Media in Combating Terrorism and criminality.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)
PNP Chief General Hermogenes Ebdane expressed the common perception about media's orientation to bad news in its reportage.
In the recent conference-workshop sponsored by the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) on the role of media in combating criminality, he observed that while the PNP had hogged the spotlight and the headlines on an almost daily basis with many negative comments, the consistent police work that it has been doing is now getting noticed by the citizenry. He cited the survey done by the Online TV program which showed that 96 percent of respondents believed that the PNP is gaining the upper hand against criminals. He continued: The biting commentary on the "publicity stunt of parading suspects" has been offset by feedback from the people which indicated that the police are on the job, and doing their work. This, he says, has encouraged more people to report crimes and to file formal complaints against erring policemen. Gen. Ebdane emphasized the importance of producing quantitative results such as a higher conviction rate. The reforms which have been initiated such as accountability and responsibility of commanders, review of police doctrine and enhanced capability building are intended to inculcate the necessary discipline. I saw this kind of discipline in action when Napolcom invited me to be one of the plenary speakers at the workshop held September 5 at UP's Bahay ng Alumni. I was pleasantly surprised to see when I came into the hall at 8:40 a.m. that the opening ceremony was about to be finished. Speakers DILG Secretary Jose Lina and Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye must have arrived before 8 a.m and so did the 200 or more participants of the PNP and the Philippine Information Agency from all over the country. Congratulations to the organizers under the leadership of Commissioner Edgar Dula Torres of Napolcom and newly appointed Philippine Information Agency Director-General Dr. Renato Velasco who ensured active participation of the PIA.
The plenary session included such topics as Overview of Global Terrorism and the Role of Media (my presentation), Media and Terrorism: RP Case Study with Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility's Executive Director Melinda de Jesus, Gen. Ebdane's presentation, Promoting Responsible Reportage by Fr. James Reuter and Managing Information at the Community Level with Dr. Ibarra Gonzalez. Reactors to my session with Melinda were Sec. Conrado Limcaoco and columnist, Jarius Bondoc. The other topics had Com. Linda Hornilla and Atty. Mia Zafra. The afternoon workshop tackled action plans on the topic and their implementation.
Terrorism is the recent addition to our dictionary of buzzwords. As someone said, a close relationship exists between terrorism and the world of information. When we inform about terrorist acts, we contribute to the spread of terror. This observation is so relevant now as the world observed the first anniversary of September 11. While it is important to remember the event and those who fell in the night, the "overkill" in media coverage may have given the young a lop-sided impression that ours is a truly violent world. …