To report the truth or not! That is the question!
I have a colleague who brings customer satisfaction ratings every month to other departments in the company. When I asked him how the managers responded to our ratings he just shrugged his shoulder and said, “I don’t have the slightest idea. The moment I hand them the report, I scamper away”. Funny it may seem on how we deal with truth or reality but I bet we are all guilty of this.
One of our HR personnel in her anxiety one day, said, “I hate to be the bearer of bad news”. This is in the context of breaking the, you-did-not-make-it news to the applicants. Either way that they did not pass the exam or the interview. When I had the opportunity to talk to her I told her very lightly that the bad news does not make the bearer bad. You are only the medium of the message. Yes, truth hurts! We have our own share of the cake when it comes to truth being hurtful. But the other side of truth makes us see the reality. At the end of the day, the truth is not our enemy. Matter-of-factly, it is always our ally.
Philippine journalism is actually standing on the same ground. To report the truth or not. Because at some point telling the truth is a crime. To talk back to the government is taboo. To inform the people of the status quo means bloodshed. Up to today, I still refuse to believe the tragic fact that the Philippines is the second most dangerous place for journalists.
Who can forget the reporters being treated as rascal in the streets in broad daylight with their vehicles burned while covering the historic EDSA III? Who can forget the kidnapping of Ces Drilon and other correspondents in Mindanao in the name of investigative journalism? And who can forget the gruesome and beastly mass killing of journalists in Maguindanao in their resolute coverage to make the playing field of politics square and fair?
When I was a little younger around 11 to 12 years old, I developed my fondness of becoming a broadcast journalist. The reason is the simple truth that I wanted to face the camera. In other words, I wanted to become famous. People will see me daily. And the people who dislike me? They have to endure the time watching me live while I deliver the news. Envy all over them. I have my own share of juvenile naughtiness too.
Until today that I have matured with age, I realized that journalism is not about fame. It’s not about the attention you get from the multitude of people. It’s not about the big fortune. Journalism is about integrity in news reporting. It is about letting the public know of the status quo. It is about telling the facts straight. Whatever it costs. Whatever it takes. Whoever is involved. Unadulterated. Undistorted. Whole.