A local journalist took to social media as he expressed his dismay to local mainstream media for sensationalizing what could have been an ordinary crime.
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 bad light in the international scene once again.
Panganiban posted his thoughts on Facebook and castigated the local media for reporting the RWM incident with a terrorist attack slant, without fast-checking the story, thus causing confusion and sowing scare which resulted to unwanted and deadly consequence.
He called on his colleagues to be more responsible in their reporting, instead of enlightening the people with factual infornation, delivering unverified reports create division ang more chaotic circumstances.
In a recent post, Panganiban wrote what people and government regard or accept as news and what is not.
Panganiban said media is a powerful entity that regulates the government. However, media needs to have a system of accountability – one that will hurt when they make mistakes see so they learn not to commit them again.
“Power without accountability is a dangerous thing,” he concludes.
Read his 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.
Here’s the links to his FB page: