An angry journalist took to Facebook castigating the local mainstream media for sensationalizing what could have been an ordinary crime because after all stories that scares the public sells.
Ira Panganiban, a veteran radio and TV journalist, couldn’t hide his disappointment towards his colleagues following the Resorts World fiasco putting the country in a terrible light in the international scene once again.
In a Facebook post, Panganiban laid the blame squarely on the local media for publishing the RSM incident with the “terrorist attack” slant without fact-checking the story, thus causing more confusion with deadly consequence rather than helping the police’s cause.
In retrospect, Panganiban lamented things could have been different “if the authorities did not have to listen to blaring reports about terrorists attacking our capitol.”
Panganiban said “authorities do listen to and are pressured by media.”
In light of this, Panganiban demands the media to be more responsible and allow the first responders, the police, to its job devoid of the hype that media bring into events all the time creating havoc instead enlightening the people.
Panganiban asks the media bigwigs to review their role in society because they are now more of an obstacle rather than the light.
Panganiban couldn’t help but compare the Martial Law era journalist and the current breed of journalists whom he accused of being mercenaries, out to make a name and/or a quick buck. Ouch!
Read the post below.
It might be helpful if we can sort out fact from speculation. Here is what happened according to police reports. This will be long.
In the wee hours of Friday, a foreign looking man managed to get inside RWM with a rifle and gasoline.
This man, said to have lost millions went for the VIP gaming area fired a shot in the air, set the gaming tables on fire and then went on to steal casino chips of 1 million peso denomination.
RWM Security people, both uniformed and non uniformed responded to the disturbance and exchanged fire with the suspect.
Special police operatives in gear (that is why some had head bonnets on) arrive at the scene to help neutralize the suspect, who at the time managed to escape into the hotel.
A search and arrest operation ensued. The suspect eventually committed suicide by burning and then shooting himself. (contrary to speculation this is ordinary among people who temporarily go crazy because of emotional imbalance and then snap out of it and realize what they have done)
Meanwhile during the commotion, guests panicked and started a stampede to get out. 37 died because of the stampede and suffocation from the smoke.
(That is for the incident)
In the news, initial report said a man shouting suddenly fired a gun and burned a casino table. Social media fed to the confusion when it claimed the man was shouting ISIS.
SITE, a website that monitors extremist propaganda posts, within minutes and without verifying on the ground BECAUSE THEY HAD NO PEOPLE ON THE GROUND, posted that an ISIS website is claiming responsibility for the RWM incident.
Agence France Press, again without verifying with authorities, ran the wire story which was picked up by international and local media.
Local TV Networks then went on to special coverage with the title “Terrorists Attack Resorts World Manila.”
AND THAT IS HOW THINGS GOT COMPLICATED.
Had local media told their international counterparts to hold the story until they can verify it would have come out as a regular robbery attempt story.
But because most of them wanted to be the first to break the “Terrorist strike in Manila, Martial Law Declared” story which if you observe by their split second reaction they were already prepared to air with complete cast, the country is again placed in a terrible light at the international scene.
Yes, I am blaming local media for this terrible fiasco that would have been an ordinary crime had it been reported as such.
Reactions would have been different if the authorities did not have to listen to blaring reports about terrorists attacking our capitol.
Yes, authorities do listen to and are pressured by media.
And it is this issue why I demand a more responsible media. To make sure that first responders can do their job without all the hoopla and speculation that media bring into events all the time creating havoc instead enlightening the people.
Because isn’t that supposed to be the role of media? To enlighten? To bring truth out in the open? To let out people know what is really happening? Like what we claim when we question the activities and motives of the president?
But this Resorts World coverage? I think news executives need to reassess their role in our society. Because they are now the obstacle and not the light.
They are so far from their Martial Law counterparts who braved prison and death to bring the news out. They are mere mercenaries now, out to make a name and/or a quick buck.
I weep for my profession.
Your reaction, please!