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Opinion: ABS-CBN news “Is and will be Independent”

May 26, 2008

As you all know by now, Meralco is under HEAVY fire – being blamed for the high electricity cost in Luzon. Meralco is being managed and partly owned by the Lopezes, having the highest number of shares. And ABS-CBN News is a subsidiary of ABS-CBN which is fully owned by Lopezes.

Today, I was browsing through the feeds from ABS-CBN news when I came across this article from Maria Ressa who is the head of ABS-CBN news and current affairs and Managing Director of ANC.

The article, How independent is ABS-CBN news and Current Affairs, talks about ABS-CBN news being independent. That even if they belong to one Family (Lopez group of Companies), their reports are not biased, fair, not protecting anyone or anything, only after the truth and nothing but the truth… because ABS-CBN is run by journalists.

She says:

It is a good time to be an ABS-CBN journalist because times like these define a news organization and tell us much about our society. A lot is now being said about the role ABS-CBN plays in the power struggle over Meralco.

She defends the news team that they were even the one who broke out the news about Meralco and the comments of the government through GSIS chairman Winston Garcia.

After the first story, Garcia said he was convinced of our impartiality and became a frequent guest on ANC, ABS-CBN and a news source of abs-cbnnews.com.

But Maria Ressa, said that she can’t blame the people if they would think that ABS-CBN news is taking sides and just reporting positive news about Meralco.

Yet, in our polarized society, the idea that the Lopezes would not “use” ABS-CBN for its vested interests seems hard to believe. I believe that is a reflection of the mindset, customs and corrupt practices today rather than a reflection of the reality we at ABS-CBN live through daily.

As head of the news team, Maria says she doesn’t manage the interest of the Lopezes “because they are not the interests of the newsroom.

We are a newsroom run by journalists, and our end goal is to hold the government and the private sector accountable for the public good.

In order to do that, we journalists have to first hold ourselves accountable, making sure we protect no vested interests. If we do our jobs well, all Filipinos will benefit. If we do our jobs well, we will help build a better nation with more transparent processes.

For me, Maria Ressa is one of the most powerful and inlfuential Women in the world – yes, not only here in the Philippines. Having her as the head of ABS-CBN News gives me an assurance that what I see, read, and hear from ABS-CBN news is fair and truthful. But I’m not saying they are always right or that i always agree with their opinion/commentaries. They report what they see, when and how they see it. And i have my own way of interpreting it.

In a corrupt society like ours, its sometimes hard to distinguish the good from the bad. But its not hard to see those people who intends to be good.

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