Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Clash Of The Titans

With Raul Gonzalez barking threats anew, a clash between titans looms in the horizon. Media practitioners have slammed Gonzalez on his threat to criminalize news coverage. The threat stemmed from media's coverage of the press conference of Sen. Trillanes and Gen. Lim last November at the Manila Peninsula. What could have ended as a rubout was prevented by the presence of the media in the hotel.

The final assault was never intended to capture the two gentlemen, it was suppose to end in a bloodbath with the Magdalo finally eradicated and free the administration of the thorn in its side. Media covered the incident from start to finish and never left the site of the standoff. They showed the inept and poor leadership the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines have. The coverage caught the government forces in their most embarrassing moment. The media caught them in their moment of stupidity.

The subsequent arrest of the journalists have set the stage for a confrontation never before seen in the country. The government has been at odds with the media over its reporting. Gloria's scandalous government has not been getting good reports and reviews from media. Even with the different propaganda and advertisements, Gloria's rating continues to plummet due to her own doing. And media was there as witness and the public the judge. Gloria's spin doctors cannot sew her tattered image together despite government owning several stations. Her allies who own media outfits couldn't help her either. News had to be reported and the reality bared.

Now Gonzalez steps in to add fuel to the fire which DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno had started. The threat has riled both local and foreign journalists. With this, Gloria can now kiss her image-building programs goodbye. Our constitution and even the United Nation guarantees freedom of the press. Gonzalez on the other hand wants to legalize Gloria's freedom to suppress.

Wars and conflicts around the world are covered by journalists. Many have lost their lives in the line of duty. But even this did not force governments to threaten these journalists with arrest. The danger did not deter these journalists from performing their jobs. Danger accompanies them everywhere. Their safety lies in their hands. It has always been their call. The government can come up with whatever reasons they want but they can never overstep the boundaries of press freedom.

Gonzalez and Gloria knows they cannot win this fight. They will have to kill all journalists in the country to win. With Gloria's human rights record now getting international attention, it might just be the one that would bring her down. At the end of the day, it's the people's right to information that should reign supreme. Gloria and "her laws" can never silence the press.