and corruption as a journalist," Inocencio said.

She and Tinsay likewise encouraged the public to scrutinize senatorial bets, whose frontrunners in a recent Pulse Asia survey are re-electionists or scions of political families. The survey ranked all 61 aspirants according to preference [See: Revilla, Estrada lead senatorial race in Pulse survey; Miriam among top gainers and Pulse Asia's 2010 senatorial preference survey results (Feb. 21 to 25).]

Bangon Pilipinas’ senatorial aspirants fared poorly in the same survey, with a +/- 2.2 percent error margin.

Of the 61 senatorial aspirants, singer Imelda Papin ranked 25-35, Ramoncito Ocampo ranked 31-47, Zafrullah Alonto ranked 37-56, Inocenio ranked 37-57, Zosimo Jesus Paredes and Tinsay ranked 39-61, Adz Nikabulin ranked 43-61, while lawyers Reynaldo Princesa and Israel Virgines ranked 48-61. - RSJ, GMANews.TV
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