July 06, 2008

Tingin ko lang, OA sila

ABS-CBN suspends Drilon for 3 months

First Posted 19:59:00 07/05/2008

MANILA, Philippines – Broadcast giant ABS-CBN has suspended news anchor Ces Drilon for disobeying orders not to go to Indanan, Sulu, where she and her cameramen Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama were kidnapped by an armed group.

In a statement posted on its website, ABS-CBN on Saturday said Drilon is suspended for three months as news anchor of late night newscast Bandila and as Senior Correspondent.

Citing its Standards & Ethics Manual, the ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs said: “While all reporting of conflict and other hazardous environments involves an element of risk, you must avoid obvious danger and not take unreasonable risks…You may move into a dangerous environment only with the authorization of your supervisor." (The rest at PDI.)

HAVING been an editor of few major dailies in the past, I am all for disciplining reporters. I just think three months for Ces is a bit too much. As in, OA na 'yan, just to prove a point. And especially when we all know the network is going to make a killing selling ads for the special report Ces is expected to produce about her team's ordeal.

Kudos to mader Ces for accepting her punishment like a good soldier that she has always been (well, except for that recent oversight). She would not have reached this stage in her career if she never took risks. I think being kidnapped is punishment enough for what she did, and well okay, maybe a month's suspension without pay.

(Shelby Monroe, a reporter embedded with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, learns to fire an AK-47 assault rifle.Photo by Shelby Monroe in newsblaze.com)

But it is all about the news story really, no matter how you think about it. And if I were still an editor, I would rather have a masipag and thorough reporter like Ces, one who takes risks to get an enterprising story, or a scoop, than a reporter who is content on re-writing "praise" releases, and sa totoo lang, ang dami nila ganito ngayon, tamad! They are so lazy in fact, some reporters don't even bother to re-write the PRs handed to them! Just read the papers, the headlines and the stories all look the same.

ABS-CBN should know they have more value in Ces than any of their stupid talking heads who get all riled up making inane comments on radio and TV like they were the most knowledgable persons in the world, but who have never once, spent time in the trenches like the rest of us real journalists ever did. (Bato-bato sa langit...)

Are news stories worth risking one's life? If you talk to dedicated journalists here and around the world, yes, sometimes they are. 'Yun lang pow.

(Disclosure: Ces Drilon was our columnist in the old Manila Standard, and a dear colleague who has helped out in some of my environmental advocacies, by pushing a debate on our issues on air.)

No comments: