By Apolinario Villalobos
“Media” is the plural form of “medium” which means avenue, form, mode, method, channel, vehicle. In this regard, there are statements such as, “medium of instruction”, “mode of transportation”, “manner of expression”, etc. In giving information, there are two traditional means which are the publication (print media – tabloid, broadsheets or newspapers, magazaines, pamphlets, brochures, leaflets, books, etc.) and broadcast (radio, TV). But lately, because of the internet, “e-publications” or blog channels such as facebook, wordpress, blogsite, tumbler, and many other “social media” have been crowding the cyberspace. The “media” as a word was made popular for convenience of reference to newspaper, magazines, and broadcast, so that from then on, anybody who is connected with them is called “media man” or simply “media”. That is how it is in the Philippines.
But the generic reference has been abused and exploited by people who have evil designs. This has been discovered by legitimate media groups since a very long time ago, so that their precaution is for us is to be wary of “media men” wearing big IDs that are exaggeratedly oversized as if to cover the whole chest and boastfully displayed. Many arrested extortionists are using this kind of ID. Legitimate media IDs are of the standard ID size and most often not displayed except when the owner is part of an official operation.
Media people are generally classified into legitimate and illegitimate. The legitimates are those who are in the employ of publication and broadcast companies, hence, issued with ID’s and with them are the free-lancing contributing writers and “block timers” who are likewise given due recognition by the same entities. The illegitimates are those who are outright fakes, self-appointed ones, using oversized fake ID’s and whose purposes are to blackmail and extort unsuspecting victims.
Every time a legitimate media person is killed, immediately, the killer is identified while the reason given outright is his “noble cause” which is fighting criminality, corruption…anything negative or destructive to society. And, the immediate emphasis is the reference to his “media” connection, which as aforementioned has a connotation of a noble job, a sacrificing job due to the meager pay. Unfortunately, this meager pay has driven some members of the media to succumb into the temptation dangled by syndicates for them to be included in their payroll. If some police can be involved in such, and some elected government officials can be involved in corruption, why can’t some members of the media?
Being a “media” then, should not be viewed as a guarantee that the guy who wears a legitimate ID is 100% ”clean”…. as being a lawyer is not a guarantee that the guy will always abide by the law when some of them are known to fake documents, being a doctor is not a guarantee that all his patients shall survive his ministration, being a pastor or a priest is not a guarantee that the guy will always be honest and fair to all members of his flock, etc.
The statement for example, about a representative of a media who has been killed should not be interpreted as “anybody can just kill a media”. That for me is the outright ABUSE of “authority”. And their popular adage, “the media can make or unmake a person”, for me is not a warning but a blackmail. Does it mean that just because they are members of the media, they can do anything they want? The cause or the reason of the killing should be brought to light before such statement should be uttered. Nobody is safe from the fatal impulsive reaction of a person who feels wronged, especially, if he feels helpless even with the touted “due process” as everybody knows how the justice system in the country operates. Nobody can control impulsive reactions especially of a person who is deranged with a revengeful compulsion.
What the media people should do is to be VERY EXTRA CAREFUL IN USING THEIR “LICENSE” WHEN DIVULGING INFORMATION…in other words, be fair to those who have no access to the publications, radio, TV and the internet. And since the legitimate members have organizations, the latter should police or strictly monitor their members so that discipline can be imposed on the erring ones.