The case for a State-owned newspaper in the Philippines

Aquino out

“In 1841,

Thomas Carlyle wrote, ‘Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all’. . . 

Carlyle saw the press as instrumental to the birth and growth of democracy, spreading facts and opinions and sparking revolution against tyranny.” (Stanford University, Introduction to Journalism)

We have a situation in the Philippines where the nation’s Fourth Estate, its popular media, are not fulfilling the vital role of fairly and accurately informing the public about what is happening. Indeed, they contribute to a form of hysterical tyranny. Even lead media outlets like the Daily Inquirer or ABS-CBN television give the news tabloid treatment that favors one political agenda over another.

It is the way “journalism” reporting is done in the Philippines. Conflict is featured and hyped. Sensational headlines are penned with little regard as to who is harmed by inaccurate words. The well-being of the Philippines, which is what ethics are designed to protect, is ignored. Complaints and anger accordingly run deep. Incidents are not framed in balanced and information-rich articles.

Is it any wonder why Filipinos are down on their nation even as the Philippines rises?

News coverage of the recent Mamasapano incident gave a clear reading on the failings of Philippine mass media: Media coverage of the Mamasapano Clash: Unethical, inflammatory and sensationalized

The problem, of course, is that the poor work done by the Philippine Fourth Estate makes democracy in the Philippines both superficial and unstable.

Why do tabloid media not do their job? Why don’t they abide by journalistic ethics?

It is hard to make money by dealing in dry information. Conflict sells. Tragedy sells.

Mainstream media are under financial pressure from on-line media. The only way to prosper is to hype readership or audience by tabloid sensationalism while employing low-wage, low-skill reporters who churn out a lot of stories cheaply. We get hit and run journalism. Journalism built on quick quotes from any side, rather than balanced analytical reports.

Media outlets can’t invest to do the research needed to build background and collect all sides of an issue. They can’t do a rich story.

What does a healthy democracy need?

There is a clear need for information that is extensive and not biased. That gives an honest, open, forthright view of events in the Philippines. There is a need to strip gratuitous emotion and political agenda out of objective news reports, and to relegate opinion to the opinion pages. There is a dire need for journalistic ethics of fairness and accuracy that meet international standards, and that, by being objective, preserve and protect the well-being of the nation.

How to we improve things?

Idealistic pleas that the press reform don’t work. Media face a very clear financial reality. People will buy sensationalism. Why spend money to do real reporting? There is no upside.

Regulation to IMPOSE journalistic standards smacks of totalitarian violation of freedom of the press. No one wants to go there. Look at the outrage provoked by a recent attempt to pass a “Right of Reply Bill” that would grant people harmed in articles equal space or time for a rebuttal. So a regulated solution is distasteful.

What to do, what to do?

It seems to me that the State must step in to fulfill the need where private entities cannot, because of financial considerations. The State needs to provide the financial wherewith to do informational based reporting that is thorough and accurate.

People need information, and the State should supply it.

State owned media

The national government already owns television and radio stations.

  • The People’s Television Network (PTV) has had a long history of broadcasting public information programming in the Philippines. In 2013, President Aquino signed Republic Act 10390, a new charter for the station, in which the government will infuse P5 billion to PTV to revitalize the station and make it “digital competitive”. (See “People’s Television Network” by Wikipedia.)
  • The Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a radio network owned by the Philippine government. The network has 33 AM stations across the Philippines, and 8 FM stations. The charter is thus: “After the EDSA Revolution, the Office of Media Affairs was abolished, followed by the NMPC, and finally, the BB. In their stead was a plan, a vision, for one, single government broadcasting organization that would not be an echo device for the government, or much less, for any one man, but would instead dedicate itself to the service of the people through honest, balanced, and meaningful broadcasting.” (See “Philippine Broadcasting Service” by Wikipedia.)

Well, alas, these two outlets do not appear to have the competitive power to represent the Philippines as a forthright, constructive place.

The National Government does not own any newspapers, but does publish on-line information in the form of “The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines“. It serves as the home page for A wealth of information is available there from presidential speeches to executive orders to appointments to historical documents. But it is more a reference link than a journalist endeavor that reaches the public.

A proposal

How much is the stability of the nation worth? Versus the current mode of conflict, accusation, blood and gore?

I’d argue it is worth at least the P5 billion the State was willing to invest in its television outlet. Indeed, I’d put another P5 billion into a comprehensive State-owned media initiative, plus generous annual funding to support a sizable, professional editorial force. The initiative would have two thrusts:

  1. Establish a popular broadsheet daily newspaper.
  2. Integrate all three State-owned outlets under one Philippine News Agency so that the investment in timely, accurate news gets shared across all three outlets.

The charter given to the State’s radio outlets should remain true:

  • [The Philippine News Agency] would not be an echo device for the government . . .

As I imagine it, the newspaper WOULD feature topical, timely news in a format meant to sell. The front page of the newspaper would be bold with headlines written to attract readers. But loaded editorialized game-playing would be prohibited. There might also be a subordinate column (“Column One“) that would feature in-depth stories and investigative reports, and perhaps another for humor or intellectual reads (like the Wall Street Journal’sA-Heds” middle column). These columns would each become an institution. The go-to place for informative news reads and lighter perspectives.

Through a blend of independence, professionalism, popular appeal, and quality information, the Philippines would have a style of professional news publication that would rank alongside other global newspapers of stature. And it’s citizens would have the assurance, confidence and positive attitude that would come from knowing how the Philippines is REALLY doing.

The privately owned dailies would complain mightily:

“Unfair competition”.

The response should be:

“No . . . real journalism.”


I found the following article interesting because it effectively declares news print media dead, which, of course, suggests a State-owned newspaper is not such a hot idea. Joe

“A future for journalists and journalism”

224 Responses to “The case for a State-owned newspaper in the Philippines”
  1. gary olivar says:

    If Joe’s American homeland has gotten along just fine without a gov’t owned paper, why can’t the PH do the same? I wonder if he’d be singing the same tune if it were GMA under the media gun (as indeed she was.for so long) and not his beloved Pnoy now that even some of his yellow media (no need.for a gov’t paper with them around, thank you) are starting to turn on him

    • Joe America says:

      You can talk directly to me, Gary. I respond to most comments. The United states has a diverse set of media and a media regulator and a different set of ethical standards among most newspapers. Journalists have standards and most abide by them. It is very different in the Philippines where media are a part of the power set, and tabloid methods don’t really distinguish between editorial content and opinion. Sources are not vetted, lies are given headlines, etc. The link in the article leads to an assessment of the horrible job done on Mamasapano.

      So this is not just JoeAm on an Aquino rant. I would believe in the recommendation even if VP Binay were president, or if Ms. Arroyo returned to the scene. The issue has nothing to do with politics, but about journalism being the fourth estate in a responsible way.

      I’m still looking for the day you arrive to discuss issues instead of making them political and character matters all the time.

      • Bing Garcia says:

        What do you expect with Gary Olivar? Nothing really.

        • Albert Wakeap says:

          Kawawa naman si Gary. ‘Di niya maiwan si Gloria.

          But I do not believe in a government-owned newspaper. The People’s Daily remains the biggest circulated newspaper in the world because it is published by the Communist Party of the China, it is not published by the Chinese government, but by the organization that controls the government. It also does not mean that everyone of the four million or so who reads the people’s daily everyday believes it. They just have to read it so they can mouth the official line everyday when they run the country of one billion or more. To be fair, many may believe what comes out in People’s Daily. BUt if you publish one like that here if ever the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) wins, I’m sure I won’t be among those who would believe its content. And I sure would teach my children not to believe either.

          The essence of democracy is such that even in times of adversity, when falsehoods prevail on a daily basis, the people will collectively make the right decision, and their choice would remain to be the best, even if it leaders to the nation’s dismemberment or demise.

          What is wrong is to impose your will and to make people force themselves into doing your will through your impositions, and one such tool in authoritarian regimes is the government-owned newspaper.

          Democracy is slow, but we chose in 1986 to restore democracy because we have seen the evils of authoritarianism and one-man rule. Thirty years hence, I am sure many have become impatient. But we chose democracy. And free press, however inane and stupid they may seem everyday,goes with it.

    • Your relentless anti-Pnoy comments only equal your unending defense of your beloved GMA.

      Please point to us this yellow media you are talking about as I can’t seem to find one, this blog and raissa’s are the only site we can find that is fair and sane.

      By media we mean the mainstream media that cater to the masses in terms of actual news casting and not the editorialized ones that are most prevalent in print, radio and TV.

      You are being unfair to Joe who is only pointing out that most Filipinos are so blindly being led by this type of commercialization of the media to the point that they don’t realize when a good and earnest President is finally at the helm of this contrary nation and that by doing so, they are being used by the corrupt as tools to destabilize the country and thereby negate the gains realized so fa by a non corrupt leader.

      Wake up mr. gary olivar, Joe is much more of a Filipino patriot than some of us.

    • Come down from your high horse, Gary. This is a blog for constructive criticisms not personal attacks. Come here for intelligent discussion and please leave personal motives and high emotions at the door.

  2. A great idea, Joe. For the masa to be interested in it, it is suggested by one commenter a few articles back to make something in a comics style, something informative and illustrative, with humor injected to lighten the reading.

    I usually listen to the news slant in TV patrol when they report on the annual SONA or each time the President reports on his administrations’ success, that he is boasting and nagbubuhat ng sariling bangko. (Can’t translate this phrase expressively in English)

    I hope the Palace guys can read and think about this.

    I just hope that the PNOY haters will not consider this as a desperate act of making a government propaganda to up PNOY and Mar’s rating.

    I like these quotes from Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore”

    “The ideas of individual supremacy and the right of free expression, when carried to excess, have not worked. They have made it difficult to keep America society cohesive. Asia can see it is not working.. In America itself, there is widespread crime and violence, old people feel forgotten, families are falling apart. And the media attacks the integrity and character of your leaders with impunity, drags down all those in authority and blames everyone but itself.”
    – Lee Kuan Yew, Sept 1995

    • Joe America says:

      The newspaper would be set up under laws that give it independence, but specific ethical standards. It might be governed by an editorial board of educators and well-recognized, (generally) apolitical businessmen. Gibo Teodoro comes to mind, or Dick Gordon.

      The US media scene is either the chicken or the egg of the poisoned political atmosphere there. People like Rush Limbaugh are created by the politics, and add to the divisiveness by expressing outrageous views. Also, the funding of campaigns has given moneyed power brokers great influence. Very unhealthy.

      • … and the sad reality is that it is happening right here in the Philippines with media seemingly contributing to the downfall of a country on the brink of being a truly progressive nation which has for a very long time been lagging behind its Asian neighbors.

      • i7sharp says:


        Who might you have in mind (in place of Limbaugh)?
        Please give an example of an outrageous view from Limbaugh.



        • Joe America says:

          Democrats will “bend over, grab the ankles, and say, ‘Have your way with me’” to African American and gay voters.

          Radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested on Monday that President Barack Obama is refusing to divert flights from Ebola-infected countries and close down America’s borders because he believes that the nation “deserves” to be infected with the virus given its history of perpetuating slavery.

          • Uh, wow… this Rush Limbaugh is really something else, huh?… gross!

          • i7sharp says:

            Please quote what *exactly* Limbaugh said
            or, better yet, provide the URL of your source.


            • Joe America says:

              Perhaps you could just google the two paragraphs and see what you come up with. I know Rush Limbaugh from having listened to him now and then, and would only encourage you to get to know him as well. If he is your style, fine. Many like him. I don’t.

              • i7sharp says:


                Needless to say, YOU have a better idea of what you are talking about.
                What better place to google (on this matter) than
                where anyone can get it “straight from the horse’s mouth.”

                Surely, Joe, you are listening to or reading someone/something else
                and you can provide at least one URL.

                In place of Limbaugh, who would you recommend?


            • Joe America says:

              From Wiki:

              Limbaugh has been noted for making controversial race-related statements with regard to African-Americans. He once opined that all newspaper composite pictures of wanted criminals resembled Jesse Jackson, and another time that “the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.”[70][71] While employed as what he describes as an “insult-radio” DJ, he used a derogatory racial stereotype to characterize a black caller he could not understand, telling the caller to “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”[71] In March 2010, Limbaugh used the similarity of recently resigned Rep. Eric Massa’s surname to the slavery-era African-American pronunciation of “master” to make a pun on the possibility that Gov. David Paterson, New York’s first African-American governor, would pick Massa’s replacement: “Let’s assume you’re right [caller]. So, David Paterson will become the massa who gets to appoint whoever gets to take Massa’s place. So, for the first time in his life, Paterson’s gonna be a massa. Interesting, interesting.”[72]

              Limbaugh has asserted that African-Americans, in contrast with other minority groups, are “left behind” socially because they have been systematically trained from a young age to hate America because of the welfare state.[73]

    • Condolence, Singapore… a great man was lost to humanity.

      • Joe America says:

        Indeed. Lee Kuan Yew was a giant. Think of the people he has helped. Millions and millions. Eloquent, intelligent, right-thinking, organized, results oriented. Kind.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Regarding comics, one of the best is Pugad Baboy, now to be found in Rappler. They had to leave a print medium because of a joke they made about lesbian Kulasas that angered the Catholic church. Pugad Baboy because the main characters are fat members of a Filipino middle class family who make comments about current events in the Philippines, which itself could also be seen as the piggery referred to in the name.

      It is high-quality, with the gentle irony of Doonesbury in Filipino for Filipinos. Like a recent joke about an Iranian who wanted to make harana, pronouncing it “Hahrana”.

      Shows that the level of thinking IS actually rising in the Philippines, unlike what GRP says.

      • the GRP people … I won’t dare go to their site as my BP tends to rise (despite the maintenance med) when I try to peruse their opinions..

        …the problem is they are not content to stay in their site, they decide to pollute other sites, too – disturb and distract the calm way of discussion that is ongoing. If you don’t agree with them and had the “temerity” to express your disagreement you will be branded as someone who “wins the prize for consistency of stupidity and irrelevance” (geny’s special words for me).

        • The comics style definitely attracts the masa… gradually it became cartoons on TV, now online games, how they are addicted to these things!! Sad to say they have no more time for serious discussion of current events, and when voting time comes, they sell their votes to buy more piso net, mindlessly chomping on instant noodles and junk foods while their eyes and concentration are on the games on the screen…these are the masa youths today

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          They are not really worth talking too IMHO. Their analyses are sometimes right, of course put in an extreme way that does NOT also see the good sides, but what is worse they do not try to think of solutions. I mean just ranting is bad for the health and changes nothing.

        • Joe America says:

          I go over now and then just to confirm they are still the same. I no longer take the site seriously, so my BP does not go up. But my brains rattle for shaking of my head at how closed minds can be, even those that seem intelligent. Five years they have spent angry that their candidate lost to a geek of no particular distinction. I wonder what the Guinness Book of World Records is for futility of political expression.

  3. I am conflicted in this regard with a sense of how this can be misused in the most perverse ways. But we Filipinos really need to learn how to build institutions and one of the first great institutions should be a state owned media like the BBC.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, its independence would have to be sealed off from political meddling. As I mentioned above, an independent editorial board and proper laws could do this.

      • With the political decision recently made by 20 of our honorable senators, I’m afraid that such a law is not forthcoming, in much the same way that the long delayed implementing law on the constitutional provision for the eradication of political dynasty has not come to pass since 1987. These politicians are really bent on protecting their own interests.

        In case this is so, is there a possibility the that the Official Gazette can be improved upon and for it to be made available to the public, translated in different dialects for the masa as a means of public information and dissemination of projects being done as well as to air the government side on controversial events like the Mamapasano tragedy.

        • Joe America says:

          I’m not sure, Mary. The legislators have proposed the Right of Reply legislation because they have all been burned by tabloid unfairness, and Sonny Angara was very critical of the Mamasapano coverage. There actually might be some support for a quality, independent view.

          I think the Official Gazette is too dry and political to have broad popular appeal. The idea is to develop a popular broadsheet, run according to proper journalistic standards. There would be headlines aimed to highlight the big stories.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Right to Reply exists in Germany – in Switzerland as well, but I only know the conditions for it under German law:

            – right to reply within 2 months for TV/radio reports, 3 months for newspaper reports

            – to have a right to reply, you must be personally affected by the content of the article

            – you have the right to set only FACTS straight, no OPINIONS to be given in a reply article

            of course if someone alleges something unprovable one has the option of to go for a libel case or in case of someting provably wrong a defamation case before court.

            Right to reply does keep German papers from going too far because they would lose a lot of “real estate” otherwise – space on the paper for those not familiar with the term. Plus the very real and effective laws against libel and defamation which are often used.

            Remember a case against the editor-in-chief of Zeit Magazin Michael Naumann which went way up by a prosecutor he had called “crazy/freaked out” in an editorial – Naumann won because he called him crazy in the context of it being an opinion, not a factual statement.

            Meaning in effect you can in an editorial statement call anyone crazy, stupid, foolish – but in a news article, you CANNOT call someone criminal or corrupt unless the person actually has been sentenced – you have to write ALLEGEDLY corrupt even for someone like Binay, which I find a good thing, you cannot pre-condemn people, sentencing is for courts, in an editorial you would have every right to call someone like Binay sleazy though since that is an opinion. But such a system presupposes objective and functioning courts.

            • Joe America says:

              First cogent argument for Right of Reply that I’ve read. Thanks.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Welcome. German right of reply is typical for their way of doing things – with set limits.

                In fact, some court rulings have now established a precedent (German law is codified unlike English or American law, but precedents are important to establish valid interpretations) that front-page headlines have a Right of Reply on the front page. Newspapers may identify replies as being replies with a different layout, but they may not shorten or edit replies, but replies must stick to facts and be brief. There is also a court ruling that established a precedent that groups that feel concerned may also reply, it was about the sizable Turkish minority that felt wrongly reported about in a newspaper report.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      First thing I thought of when I saw this article announced was “Bulletin Today”, now again called Manila Bulletin, which was the main newspaper in Martial Law days that everybody called “Bolatin” because nobody believed it. That is why you need good institutional guarantees that any state paper you have in the Philippines does not become like that and enough different sides on board – except for the patently indecent groups – to make sure that it nobody suspects it of being for one group only, suspicion being latent in the Filipino mentality and trust-building a very difficult thing to do.

  4. sonny says:

    Joe, I’d probably opt that a FEDERAL REGISTER-like (print AND on-line versions) be a sine-qua-non inclusion in such a governmental media arm. At the very least. Of course even now caveats are already on the wings for this idea, e.g. C-Span? NPR (National Public Radio)? Are these the formats for accessibility?

    • Joe America says:

      The Federal Register to me is a technical document and rather extensive because it includes remarks submitted outside of floor debate. Possible a summary of laws passed would work, with reference links.

      C-Span is a wonderful look at Congress in action, but does not have the popular appeal that I envision. I am thinking of a straight newspaper of journalistic quality, but article selection and stories would be apolitical and informational instead of conflict-based. I’d like to see the Philippines compete for global recognition.

      NPR is an interesting case. Program has been generally liberal and funding has been hot and cold, so more and more private money was sought. It’s program mix to me would best be described as kinky and intellectual, and not suited for popular appeal.

      The stability of funding would have to be addressed. That’s what I pull from the NPR case study. If private funds are sought, then prostitution of editorial content is a risk.

      • sonny says:

        For me a media-processed education on politics & government occurred during the impeachment investigation/proceedings of Bill Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky affair. I compare it now as a pitched battle between the Legislature and the Executive branches and short of sucking in the Judicial branch. The unpoliticized power of the press was brought front & center where viewers were riveted to vicariously play out their own versions of being audience and jury. The newspapers were rendered moot, in my opinion. What was lacking then was just the means to facilitate issues on the fly and say thumbs up or down to the effective continuance of Clinton as wielder of the highest executive office of the American people. And there the instruments of a representative democracy were palpable and understood as the only sane channels for equitable decision making.

        I don’t know how far or near we are as a living and viable body politic to that capability of expression of a people’s logic and will for its own good.

        • Joe America says:

          Executive won. Actually a part of my disappointment with the Senate, particularly Aquino and Angara, is that the Philippine government, outside the judiciary, is functioning better than I’ve seen it work in a long time. Executive is moving to more automation, better public information, and improved management disciplines. The legislature is working on important laws . . . or was until they got side tracked. The Poe Report was a step back. Hopefully they can find a way to take two forward in the next few months.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        C-Span is like having a Webcam into Congress, but can be boring at times.

        • Joe America says:

          It can be, but it beats getting info translated by talking heads and pundits.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Yes, it allows you to form your own judgement – if you have the time and patience for it. Used to watch it a lot when I was close to some Filipinos working in German US bases.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. If we were to use Australia as an example, there is much to be said about state-owned media outlets. Australia has two, namely, SBS and ABC.

    1.1. Note: SBS is now hybrid, and accepts commercial ads.

    2. These are not broadsheet media. They are broadcast media principally in TV, radio, online and mobile communications.

    o The SBS mission is to support ethnic and multicultural programming in news, sports, and popular entertainment.
    o The ABC mission is to provide news, educational and cultural programming in metropolitan and regional Australia.

    3. What strikes me is that both outlets do not toe the government line at all. Quite the opposite. Both have editorial independence in form and in content. This is key. Indeed, the ABC is considered left-leaning, and ruling conservative governments, like the current one under Tony Abbott, either tend (a) to cut the programming and personnel budget; and (b) to staff the Board with “blue” appointees.

    4. On news, both outlets offer outstanding current and in-depth reporting.

    4.1. Where the ordinary commercial stations offer 10 minutes of hard news and 20 minutes of sports in their 30-minute news segments, both ABC and SBS offer balanced local and foreign news. SBS has radio programs in several foreign languages like Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and Tagalog.

    4.2. The broadcasters’ current affair programs are of high quality and commentary from their interviewers and their guests – mostly political figures – is a large influencing factor in deciding elections.

    4.3. Again, both stations have prime investigative journalism programs – such as ABC’s “Four Corners” and SBS’ “Insights” – that are profound and intellectually stimulating.

    5. On educational and cultural programming, ABC provides morning and afternoon shows for kids of all ages. It panders to the taste of the intelligentsia with whole-day classical music broadcasts and programs on arts, religion and ethics, science and technology. It caters to the funny bone, the trivia bone and the satire bone.

    5.1. For its part, SBS gratifies the taste of its multicultural audience with a wide menu of food, sports, sex, movie (foreign and local) and general entertainment programs. Not only stimulating but titillating as well.

    6. I can see that counterparts for both outlets would serve the Philippines well. An SBS-Philippines would offer programs in native dialects. An ABC-Philippines would offer educational and cultural programs throughout the nation. The missions of both outlets could be merged into one national broadcaster.

    • Joe America says:

      Encouraging example, Edgar. Thanks for highlighting the model. I believe that character could be attained in a broadsheet daily newspaper.

    • @edgar what are the safe guards against defunding that protect these state owned entities?

      How are the Editorial Board chosen?

      @Joe my reservations with respect to independence is that I believe that the Judicial and Bar Council or JBC was designed to be “independent” and yet it is one of the most politicized institutions in the Philippines. We really need to identify the mechanisms/safe guards we need to impose to weaken this power dynamic.

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, it requires more thought. All I know is that the tabloids are not doing the job of helping the Philippine electorate behave confidently and vote competently.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Maybe have a look at how UP has managed to remain politically independent all these decades – the UP System with its Board of Regents and such.

        Or alternatively, what I wrote about board with representatives from major parties below. If nobody is neutral, then let them neutralize each other, like in chemistry.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          You will have to use Google Translate on this, but this is how a supervisory board for state TV looks like in Germany: – basically representatives of different sectors, starting with Catholic and Protestant churches, Jewish representatives, trade unions, Chambers of Commerce, Council of Municipalities, etc. – even representatives of migrants, no Muslim representative yet at the moment. So if any group feels treated unfairly you have someone on the board to protest, it keeps things balanced.

          • Joe America says:

            EXCELLENT resource, thanks PiE.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Welcome. One more source, this time from the Bayerische Rundfunk:


              Bavaria is more agricultural-conservative-Catholic while Northrhine-Westphalia is more industrial – social democratic – trade union so the boards of the respective state TVs reflect the different interest groups strong in the respective state proportionally.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Germany has learned from centuries of factionalism and a burst of emotionalism in deadly combination with German thoroughness and attention to detail that lead to catastrophe.

                Political maturity also means recognizing that there is NO neutrality, interest groups exist. Just like we here in Europe are more mature than Americans in realizing that NO man has only PURE intents in approaching a woman and go from there in limiting excesses.

                Politically correct feminism US-style only leads to moralistic witch-hunts, I like to call it feminist Sharia where women always are right, in Islamic countries men are always right. Only realism and objectivity works in the long run – and I don’t mean amoral objectivism.

      • edgar lores says:


        Good questions. I’m afraid the answer to both questions is that it is pretty much a political football.

        1. Funding. Funding is assured in that no elected party would dare cut off the budget item; they would do so at their peril. But budget cuts are always in the offing, more so, as I have indicated, by conservative governments.

        1.1. Both media outlets are primarily funded by public funds. SBS, as i have also indicated, is now accepting ads. Both outlets receive additional income from the sale of products. ABC has retail outlets and both have online shops. Both sell books, CDs, DVDs, and clothing. ABC carries kid stuff associated with their educational programs. (Ever heard of the Wiggles?)

        2. Board Appointments. The ABC Board of Directors are appointed by the ruling government, but their terms may are not coterminous with that of the government; or at least the Chairman of the Board is not as he is appointed for a term of 5 years. The term of government is not fixed but must not exceed 3 years. As expected appointees are selected by their political affiliation or friendliness with the powers that be. There is now a merit-based system, patterned after the BBC, whereby appointees are vetted by an independent panel. The chairman of the board is nominated by the Prime Minister, but must be endorsed by the Leader of the Opposition,

        IMPORTANT: The main safeguard for keeping standards is really the innate decency of the governors and the governed. One can have all the safeguards in law, but without the basic decency of a commitment to the good and to the community, then nothing will help.

        Innate decency. The lack or absence of this is a basic problem of the Filipino and the Philippines.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “Innate decency. The lack or absence of this is a basic problem of the Filipino and the Philippines.” The Filipino is only decent within his own group – to his kapwa.

          Now who a Filipino sees as kapwa – fellow human being – depends on what kind of person he is. Some will see only his family as kapwa (Binay), some will see his village, municipality, ethnic group, political group, religion, comrades, batchmates as kapwa.

          Now the main problem is that many Filipinos from the groups that Grace Poe represents (many state employees, masa, some intellectuals) do NOT see the Makati people that Aquino seems to represent as kapwa – and probably vice versa. Rejecting due process for a crook like Binay – even crooks deserve it in a proper system – is an example of burgis applying double standard for one from the masa while forgiving Noynoy’s transgressions. Lack of decency towards iba, unfairness, is something nearly all Filipinos have.

        • I have to admit that I was waiting for the IMPORTANT part because it is what I believe the root at why we do not yet have good enduring institutions. Our politicians are not basically decent. In a way the wayward 20(senators) were sailors of the Philippine Politics, ready at a moments notice to go where the wind blows. Without this basic decency people are basically unknowable.

        • And institutions are uneven.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Because Filipinos are personalistic, at best group-oriented and too emotional for their own good, emotions are a good guide and a powerful motor but you have to channel their force through directedness and objectivity.

            To use the terms of my old man: not enough sense of TAYO at a national level and too much sense of KAMI at all levels. Even among pro-Noynoy people, only the more enlightened followers are PANTAYO and not PANGKAMI.

  6. i7sharp says:

    @Mary Grace P. Gonzalez
    so what exactly is your point, Joe is quite clear on his preference and non-preference, he could have read him to start with, found he disliked his style and stayed away since, so what do you wish to prove? Is this going somewhere?

    The point:
    To find out WHO exactly is distorting the truth?

    I saw just now that Joe came close to at least providing a URL:
    Let me help by using copy-and-paste technology:

    Joe apparently cherry-picked from it.
    What do you of this picking from the same source used by Joe:
    Limbaugh was awarded the Marconi Radio Award for Syndicated Radio Personality of the Year in 2014 (given by the National Association of Broadcasters).[43] He has won the award four times previously (in 1992, 1995, 2000, and 2005).[44] He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1993.[45] He was later inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1998.[46]

    In 2002, Talkers Magazine ranked him as the greatest radio talk show host of all time.[47] Limbaugh is the highest-paid syndicated radio host.[48]

    On March 29, 2007, Limbaugh was awarded the inaugural William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for Media Excellence, by the Media Research Center, a conservative media analysis group.[49]

    On January 5, 2008, the conservative magazine Human Events announced Limbaugh as their 2007 Man of the Year.[50]

    On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Limbaugh was selected as one of America’s top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for a Barbara Walters ABC special that aired on December 4, 2008.[51]

    On February 28, 2009, following his self-described “first address to the Nation” lasting 90 minutes, carried live on CNN and Fox News and recorded for C-SPAN, Limbaugh received CPAC’s “Defender of the Constitution Award”, a document originally signed by Benjamin Franklin, given to someone “who has stood up for the First Amendment … Rush Limbaugh is for America, exactly what Benjamin Franklin did for the Founding Fathers … the only way we will be successful is if we listen to Rush Limbaugh”.[52]

    ps In this thread, it was Joe himself who had brought up the matter about Limbaugh (whom Joe has made clear he does not like). Having pointed that out, let me ask the same question you asked me: What exactly is Joe’s point?

    • Joe America says:

      Excuse me, i7sharp, you asked me to cherry pick, so kindly don’t place that slander on me. You asked me to provide examples of outrageous statements by Limbaugh. I have done that. You didn’t like the examples I provided, so I gave you Wiki, a neutral source. You don’t find those attitudes outrageous?

      Also, I am not your errand boy, doing research as you request. If you have a positive statement to make, that Limbaugh speaks honorably and truthfully, and is a mainstream broadcaster, make YOUR statement. Don’t ask me to do work, and then when I do it, declare it insufficient. Put YOUR case on the table.

      As for the awards you cite, most are from conservative organizations who DO like the political sledge hammer Limbaugh brings to the debate. The Walters’ award for “fascinating person” is not an endorsement of Limbaugh for anything other than being an entertainer, and talented and unique at how he goes about it. If you listen to Limbaugh, he will say he is an entertainer. That’s his job. If you wish to go there for your enlightenment, please do, but don’t expect me to go there. I prefer CSPAN for my information on politics in the US, and don’t follow any particular writers or broadcasters. I read widely, and believe I get good balance, liberal and conservative.

      I would never go to Limbaugh’s site, as I informed you before. I find his views disgusting. He hurts a lot of people in the name of entertainment, and as a celebrity of the conservative wing.

      You are fully entitled to read him, worship him, advocate for him or conservative causes. You will never get me to agree he is good for America or human decency.

    • sonny says:

      @ i7sharp

      I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a while and stopped because after you got time to think of his bombast, the line of his reasoning leads to a ‘reductio ad absurdum’ argument. There is no doubt he has an engaging style. I still find myself looking for more substance.

      • Joe America says:

        Rush Limbaugh is to me a one-man tabloidian nightmare, where pomp is more powerful than circumstance. I went through a similar cycle as you did, as I enjoyed his bluster until he had one of his over the top “moments”, the subject of which I can’t recall, but it may have started with an O. I thought he was downright wrong and downright mean about it. I also believe in the power of the vote, as it pertains to public media. The polling machine regarding Limbaugh is the radio and the vote is cast by flipping the dial.

    • I have to admit a certain bias. Everything I know of Rush Limbaugh was either through Brad Delongs’ blog, Paul Krugman, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

      I think the point was that Rush Limbaugh is only for Rush Limbaugh pretty much how the media in the Philippines acts. They are for their bottomlines or the interests of their owners.

  7. PinoyInEurope says:

    Since true neutrality is very rare especially in the Philippines, state-owned media should have a board proportionally composed of members of major parties in the Congress and Senate. But with a maximum of five members from the parties plus one representing the Office of the President.

    If there is no real neutrality, let them neutralize each other. But in a civilized way, that means there should be rule that no member of the board may speak to the press, everything is done internally.

    They would check each other and the editors and make sure reporting is factual and balanced.

  8. henry david says:

    in economics, we have Gresham’s Law…. i don’t know how long it will take, if at all, but media instruments will need the acceptance, the respect of media consumers. i had been reading the inquirer since 1986 when we threw out marcos dictatorship ( prior to that i had stopped reading the bulletin . Years ago, i stopped reading philstar…. this was when max soliven was still regaling with the honchos he rubbed elbows with, and louie beltran imagined himself to be a journalist….

    how did it happen to inquirer, even if they had someone like raul p. as publisher? the prietos are not the evil people who have some agenda… i give them the benefit of the doubt…. i think… maybe i am naive….they are just business people and yes, they will protect and defend their business interests…

    but allowing their newspaper to become a shitty tabloid like the manila times or the standard…
    is a puzzlement to me…

    as a consumer, i have the right… and i did exercise it….. i stop. i do wish to remain a consenting victim to their crappy media output.

    once in a while i will read rappler ( even if i have to ask do i want to know what this or that movie star did or did not do….)… it seems to be less combatant than before… but i can forgive that…

    it is not tabloid … in the most pejorative sense i can think of….. like standard, manila times, and of late…. inquirer….

    wonder what ms eppie thinks about the newspaper she started…

    • Joe America says:

      I absolutely agree, Henry. I could not reconcile Inquirer Publisher Pangalangan’s writings and credentials and statement of mission with what comes out on the front pages. Conflict over stability of the Philippines. Paper sales over honorable headlines. I agree with you. I stopped buying the INquirer four months ago, and visit their on line site less and less because all that rolls through the news is sensationalism. If it is trivial, and sensational, it will be there. Headlines do not represent the content of the stories. They make a political point, or a point of conflict.

      The Rappler editors reacted to some of the commentary here, I believe, and may have re-examined their news content to remove editorial statements. I agree it is much improved from before, and is moving up. I do find their format cluttered, with not enough news. There are more features that I’m not so interested in.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        I find quite good as well, definitely better than Inquirer, similar level to Rappler. As for papers, Mindanews is mentioned in your link, I found its reports about Mamasapano and after the most calm and objective. Guess it’s because they LIVE there.

  9. Lilit Trinidad says:

    Joe, when you wrote “Mainstream media are under financial pressure from on-line media”, did you mean just online versions of news organizations or do you count the Facebooks and Twitters of the world? Because I think another major reason journalism has devolved into what it is today is because “professional” journos now have to compete with regular joes (not you) with cell phone cameras, internet connection, and no idea of journalistic ethics. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the low-wage, low-skill reporters you mentioned used to be these people with cell phone cameras. In an age when anybody can post legit news as well as rumors and innuendos, I’m thinking some people who do it for a living feel they have to “ramp it up” to remain relevant.

    On another note, for some time, the Manila Bulletin advertised with the slogan “There’s Good News Here”, claiming to provide people with a positive take on the news. I don’t know how well it’s worked for them. I had to look at their website to see if they were still doing it (they were). I guess what I’m saying is, a fair, unbiased, unemotional newspaper will have its work cut out.

    Oh, and one last thing (which the anti- crowd might also find amusing): Isn’t it funny that the colloquial term for tabloid reporting–now being used to attack Pnoy–is ‘yellow’ journalism?

    • Joe America says:

      Lilit, you make a good point, that the drift to tabloid news is likely spurred by electronic communication and the substitution of an all day long version of “breaking news” for journalistic content. It is not entirely an economic trend, but social as well. Thanks for that.

      I’ll have to sample of the Manila Bulletin. It is not on my reading list right now. Maybe it should be.

      Yellow journalism thrives, and the Aquino color is rather a tarnished kind of ocher yellow. I hope Mr. President can get it shined back up again.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Manila Bulletin was once called Bulletin Today during Martial Law and at that time WAS like the unofficial state newspaper – that nobody really believed.

        There is an old joke in the Philippines that in the beginning, there was “developmental journalism” – meaning constructive and oriented towrard progress.

        At some point, it was replaced by “envelopemental journalism” – something even a state newspaper will not be able to fully stop, only check.

        • Joe America says:

          Seems like enveloped journalism to me, wrapped in the cellophane of sensationalism and boxed by oligarchs.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            envelopemental means the journalist gets some cash in an envelope to write what somebody powerful wants him to write.

            • Joe America says:

              ahahaha, thanks! Man that one whizzed right over my head. New definition recorded . . .

              • That was the norm during the Marcos regime, being duplicated nowadays, not just in journalism – envelopmental radio broadcasting, envelopmental TV “resource persons and hosts”, not counting the outright social media propaganda disguised as sites for mindless jokes, quotations and daily “common sense tips” to attract readership – then boom ! political propaganda to be regularly inserted..

  10. josephivo says:

    I see two things going on, a world wide shift in culture and many of us growing older and typical Filipino conditions.

    1.1 Communication shifted from a more literary, eloquent writing to one liners and twitter bursts.
    1.2 Economic commercialization, only the bottom line counts
    1.3 A shift to “economic” language. Journalists wrote for citizens, today they write for customers. Party members versus party customers. Efficient communication versus persuasive communication. Our vocabulary shifts to “management speak”
    1.5 Newspapers mission as “educators” is gone. And many driven, good teachers existed. Now readers are only customers they should make rational decisions for themselves, not pupils.
    1.4 The “middle men” is disappearing. Things can be (too) complex and need “education”, French kitchen, complex cheeses or wines are not spontaneous appreciated, parents have to insist again and again. The tone is set by food critics and some guru cooks. Ordinary cooks do not cook for their patrons but for the expert inspectors of Michelin to get a star. Without this food culture and strait dealing with consumers you have to make tastes easy for all, add sugar, welcome to America.
    In the old day reporters had to write for the expert editor and not for the readers. Editors are squeezed away by efficiencies and bottom line attitudes.
    1.5 Airbnb and Uber…, no more middlemen direct business from individual to individual mediated by internet. Twitter, Facebook fast direct.

    On top of this international shift there are typical Philippine conditions.
    2.1 There are no ideologies, no political parties left. No “ideas” to be sold or defended.
    2.2 Obsession with Karaoke, trying to imitate, impressing you friends not the experts.
    2.3 Living in the now. No planning needed, no thinking ahead.
    2.4 Emotions are the only reality, reading emotions our strength.
    2.5 A very small top created perfect control and enormous thresholds.

    The media are imbedded in a national and international culture, just adding a official newspaper might not do the job. I’m afraid that again education, education, education is the key.

    • Joe America says:

      Your assessment continues your trend of mind-bending looks at our behavior, and I can find nothing to argue with, after lots of “oh, yeah, right!” nodding of the head. Today, journalists are often middle men who get cut out of the picture by a good phone video or CCTV shot that shows a policeman being shot or a pair of bombers setting up their hardware. Viral news. Yet, in the US, the packagers seem to be still in business. Los Angeles has its Times, New York its Times and Post and Journal, the Daily Beast roams wild and all kinds of local newspapers persist. We have new points of view like Slate and Politico and technical publications. Look and Life have passed, but Time has adapted to the fast electronic way. CNN is as strong on line and on its network.

      I think Manila still needs a packager that wraps the news in intelligence rather than emotion.

      It is not a choice, one or another. The education done in schools is for sure critical, and if one did have a choice, upgrade the education and skip the newspaper. But we need not choose, and adult education is important, too.

      Thank you for the intellectual calisthenics.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “I think Manila still needs a packager that wraps the news in intelligence” Hmmm…

        If I think of who the crowd is that reads the good papers in Germany – Süddeutsche Zeitung (liberal to center-left), Frankfurter Allgemeine (liberal to center-right), then these people are usually the movers and the shakers: managers, businessmen, professionals etc. who need no-nonsense information and analyses to make their own decisions – similar to the crowd that read NY Times and Washington Post. Don’t tell me that crowd – usually UP, Ateneo, La Salle graduates – does not exist in the Philippines.

        The question is, where do THEY get their information? Just inside channels I assume, since the Philippines is NOT that open in reality, everything is edgar lores’ wayang kulit.

        • Joe America says:

          Excellent question. Not where do they get their news, but where do they get their information. That is worth exploring.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Mostly through networks, to gather from my experience during Marcos days. Of course they were the only source of true information during the dictatorship. But in a low-trust society (ref Hofstedes model) like the Philippines, REAL information is only shared within in-groups, while in high-trust societies like USA, Germany, Japan, information is shared via top papers within the groups of the movers and the shakers – and to those who are smart enough to read those papers. In the Philippines those in power monopolize information.

            It is because those in power do NOT want competitors coming from below, neither in politics nor in business. They are afraid of competition because they themselves are Filipinos and as such prey to the puwede na iyan mentality, rarely top performers. The relative lack of professionalism in many areas demonstrates this. Example Poe’s report which is partly professional but then again not. Or BBL, which I will write about… 🙂

      • edgar lores says:

        In the Australian model, as I have outlined, the ABC broadcaster is heavily invested in educational programs geared towards the young. I am not sure if the emphasis of education is just on play and the three R’s, but there must be some embedding of cultural values and ethical values, wittingly or unwittingly.

        Someone should analyze whether there is any redeeming social value in the songs of the Wiggles.

        We talk of the rise of the middle class as a factor in the nation’s progress, but our perception of that middle class is mainly economic in character. I contend that that middle class should have solid social and ethical aspects to it as well.

        • Joe America says:

          The Wiggles does not show here, but a group High Five does. Does Barney have social value? I’d say Dr. Seuss does, and Sesame Street as I go about the house emulating “The Count” with his heavy Hungarian accent.

          Actually, my concept of middle class is as you say, social/ethical primarily, with enough wealth to get about, and enough voice to make a difference.

          Winnie the Pooh is also of great social import.

          • edgar lores says:

            Barney teaches love and family values.

            Winnie the Pooh is zen.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            “I’d say Dr. Seuss does” the oo-blech as a story about environmental pollution.

            Much of Philippine history I learned as a child from intelligent Filipino komiks my father bought me, with sword-weilding datus and brave rebels fighting Spanish conquerors.

            Amaya was a great story about ancient Filipino culture, starring Marian Rivera and in teleserye form but with historically accurate costumes and facts. My father was one of those who advised the scriptwriter. The politics in Amaya with datus and rajas, shifting alliances, deceit and vengeance all over the place could be Filipino politics today. The basic culture of the Filipino is Malay with some Spanish and Chinese ingredients.

            OK wrapped in American packaging but not much more American in it. The American basic culture is Germanic / Anglo-Saxon in origin, the story that fits it better is Lord of the Rings, with forthrightness and keeping one’s word as the main values. Very different.

            Took more than 300 years for the Spanish to influence the Philippines, American colonial rule was barely 50 years, considering the tenacity of Filipino habits, it did not really take root. The only place were American tutelage was really successful was in Germany, and that was because the cultures are similar after all, Americans (with exceptions like you) are usually not that good in adapting to other cultures and realizing they are different. Witness Latin America and the Middle East, Americans didn’t get it there, didn’t succeed.

            • Joe America says:

              The term “dense” comes to mind, in reflecting on American failure to appreciate the nuance of other cultures.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Because for all the variety of ethnic origins, America just has one culture all over and in the North, you have the for you strange but very similar “Canucks”, then you have the Mexicans across the Rio Grande that’s it. Newcomers get sworn in very quickly, the true religion of the USA is the state, I noticed that when even in the Catholic Church in Woodside, Queens New York they had an American flag in front, “In God We Trust, Ordo Novo Saecolurum (New Order of the Centuries)” on every greenback with the pyramid.

                I remember a meeting when my old employer, a German start-up, was taken over by a large Canadian firm. Canadians are the seemingly nicer version of Americans, just like Austrians are the seemingly nicer version of Germans. Speech by the new boss in the canteen in which he explained the lay-offs, saying that there are still X people to be FINALIZED. Imagine that in a country where the word FINAL SOLUTION was spawned and job security is very important. Then the nervous German country manager told us in German well, we just have this place for 15 minutes more so we don’t have much time, but if anyone has questions to ask please ask them. Silence. The Canadian boss asked us, any questions everyone? Silence. OK, if you have any questions, just mail them to us.

                In the evening I overheard one of the Canadian adjutants talking to HQ on the phone behind the reception desk. Being a Pinoy I made pasimple. He was saying “hey nobody asked any questions, it freaked us all out, this is REALLY a different culture over here!”

                Needless to say, some of us within consulting initiated a worker’s council, something which is legal by German law. I was asked but I declined, a former activist not wanting trouble. Anyway it caused trouble for my former boss whom I now do business with, he told me that Canada called him all furious, saying “we thought we defeated Communism more than ten years ago, what is that?” – especially since his SECRETARY became the council boss.

                Worker’s councils in Germany have enormous power, including mandatory representation in the corporate supervisory board. The board representatives may not talk to workers about matters discussed there, only the rest of the council which is bound to secrecy. Nonetheless they have full knowledge of internal corporate matters, which causes strange things to happen sometimes. At Volkswagen they had a huge scandal, the heads of the worker’s council were heavily bribed by some higher-ups including escorts in Brazil… 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                “The religion is the state.” Very good.

                Good that you steered clear of the worker’s council. The Canadians would probably have sold the company and hied it home.

  11. Bing Garcia says:

    Inquirer is a tabloid.

  12. R.Hiro says:

    Case in point above links….

    “In an essay for the Foreign Affairs magazine, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino memorably wrote: “Filipinos are bewildered about their identity. They are an Asian people not Asian in the eyes of their fellow Asians and not Western in the eyes of the West.” For him, the roots of the Philippines’ predicament lie in the Filipino leadership’s tendency to “abdicat[e] control over basic areas of their national life [to foreign powers], unaccustomed to coming to grips with reality, [and] prone to escape into fantasies.” Almost four decades henceforth, the Filipino political class continues to exhibit these characteristics.” Richard Javad Heydarian

    “Prosperous autocratic states such as Singapore and China demonstrate how possessing a modern bureaucracy doesn’t necessarily guarantee democratization. But no democracy can survive without possessing an effective, impersonal Weberian bureaucracy, which is capable of delivering public goods, ensuring public safety, and autonomously pursuing collective interest. This is precisely the lesson that many developing democracies such as the Philippines tend to overlook. Charisma, free elections, and freedom of expression can’t make up for weak, fragmented state institutions and the absence of rule of law. Democracy is not only about freely choosing your leaders; it is also about choosing the best possible leaders, who can effectively oversee day-to-day administration.” Richard Javad Heydarian

    “But instead of constantly looking into the past — based on facts or fictions or a combination of the two — or being naively swayed by the smoke and mirrors of flashy new establishments across the country, it is high time to focus on the right question: How to overhaul the Philippines’ economic system, so that, to paraphrase French Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, no man is poor enough to sell his votes and no one is rich enough to hijack the political system. Formal political equality amid mind-boggling poverty and inequality is nothing but an illusion of democracy.” Richard Javad Heydarian

    Joe you seem to be putting the cart before the horse…The executive, legislative and the judiciary in this country still are struggling with birth pains and this will end with this administration and start anew with the next…None of the previous governments leave behind strengthened institutions and this present one will leave with the imprint of the tragedy in Mindanao…One step forward and two steps backward…

    Looking at the list of Presidential notables like the new contestants in an annual beauty pageant there is indeed room of continued pessimism…

    Heydarian is part Iranian and part Filipino…His bio…

    Richard Javad Heydarian is a foreign affairs and economic analyst, focusing on the Asia-Pacific and MENA regions. Follow him on twitter @Richeydarian

    He is an Assistant Professor in political science at De La Salle University, and consultant/policy advisor to a number of local and international institutions. As an expert on current and international affairs, he has written for or interviewed by Asia Times, Aljazeera English, Bloomberg, BBC, Foreign Affairs, CCTV, USA Today, Voice of America, The Straits Times, The National Interest, The Nation, The Diplomat, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, NPR , among other publications. He is the author of How Capitalism Failed the Arab World: The Economic Roots and Precarious Future of the Arab Uprisings. He is also the author of the forthcoming book The Philippines: The US, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Pivot State.

    • Joe America says:

      Three or more links gets a comment dumped into moderation as a part of spam/troll protections.

      No doubt Professor Heydarian is a smart person with important insights. I can’t possibly go through all three articles and comment on areas that confuse me, such as his remark that the Philippines is immature and a part of this is premature consumerism. Whereas it may be true that retail sales are robust for the thin economy, to suggest that every economy must follow the same path to maturity is to suggest the only way we can reach maturity it is through one path that invariably leads to the Professor’s class at La Salle. I think everyone tracks his own path, and so do nations. It is not premature, it just is, I’d suspect with unique qualities like OFW inflows has never been duplicated elsewhere.

      As for me getting the cart before the horse, I don’t see how that makes much sense, not to try to develop a robust fourth estate as one of the institutions of the unique Philippine economy. Why would we want to wait? Or maybe I’m reading your point wrong. Whatever the case, you seem to have this penchant for always pointing out how wrong my thinking is, and it is becoming tiresome.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        ” I don’t see how that makes much sense, not to try to develop a robust fourth estate as one of the institutions of the unique Philippine economy” I don’t quite get R. Hiro’s point.

        To develop strong Weberian institutions (institutional machinery basically) you need to have a press that does not keep attacking them while they are still in development.

        As for premature consumerism, I have a comment on that below and already wrote something about that in my Tipping Point article.

        Problem with many Ivory Tower people is that they analyze well, but often lack grounding in real life, journalists with intellectual background like Gladwell bridge that gap.

        What I agree with is that no Presidentiable thinks of using the money coming in now to build up Philippine industries/agriculture – except for Duterte, Binay just copied his idea.

        • josephivo says:

          1- What if your read “premature consumerism” as consuming before you created wealth yourself. One third of the consumption here is from remittances. No shame on living of someone else’s efforts. No investment in future earnings because the marketing is miles ahead, brainwashing the poor consumer.

          2- Isn’t it double edged? Don’t you get the press you deserve? Or don’t you get the politicians you deserve? More mature societies getting more mature papers and politicians. But also how to get mature citizens without good (educating) journalists? And how to get mature citizens without caring politicians?

      • RHiro says:

        The issue that is the elephant in the room is the viability of the Philippine State…Statehood…The shared history of community in the Philippines that would have been the basis of nationhood is our colonial past….We are a colonial construct.

        Unfortunately throughout that history a micro elite worked with the colonizer and became the neo-colonizer whose loyalties lie with the colonizers and not with the Filipino people….This holds true to this day…

        I ascribe to the ideas put forth very clearly by Smith and Marx, wealth begets power and that begets the power to command labor and the administrators of the State….

        The role of the State is to regulate that power……

        How does the city State of Singapore with 6 million souls produce as much and if not more than a country of 100 million souls?

        There is no freedom of the press in Singapore….But they have minimal corruption….The government of Singapore owns a large portion of the economic wealth in Singapore….

        You talk of the accomplishments of the present President as unique in Philippine history….

        Yet we still have a national economy that is hard put to pay it’s import bills from our domestic production…..

        We do not have international money power because of it and we have to use the dollar primarily as the anchor to our economy…..

        We have an economy wherein inflation is not a monetary phenomenon…..Our stock of foreign exchange is our insurance against inflationary pressures….

        It is our inability to import that may cause inflationary pressures since we are import dependent for our basic staples….

        The Philippine State has to default the most basic macro-economic policy to the U.S. Central Bank…

        If you have a handle on these basic facts and understand the depth of these structural flaws of the Philippine State that were part of the neo-colonial policies left by the U.S. and continued under all governments since Quezon….

        The slogan of Quezon was simply that a slogan for elections during his run…..

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          “Unfortunately throughout that history a micro elite worked with the colonizer and became the neo-colonizer whose loyalties lie with the colonizers and not with the Filipino people….This holds true to this day…” Partly correct. There are new members of the elite like Bam Aquino who have authored bills to assist SMEs being founded. But most members of the Makati elite and the LP that represents it have no concept for furthering the industrialization of the Philippines from the easy money they earn from BPO revenue.

          NP are the spiritual descendants of the Spanish mestizo elite that became nationalistic during the Revolution because they wanted control of the colony, while LP are the spiritual descendants of the mainly but not only Chinese mestizo elite that worked with the Americans – businessmen and businessmen get along well after all. UNA are either the losers from the Spanish mestizo elite (Enrile, Estrada) or upstarts from the masses (Binay) but they do not really represent the masses, they are a kleptocracy that pretends to.

          Leaders from below like Duterte do have ideas of developing a real industrial base and strengthening State institutions like PNP and AFP, but he is a fascist like Ferdie Marcos. Communists we can also forget, intelligent leftists like Walden Bello are exceptions.

        • Joe America says:

          Well there you go, I fear I have no idea what you are talking about, the econo-babble circulating in the clouds like so many geese who have lost their way. But I’m just a marketing guy, eh? Not schooled in economics other than one course in banking school that was most memorable because someone had sneaked in during the night to draw an elegant finger on the instructor’s rolling overhead projector. On each finger was printed the letters of the economic model, R I C E Y, the meanings of which escape me, the laughter that lasted 15 minutes, embedded forever in the brain you find wanting.

          So give us solutions, eh, rather than complaints?

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            That is the problem theoreticians have – they get lost in their concepts and do not find grounding in reality. Especially in the Philippines where you have extremely good theoreticians and practitioners who are total pragmatists, when actually the best combination is what in Germany they call Theopraktiker – practitioners with strong theoretical backgrounds to put some system into the way practical knowledge and experience is applied, and adapt theory to what is possible on the ground.

            Economists and political scientists should have the requirement to graduate that doctors have – a year of internship, for them somewhere in the corporate or government world.

            I got my “internship” while working to finance my masteral studies in computer science, otherwise I would have been a spaced-out theoretician or a good vocational programmer, now I am known as someone who solves real IT issues with structure PLUS pragmatism. Which reminds me, I have to get out of posting, I will have to take a taxi to the customer again, OK I can put it to my expenses, but the danger of this getting addictive is REAL. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Arrived now, luckily my project manager, a former German federal policeman turned accounting project manager for a military-industrial giant (he has the security clearances I do NOT have, mine being only consultant grade with low authorizations) is in a telco… 🙂

                Funny how I reacted to the young security lady who asked for my identification, the two regular ones know me and just type my name into the computer to give me my pass: I gave her my identification and said “guess you don’t know me, the Bavarian and the Romanian lady do” in a friendly way, she answered “I only occassionally do the shift here”, gave me the pass and I said “thanks a lot” with a smile. “Do you know who am?” but civilized. So here I am, tamed Azkal-cum German shepherd, getting ready to do my work. Posting here via mobile phone Internet and wireless to laptop – the local network here blocks JoeAm as a “political advocacy” site, “please refer to security if needed for work”. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Now that I am operating in military mode, I forgot one person in my tribute to the oragonons Bikol has produced: my immigrant barkada Stabsfeldwebel (staff sergeant) Alex Conde, Bikolano Spanish mestizo and former commander of a Leopard 2 Panzer, now reserve officer, our answer to Sergeant Wardaddy played by Brad Pitt in the movie Fury. Who told me, hey I don’t go by my rank like some of my colleagues do, I lead by seeing all in my team as human beings. Typical Bikolano attitude…

                Now back to work before my project manager catches me posting on the Internet. 🙂

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, why the hell aren’t you busy doing that blog!!! Next you’ll be peeking at porn or something, making some lame argument that the BBL is not quite as interesting.

              • karl garcia says:

                Don’t forget your Sunday sortie.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                haha Joe, I have reserved two hours per evening for the blog article. Being an undisciplined Filipino by nature, I need to put some rigid framework around myself to keep the azkal in me from being too asongkalye – nothing but the dog in me (George Clinton)…

                Karl, my Sunday sortie is something I shall do after submitting the article, which a professional Ecuadorian journalist will have a look at on Saturday. And now that I have eaten lunch, I will finally start working. Till evening of course because I have to catch up.. 🙂

            • josephivo says:

              A story on Theopraktikers.

              In the twenties last century air-conditioning was introduced. To find out what was comfortable Americans made climate rooms and tested thousands individuals changing temperatures, moisture and air speed conditions in the test cubicles. In the end they constructed the comfort curves of Flecher and someone, forgot the name.

              At the same time in Germany an engineer and a medical doctor were sitting together listing the body mechanism that controlled body temperature and what the ideal settings of these processes were. They found a set of environment parameters that defined the area where controlling the body temperature was the easiest. Their curves were identical to the American ones if you put the radiation temperature of the walls equal to the air temperature. Two German Theopraktikers finding a more comprehensive answer than thousands of Americans. (But the Americans had their curves a little faster)

          • I usually get lost while trying to wade through long comments, too cerebral for a practical gal like yours truly. Like you Joe, I’m not an economist. I usually comment on a paragraph or two, completely missing the context…argh…where are we by the way…joke. No offense to the intellectual commenters here…it’s my simple, uncomplicated mind that could not process these gems being offered, coming from a whole day at the office trying to balance worksheets that simply won’t cooperate. Hahaha..

            • Joe America says:

              Nicely said, Mary. We need not all be economists or philosophers or students of religion. It is nice when people who have those skills have the patience to teach us without looking down at our various ignorances. And I also have trouble with concentration during long paragraphs. I could blame the trifocals, but is more likely burnout from college days.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                I am familiar with the complex stuff, having grown up with it – BUT I still very much appreciate writers like Malcom Gladwell and Phil Zimbardo, who are intellectual but manage to write columnist style, bringing the knowledge to the people.

                Hardly read Antonio Negri’s Empire, which was full of sociological babble as you would say – even I have my limits, which is hard to imagine but I definitely do.

              • Joe America says:

                🙂 🙂 🙂

          • josephivo says:

            How to change from a rent seeking economy to a flat playing field and competitive wealth creation is described by Joseph E. Stiglitz, in “The Price of Inequality”. It’s all about politics. The opposite of what has to be done is demonstrated in the Philippines, dynasties, weak justice, complex processes, no transparency….

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              I respect Stiglitz – a rebel from within the Church, no I mean the IMF.

              One book I will be reading next. Thanks.

        • karl garcia says:

          R. Hiro,
          Ten years since I saw your comment. I started as a fanboy and if there was repost function on the blogs we have been together, I would repost them in a flash.But as years go by you have been doing the reposting yourself stuffing everything in s suitcase which you call mixed bag.Anyways I just like that out of my chest so I can breathe easier.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “no man is poor enough to sell his votes and no one is rich enough to hijack the political system. Formal political equality amid mind-boggling poverty and inequality is nothing but an illusion of democracy.” very well said.

      Democracy needs a stable and wide middle class to function. Russia is also only partly democratic with its super-rich oligarchs and Mafiosi on one side and extreme poverty on the other side.

      The growth of the Philippine middle class is actually a bit of a hope, even if some are into “premature consumerism” – I wrote about that in my Tipping Point article – some will invest into educating their children or into SMEs so that view is not the only valid one.

      “None of the previous governments leave behind strengthened institutions and this present one will leave with the imprint of the tragedy in Mindanao” from what I have been reading so far, Philippine institutions have gradually become stronger over the years. The “effective, impersonal Weberian bureaucracy” is actually building up step by step – for those who are not familiar with that, google Max Weber, now I think Joe as a Lutheran would agree with his most famour piece of work:

      “For him (Ninoy), the roots of the Philippines’ predicament lie in the Filipino leadership’s tendency to “abdicat[e] control over basic areas of their national life [to foreign powers],” that is where Ninoy would be dismayed at how his son is handling certain things now.

      • Joe America says:

        ?? To what foreign powers has President Aquino abdicated control over, and why would Ninoy be dismayed? I don’t see it.

        • Joe America says:

          Gadzooks, but my grammar has gone to hell . . .

          • Hah…that’s the usual unfortunate consequence of my rushing to comment when I’m deeply affected by a point I’m responding to…may I say join the club of Mary of typos? Hehe, just joking, Joe…and l’m not smirking, promise..just glad to have company and a desperate attempt to lighten up my mood…my head is spinning, like a wheel within a wheel….

          • Actually, I really really want to comment to PiE, on a comment re the due process thing not being accorded Binay as compared to Pnoy, but it’s getting late. Work is waiting, yawn… Another overtime on a sideline….

            This abdication matter deserves another clarification and discussion…hey, PiE, you just could not help it, yes? …your prejudice keeps on manifesting in your comments, and I can’t help it if it keeps my hackles (is that the proper term?) rise…do you do it on purpose, just like Parekoy, to bait me and others? How I wish this drat BIR deadline is over., just wait, ha…I have these numerous corporations that need my concentration…

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              “This abdication matter deserves another clarification and discussion…”

              which I very eagerly await. You have clarified many things for me and helped me adjust my hypothesis based on new data – I am not ideologically fixed, I am a Pisay graduate and therefore scientifically trained – scientists stopped believing that the sun goes around the earth like they thought from before when Copernicus and Galileo came up with new data and interpretations, only the Church tried Galileo and admitted their error just years ago.

              “hey, PiE, you just could not help it, yes? …your prejudice keeps on manifesting in your comments, and I can’t help it if it keeps my hackles (is that the proper term?) rise…”

              Good, because I like to be thought-provoking. I do not have many fixed beliefs, mainly mental models that I adjust if new data show that they are not fully consistent.

              “do you do it on purpose, just like Parekoy, to bait me and others?”

              Yes I do it on purpose, but in order to understand WHY you think differently. Then either I adjust my mental model or know the reasons why I still stick to it. Again this is my scientific thinking, I base my hypothesis on the available data and adjust it to fit new inputs.

              “How I wish this drat BIR deadline is over., just wait, ha…I have these numerous corporations that need my concentration…”

              I know, April 15 is the BIR deadline. My year-end closing for 2014 is theoretically until end of this year as a business, even though my accountancy (an all-ladies shop) usually forces me to finish stuff by summer at the latest.

              The due process thing for Binay IS what I see at the moment, that Noynoy MAY not be mentally fully independent in his foreign policy decisions is also what I see at the moment.

              I am happy to hear the arguments against this and be further enlightened – it is also good if other doubters who do NOT state their doubts that clearly or just go by prejudice are also enlightened by your explanations and POSSIBLY start re-thinking, even just quietly.

              giancarloangulo, being a computer pro like me, has also understood that my questions are sometime like IT test cases to assure the system is error-free, or if you are an accountant imagine that I am like a terrible auditor, in fact I have worked with some. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                “just wait, ha…” I am eagerly but patiently waiting… This thread will not go away.

                You have enlightened me on many things – and many readers as well. If I were a hacker, imagine me as the white-hat type who looks for weaknesses to tell the hacked ones about them, not a black-hat hacker who is malicious and really destroys things.

                Or like the former swindler Leonardo de Caprio played in Catch Me If You Can who later worked for the FBI in catching other swindlers – Frank Abagnale. If I were STILL like him before or like the activist I was before, I would be in GRP or would have an even worse site, I know how this kind of thing works, or I would have gone straight to Jojo – I actually met him in Germany 25 years ago – and done his propaganda for money, but I am older now and have found my conscience. Consider my techniques a kind of fire drill so you know how to react if a really malicious person of my caliber comes along, they exist. 🙂

              • Ok, one parting word for the night, I’m really glad you are not pikon (karl says you’re not, I now agree…)

                Know what, I’ve just been called a dog, or a bitch by geny over in raissa’s blog, simply because I reacted to his mentioning KrIs’ private part and posted “what a troll”….hahaha, that’s one pikon guy…good night

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Good night, Mary, blessed art though among the women in this blog.

                Come to think of it, I have adopted a lot of attitudes from an internal auditor whom I worked closely with for a year – 12 hour shifts after which we went for beer and then he went home to his camper (high-tech with internet and office inside) and I to my hotel.

                Internal auditors go through the entire balance sheets and returns of corporations, looking for MAJOR errors to correct and leaving MINOR errors for the tax auditors to find, they being real nitpickers like those in GRP, if you look for errors you will always find them.

                Isang beses lang niya akong binatukan, we were having beer and I made a total nonsense joke, he told me don’t drink more than you can, we have work to do tomorrow morning!

                Told me once about how he took over managing a business as a student for a friend who was in jail – a beerhouse with an officially separate hotel under a different registration. Thomas is in Switzerland now, moved his business there to a zero-tax canton, smart guy.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          National security to American senior partners – no own concept of how to deal with it as the Philippines IMHO. Economic progress to BPO industries and OFW revenues – no own concept of how to industrialize the Philippines – again IMHO but I see no other evidence.

          Even in BBL, they just adopted the MILFs idea of an autonomous state which is almost like a Malaysian federal state in concept, no trace of a concept coming from OPAPP.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            It’s like negotiating business agreements – if you have no idea of what you want to put in the agreement, meaning what YOU want, the other party that KNOWS what it wants will basically control you. When I negotiate with senior partners, I usually don’t have the chance to get all I want being weaker, but I do know what I DON’T want and have it taken out of the contract. But I adhere to what is signed, giving me a tough but fair reputation.

          • Joe America says:

            Ah, then what is the ITLOS filing, if not an idea based on law, and the build up of defensive arms, if not a part of an idea, and outreach initiatives to Japan and South Korea and Australia and Malaysia and Viet Nam, if not a concept? I fear you see an image in your mind, carried there for a long time, and not the real world. The Philippines controls it’s alliance with America, how else should an alliance be managed, and why should the Philippines deny itself the best-of-class intelligence? Abu sayyaf is but a shell of its former self, driven to outer islands, thanks to US intelligence. Next, BIFF will be pared away, until the only men left standing are those who want peace. It could not be done without American intelligence.

            I’d say a concept that eschews this information is the one that is lacking, and the President’s father would be immensely proud of his son.

            As for industrialization, that is what the President was working on the day the coffins arrived in Manila, but no one grasps that, or how much honor was granted to the Japanese that day.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              ” I fear you see an image in your mind, carried there for a long time, and not the real world.” Let’s say I have an impression from what I have read so far, possibly with some cognitive filters playing a role. But new information can make me change my hypothesis.

              I am scientifically trained (and very much an IT consultant) and not ideologically biased, so the infos you have summarized for me now are important inputs. What I did was translate what R. Hiro was saying into normal language and get your response. Thank you. 🙂

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                What I DO think of as possible is that Noynoy’s approach to doing things may NOT be his own but that given to him by US senior partners or multinational firms. Germany for example has its own policies and even discusses them openly. For example recently a German defense minister got questioned in the press about buying expensive US drones instead of those manufactured HERE – Lenkflugkörper is the German word for them.

                Thus, Germany also decided to allegedly help the US covertly in Afghanistan with special ops people, but not officially with other troops, then officially with ground troops to keep the peace after the US left. That is an OWN national policy. Merkel mediates between Obama and Putin, Hollande is a just tag along because you have to keep French pride in mind, German policy towards Russia is loyal to NATO and EU but has its own direction.

                Also, getting in Japanese manufacturing plants is IMHO just the beginning, foreign manufacturers can close their facilities and leave like Intel has done in the Philippines. You need to build a local manufacturing base with local firms that can become the Philippine equivalents of Acer, Samsung, HTC and the like, not just be subcontractors and offshore manufacturers all the time. Start somewhere but graduate to the next level.. 🙂

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “Democracy is not only about freely choosing your leaders; it is also about choosing the best possible leaders, who can effectively oversee day-to-day administration.”

      Mar Roxas, who has been written about extensively here, is one of those leaders…

  13. Dick s. O'Rosary says:

    Official Gazette is kinda like the government’s bulletin board. Or at least it was. Mainstreaming it and expanding the content and timeliness of publication would defeat its original purpose, so if you really need a state newspaper, it would have to be something else.

  14. manuelbuencamino says:

    There is already a Philippine News Agency (PNA).

    Will this official outlet, funded by taxes, be under the Office of the President? Who will do the hiring, who will appoint editors? Will reporters and staff of the paper be under the Civil Service Commission or will they be contractual employees or “talents”? How will it be different from Pravda or People’s Daily?

    Bottom-line. In a democracy, you cannot have a state-owned media outlet; something like that, would be like the Vatican’s official outlet on faith and doctrine. Democracy is a free-for-all of ideas and information, it presumes that citizens are knowledgeable and intelligent enough to govern themselves.

    A state-owned paper is a nanny for information and “correct” outlook. A nanny state is not a democracy, a nanny state is a failed state.

    • Joe America says:

      I’m afraid I don’t understand how a newspaper is any different than television and radio, nor do I see Australia and Great Britain as failed states. Other than that, I agree, the questions as to how it is set up are important. I guess I am confident that once a goal is established, it can be achieved through thoughtful planning and good work. The purpose of this blog was to establish the need. Some would argue the Philippines has been a bit of a failed state with the current media approach, or at least an under-performing state. Or a state in eternal conflict, fueled by the huge appetite of a sensationalist media for blood and guts and strife.

      • i7sharp says:


        I wonder how you would rate this state-owned newspaper if it were run by you – given what you have said about Rush Limbaugh since March 18 (

        Please take note of at least the following:

        1. It seems you have not provided a single direct quotation of what Rush has said and/or any URL that provides enough context to support your claim of Rush’s distortion of truths.
        (Note: The “Wiki” you have provided does not count; for one thing it did not mention of “the nuking of New York.”)

        2. You seem to be hesitant to name a person you think does a better job (is more reliable, etc.) than Rush.


      • PinoyInEurope says:

        “Or a state in eternal conflict, fueled by the huge appetite of a sensationalist media for blood and guts and strife.” Similar to the Weimar Republic, where sensationalism and emotionalism lead to Adolf Hitler taking over power helped by a tabloid press king.

        Postwar Germany learned from that experience, partly helped by the US high commission which dictated which people were allowed to get a press license. Thus, the plates that printed the first copies of Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich were from the same metal used to publish Mein Kampf, melted and recast. Plus very balanced public broadcasting and strict rules (Germans like them) against libel, defamation and Volksverhetzung – rabble-rousing a la Hitler which is a serious offence here and is sometimes used against both Neonazis and extremist Islamic “hate-preachers”. Rush Limbaugh would be in jail if he did what he is doing in the USA here in Germany, no total 1st Amendment rights here.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Adding to that, the founders of the present German press landscape were all serious democratic people scarred by the experience of World War 2 and the extremist Communist and Nazi press of the Weimar republic – plus they were all US-vetted.

          Some modern German papers have a bit of tabloid in style – Spiegel which used to be one of the beacons of serious press has become a slightly populist tabloid, Focus which was founded after reunification is a neoliberal tabloid similar in attitude to Business World.

          Come to think of it, the Weimar republic spawned a lot of strange characters – Erich Mielke, head of the East German Staatssicherheitsdienst or Stasi, was a Communist street fighter during the 1930s, fought with Nazis on the streets of Berlin…

        • Joe America says:

          Rush Limbaugh to me is testimony that Americans are not as bright as they sometimes seem to be, or think they are.

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Michael Moore too, even though he has his fanboys among the anti-American Euro crowd and had quite a following during the times of the most immature President America had in ages, Dubya Bush.

            Now you have Merkel, who is as much of a snake as Grace Poe (she shot down her own mentor Helmut Kohl after all when he was going down, just to pave her way to power) only maturer, deftly handling both Obama and Putin.

          • i7sharp says:

            Joe’s remark duly noted.


        • i7sharp says:


          Does that mean Germany is better than the USA?

          To support what you say, why not quote Limbaugh on what he has said that you think should send him to jail?


          • karl garcia says:

            What if he says yes to the first question,then we will never hear the end of it.
            I Object your honor…badgering the witness

            • i7sharp says:

              Let me end the first (rhetorical, btw) question by saying I love Germany.

              A few years ago. I went there nine times in four years – for training.


              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Then you know that in Germany, you will always get very comprehensive answers to your questions, like the one I gave below. 🙂

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              There is no such thing as objection in the German legal system… 🙂

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            Germany is not better than the USA, not in everything. It just is different because it has a different culture (OK USA and Germany are both Germanic cultures with similar outlooks when it comes to time, discipline and honesty) and some of its own experiences. Certain comments of Rush Limbaugh against minorities would be considered stoking the fires of racism here in Germany. They have good reason to regulate that, considering that after the Second World War, many people still had the post-Nazi mentality in their heads.

            The generation of WEST Germans 45 and under are mostly free of racism even in the back of their heads, guess that when they are old and racism has not come back, these laws will be taken back to American style first amendment freedoms which are more suitable to a country with a deep democratic culture like the USA, and even there you have political correctness as a form of democratic MANNERS to calm down differences.

            The point is that every political and legal system has to take the cultural and historical peculiarities of a country into consideration. The West Germans did NOT completely imitate the American system even if they were under US-allied military rule until 1949, under supervision until 1955 and under allied observation with limited sovereignty until the 2+4 treaty signed in 1990. They took some lessons from the US and kept their own stuff.

            I find Germany for example better than the US in some regards: strict gun ban coupled with efficient police that come very quickly but are civilized (they had to learn that too, postwar Bavarian police for example had a strong Nazi tradition they had to shake off), opening hours of stores limited differently in each state and almost no stores open on Sundays to keep commercialism from going too far, almost free quality education even at the university level, efficient public transport mainly run by municipal companies otherwise the traffic would be horrible with all the BMWs, Audis and Mercs, no privatization of water companies so that in Munich you can DRINK the tap water which comes from the Alps (some businessmen near my place bottled it and sell it as Acqua Monaco to yuppies but that is their clever business idea, I laugh heartily) and don’t need to buy bottled water etc.

            The US has some advantages that Germany does not have, but I would never live there.

            OK they are more open to new things in the cities and venture capital is more easily available so you have Silicon Valley. But in Germany you have SAP which is world class.

            Problem many Filipinos have is that they see ONLY the US system and ignore the other systems that are also successful to copy what they can use: Germany, Japan (which has the German government and justice system), Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam etc.

            Now back to Rush Limbaugh – if you want I will take some of his statements and refer them to my lawyer, who will then tell me if the appropriate German laws are applicable – I think that might be applicable:

            The German penal code (Strafgesetzbuch) establishes that someone is guilty of Volksverhetzung if the person:

            in a manner that is capable of disturbing the public peace:

            incites hatred against segments of the population or calls for violent or arbitrary measures against them; or

            assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population

            The racist remarks of Limbaugh are not funny and there have been enough cases of white cops beating up black young men or security people shooting them recently in the US to want to avoid inciting further prejudice and hatred against blacks among rednecks.

      • manuelbuencamino says:

        Indeed it is no different. Today the government TV station is fairly neutral when it is not selling airtime to home shopping networks. But recall how it was used as a forum to attack the opposition during GMA’s time. But a C-SPAN covering not only congressional hearings but also Supreme Court and Sandigan hearings would not be a bad idea.

  15. josephivo says:

    What is wrong with the shift from reliable newspapers to manipulated tabloids?

    1. Tabloids are to entertain, not to inform, even less to educate.
    Isn’t the printed press as teaching tool not surpassed by Wikipedia, blogs like this, info sharing on Facebook…?
    Is the printed press as political tool not surpassed by the use of social media?
    Don’t people know that not all on internet is real or true? Surfing to find reliable information is a new skill. Same mistrust for tabloid print.

    2. Civilization survived worse transitions:
    The introduction of the press and the end of handwriting. Handwriting could express emotions, personality. Handwriting was connected with the art of calligraphy. Gone.
    The introduction of reproductions. Everybody can listen to everything. No more musicians required, a child can make music.
    The introduction of txt and twitter, no more need to spell correctly of to form a correct sentence. So the brain gets lazy.
    The introduction of universal voting for men, even people with no idea what elections are all about can vote. Later voting for women too, the end of civilization comes near.

    You remember, when we were young, all was better.

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      Haha, in Munich airport toilets they have touchpads to evaluate customer satisfaction – a green smiley for everything OK, a yellow neutral face for well so-so, and a red frowney for bad. Maybe the PCOS machines can be dumbed down for the next presidential elections?

      Touch screen icons: dark smiling Binay, tousle-haired Mar, determined Duterte, enigmatic Poe, whoever else. Just one pindot and you have boted, bery simple! Or better not…

    • PinoyInEurope says:

      “Don’t people know that not all on internet is real or true?” In Germany, all webpages are governed by the same laws that control normal media, plus the new laws laid out in the Telemediengesetz. No anonymous webpages are possible, every webpage has to have a page stating the name, address and contact details of the responsible person, who has the same legal responsibilities as a newspaper publisher. Commercial pages have to have the EU VAT number of the business publishing them as well to ensure legality. The German penal code has been extended over the years to have similar clauses like those in Philippine cybercrime laws. Within the EU, the Internet is no longer the Wild Wild West.

      • Joe America says:

        Yet this blog is read in Germany, and violates all those standards. Thus we have the nature of the beast, still wild, if occasionally whipped by this nation or that. Or put in chains, as in China.

        • PinoyInEurope says:

          Well, no way they can catch this blog, it being registered as dotcom and therefore under American jurisdiction, and managed from the Philippines. And I doubt that they can catch up with everybody, even Germans publishing on, they have their hands full with other stuff like chasing child pornography and all the illegal download sites for music, porn and movies. Original plans by some German MPs to put a firewall around the whole German Internet are rejected. But it is rumored that the Federal News Service, a nice euphemism for the German equivalent of the CIA (they do get a lot of news from everywhere), and the Federal Language Office, a nice euphemism for their NSA (they have a lot of translators for all the languages they encounter) scan every e-mail and monitor all Internet traffic passing through central hubs like Frankfurt and Karlsruhe.

          But they too have their priorities like the war on terror, so I have to be careful when I write names like Muhaqer Iqbal, Usman and Marwan here, hey guys this is about Philippines! 🙂

          • Joe America says:

            Ah, beautiful, “Federal News Service”!!! And Federal Language Office!!!! I love the elegance of sophisticated propaganda. I long ago decided the NSA can read my stuff and I don’t care. Because they would quickly figure out how irrelevant I am. Still, I don’t write much about bombs but I did tease them about how quickly the Wiki editor knew that Marwan was likely dead. They put his death date as Jan 25, 2015 (?), with a question mark behind it. This was on the 26th. Love those Wiki editors who are keeping up with the terrorist crowd. A couple of weeks later, the question mark went away.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              It all comes from postwar West Germany trying to look as harmless as possible. The present Federal Police were called Federal Border Guard before reunification, because Allied rules did not allow it, the Gestapo still being a very fresh memory. Ok they integrated the Train Police that guard train stations into the Federal Police as well. The GSG9 (Border Guard Unit 9) is similar to SAF in purpose and did the Mogadishu hostage rescue in the 1970s. Among others a result of the catastrophic events in Munich 1972.

              And the German constitution is still called the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which is because West Germany was officially NOT a real state in the beginning, just limited self-government under allied supervision until 1955, then under observation, there is a rumor that every German chancellor had to sign a secret declaration to Allied powers to abide by certain covert rules or otherwise risk direct intervention. Neonazis spread the rumor that they have to do that until today which I do not believe, times have changed.

              UN recognition of both German states (until then they had a JOINT Olympic team, strange) in 1971 but they did not recognize each other fully to keep options open, so the Embassies between East and West were called Constant Representative Offices.

              Full sovereignty only in 1990, but funny the “2+4 treaty IN LIEU of a peace treaty” was called such to avoid reparation claims that any country can get once a REAL peace treaty is signed. Greece never got any reparations. Germany had to recognize to Polish border and promised not to station any NATO troops except its own in East Germany, in return the Russians left until 1992, Germany paying a lot to Russia to subsidize repatriation. Old Russian equipment from East Germany was shipped to help the US in Iraq and shred it.

              OK now Germany is paying a lot to keep Greece afloat, their Moodys credit rating is C-something while that of the Philippines is B-something. So karma comes after all. But then again Germany is the center of Europe, the language is a lingua franca because of so many migrants who go there. Strangest thing I heard was a Frenchman who said: the Germans are the Americans of Europe with their arrogance, their money and their cars.

              • Joe America says:

                I think France and the Philippines would make wonderful partners. I was disappointed, though, that President Hollande was given so little attention here during his visit. Not a rock star like Obama, I guess.

              • PinoyInEurope says:

                Actually very much like Noynoy – a bit “wimpy”. French presidents used to be more pompous and glamorous while Hollande seems lackluster but does his work well.

                France is after all a member of the G7 – no longer G8, Russians were thrown out, so it is a very powerful country with many possibilities – imagine an SAF trained by the French Foreign Legion, they are much better at tropical special ops than anyone including USA. And the French mentality is so more compatible with the Filipino mentality than the German mentality is with its extreme thoroughness and discipline, even though thanks to migrants like me, the place has become a little more laid back, a little bit more fun, even a little bit dirtier, definitely more tolerant than even 30 years ago, thank God…

    • Joe America says:

      The problem is the lack of information, and a sound social base, for making intelligent democratic decisions. There is nothing wrong with tabloids. There is something wrong when decisions are made in a surreal climate of mistruth and exaggeration and anger.

  16. pachpach says:

    Hi Joe. I hope you’re doing well. I have been lurking in your blog for quite some time, and maybe it’s time I join in the discussions. 🙂

    I do believe in the strengthening of a state-run press. The Philippines has been fed with lots of sensationalist news nowadays. A “competing” source of information that is readily available would somehow balance out the tendency of Filipinos to jump ship and react hastily without doing their diligent research. A balanced flow of information would eventually lead to citizens who will scrutinize first before taking any information at face value, and would set an attitude for careful thinking before expressing opinions not backed by sound truth.

    As a Filipino working abroad, I see the Philippines growing quite well. I am quite aware of the problems that plague the country, but I see a lot of positives, much of which are not seen by my friends and colleagues. I do believe that the Filipino people should learn to be more trusting of each other, be more selfless, and be more positive in their future outlook. This might not be an easy task, but a balanced state-run press might help in instilling that love for the country. What is sown today might not see growth tomorrow, but will bear fruit in generations to come.

    The keyword is: eventually. We might not see the effect today, but tomorrow’s citizens will be thankful for the extra responsibility and diligence we put into loving our country today.

    I am honored that an American cares for my home country like this through the discourses on this blog. I might not agree on some stands, but the avenue for discussion on stuff like this is priceless. Keep it up!

  17. jameboy says:

    The problem, of course, is that the poor work done by the Philippine Fourth Estate makes democracy in the Philippines both superficial and unstable.
    I don’t know about that. All I know is that democracy, by reason of liberty and freedom inherent in its being makes for the constant instability and irritation between the governed and those who wield power. And media or the Fourth Estate would be the wrong institution to look at for stability by reason of their role as part of check and balances system.

    In fairness, the media has been relentless in exposing and covering graft and corruption cases in government as well as in private and have been so far an effective partner of the government in terms of transparency policy and information dissemination of issues with national importance. By that alone, I think, it has surpassed expectation.

    In the case of ‘state-owned newspaper’, I’m still pondering as to how it can be possible and at the same time provide justification for its existence. It’s true that there are gov’t.-owned media enterprise in other countries that perform what the article has mentioned but like their private counterparts, they, too, are susceptible to the lure of corruption and politics that could affect the kind of service they provide.

    If the intention of having a state-owned newspaper is for the purpose of accuracy and balance, I think the current number of newspapers cancels each other out with regard on that issue. Exaggeration and sensationalism that media/newspaper are known for do to visit us from time to time but they tend to be corrected eventually given the fact that there is stiff competition in the field as well as the proliferation of social media that exposes such anomalies.

    If the focus is to address irresponsible journalism, the creation of state-owned newspaper is not the answer. The remedy is to revisit existing legislation concerning the issue and find how to strengthen them through amendments or introduction of new laws to address the existing situation.

    • Joe America says:

      A very good observation, jameboy. To me, the answer is even simpler. The major media owners could get together and agree that it is in their own best interest to have a stable Philippines, and the good ethical foundation upon which it can thrive. Then clean up their own acts. I wish the Inquirer would set the goal of becoming internationally recognized. And build their content and style for that aim. It would be so refreshing.

      And all this make-up stuff like state newspapers would simply not be necessary.

    • edgar lores says:


      The theme of this post is the irresponsibility of the Fourth Estate, specifically of “not fulfilling the vital role of fairly and accurately informing the public about what is happening.”

      You discount JoeAm’s solution of a state-owned broadsheet, and your solution is “to revisit existing legislation concerning the issue and find how to strengthen them through amendments or introduction of new laws to address the existing situation.”

      What would be the thrust of these amendments or new laws?

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Some examples coming from Germany, which ALSO has state broadcasting, I have written some posts on how it is organized and politically proportioned to neutralize things:

        Undemocratic only if you take America’s First Amendment as a standard. Germany is also a democracy, but a controlled one due to bad experiences with tabloids destroying the Weimar republic, look up Alfred Hugenberg for more details.

        I also wrote in another post to Joe about legal requirements for Internet pages in Germany, I would not be able to open a blog there without my real name, address and contact details. OK Internet is international so it can be circumvented.

        • edgar lores says:


          1. As far as I can tell, you have listed three measures:

          o Right to reply
          o Libel laws
          o Volksverhetzung

          2. Right to reply. The Philippines does not formally have this right, and Congress sought to include this in the FOI. Informally, the country has this in spades when not only one columnist in one broadsheet can be bought but an entire broadsheet can be bought.

          2.1. In Australia, the right does not exist as far as I know in relation to broadsheets. It only exists in relation to offences committed by a Members of Parliament. Right to reply here is irrelevant because of strong…

          3. …Libel laws. The Philippines already has libel laws, which is liberal in relation of public figures. In addition, there are applicable portions in the Cybercrime Law. (Don’t know if this has been implemented already.)

          4. Volksverhetzung is “incitement of popular hatred.” It often “applies in, though it is not limited to, trials relating to Holocaust denial in Germany.”

          4.1. In Australia the equivalent would be hate speech laws that apply primarily to racial discrimination but may also apply to discrimination by religion, disability or sexual orientation.

          4.2. There is no equivalent in the Philippines as far as I know.

          4.3. In both Germany and Australia, the laws are mainly directed at natural persons and not juridical persons(?).

          5. The defect of the Fourth Estate as described by JoeAm is: “Conflict is featured and hyped. Sensational headlines are penned with little regard as to who is harmed by inaccurate words. The well-being of the Philippines, which is what ethics are designed to protect, is ignored. Complaints and anger accordingly run deep. Incidents are not framed in balanced and information-rich articles.”

          5.1. With respect to (a) the slanting towards conflict; (b) the sensationalism with little afford to accuracy; (c) the imbalance of incidents that give rise to anger against information-rich articles; which of the three measures apply?

          5.2. Let us be specific and take the March 18 Inquirer headline: “The buck stops with President” with the sub-headline “Poe says P-Noy must own up to responsibility”. The President took full responsibility for Mamasapano in his speech on February 6, more than a full month before. Which of the three measures can one apply to curb this sort of sensationalism?

          • PinoyInEurope says:

            None of these measures can help against that, none of the headlines are illegal.

            In Germany the have the Press Council which is an organization representing nearly all newspapers which has its self-imposed Code of Conduct which is very extensive:

            Now we have once again the issue of decency. Anyone can complain to the council online. Newspapers are sanctioned by a system of public warnings but no real consequences.

          • edgar lores says:

            Re 5.2. Please don’t say that the Inquirer is simply quoting Poe.

            • PinoyInEurope says:

              Yes, but how would you go after that kind of slant with legal means?

              It is in fact correct, but not fair. Actually the CNN report showing cheering Palestinian children just after 911 was far worse, because they showed old footage as being current.

              • edgar lores says:

                This is JoeAm’s point — and his solution of a state-owned broadsheet.

                And why I question Jamesboy.

          • Joe America says:

            Social media is the correcting force for Poe. She’s taking some heat for the emotionalism of the report, mainly pertaining to the BBL. But the ideas that it was mainly a political report has not been picked up by mainstream media.

            Whatever happened to the anti-cybercrime law? Good question. Is it in the courts still? Must explore . . .

            • edgar lores says:

              Social media is a two-edged sword. One edge is emotionalism, the other rationalism. There’s GRP and there’s Raissa’s. And then there’s the Society. And within each, both edges exist.

            • Joe America says:

              “On 18 February 2014, SC upheld the constitutionality of almost all provisions of the Cybercrime law, including the provision that penalizes online libel. The high court clarified that original authors of potentially libelous posts can be sued, not those who received, reposted, or who reacted to it.

              SC also declared constitutional the criminalization of the aiding and abetting of the commission of cybercrime. Provisions which were struck down as unconstitutional were the provision that empowers DOJ to restrict or block access to websites and online profiles that are deemed violating the law; provisions on unsolicited commercial communications and real-time collection of traffic data; and the liability of a cyber criminal under other laws but only in the cases of online libel and child pornography, citing a person’s guarantee against double jeopardy. Libel is punishable by Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code, while child pornography is punishable by Republic Act 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act.

              Critics of the said law had particularly called for the scrapping of internet libel as it tramples on the basic freedom of speech. Kabataan party-list said that the entire law should have been declared unconstitutional. Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon said in a report that they wanted to start from scratch to deliberate on a new cybercrime law without the unconstitutional provisions.

              SC Spokesperson Theodore Te explained that with the high court’s decision, the TRO on the law is automatically lifted.”

          • josephivo says:

            Right to reply, libel laws, Volksverhetzung they all need a judge to decide. With a weak judicial system these laws are meaningless. The press or media do not live on an island.

    • pachpach says:

      “If the focus is to address irresponsible journalism, the creation of state-owned newspaper is not the answer.”
      Ethics in journalism should have been taught well during college, so the task of upholding such ethics rests upon the owners of media establishments. As such, we see lots of them disregarding that code of conduct. Strengthening the state-run press would give “more options on the table”, and would help in slowly skewing opinion toward a more rational mindset.

      “In fairness, the media has been relentless in exposing and covering graft and corruption cases in government as well as in private and have been so far an effective partner of the government in terms of transparency policy and information dissemination of issues with national importance.”
      Unfortunately, there are instances where media establishments work for the interests of their controlling families, and headlines can be altered to become misleading to stir public opinion. This is not to discount the media’s role in balancing the excesses of the government, but I think the media has portrayed the government as too much of a villain.

      I cannot cite specific instances, but here is a very old PCIJ article (16 years ago), which has some entries still holding true (for what it’s worth, the Inquirer has already overtaken the Manila Bulletin by leaps and bounds): The families indicated there are still in control over much of the press.

      The state-run press can potentially be just be a trumpet of government accomplishments, but let it be a trumpet then. As long as the existing media is not suppressed, there will be a check and balance of information flow that will eventually occur. Many providers of information will then present a bigger picture of what’s really happening.

      As my previous comment tells, the keyword should be: eventually. Effective change that carries on for long starts gradually. 🙂

      • jameboy says:

        I think the media has portrayed the government as too much of a villain.

        The state-run press can potentially be just be a trumpet of government accomplishments, but let it be a trumpet then. As long as the existing media is not suppressed, there will be a check and balance of information flow that will eventually occur. Many providers of information will then present a bigger picture of what’s really happening.
        The government as villain is a given. How it is presented as one is another thing because government or every one, for that matter, has the recourse under the law to take steps to correct media violation.

        In terms of trumpet, I think the government has that instrument already in the Phil. Broadcasting Service (PBS) and People’s Television Network (PTV). With regard to press, there are papers that may not be entirely pro-government but they are not anti either. A number of them are in fact sympathetic with gov’t. that creating another newspaper just to perform the same task might not be an enticing idea.

        Finally, it would be best to identify first what really is the problem or degree of such that necessitates the introduction of an idea of having a state-owned newspaper. I remember the media coverage of Mamasapano mentioned as one reason. Again, I’m not sure if the incident can be used as reason for having a state-owned press. It has to be something that is regular in occurrence and a clear violation of law or ethics. Also, we have to make a determination if it’s really the gov’t. we are trying to protect by having a state-controlled newspaper or the individual who exercise government power.

        • pachpach says:

          “The government as villain is a given. How it is presented as one is another thing because government or every one, for that matter, has the recourse under the law to take steps to correct media violation.”
          I would like to believe that the government is not that villainous as it is. But I respect your perspective on this. 🙂

          “A number of them are in fact sympathetic with gov’t. that creating another newspaper just to perform the same task might not be an enticing idea.”
          This goes in line with families who control the press. Trying to ensure that their business interests survive the ruling administration, they go full-on trumpeting the government.

          “Finally, it would be best to identify first what really is the problem or degree of such that necessitates the introduction of an idea of having a state-owned newspaper.”
          I think it was because of a lot of sensationalism that occupies much of Philippine media nowadays. The matter is, much of the news sources you can readily obtain today are sensationalized. For the naive reader, sensationalism diminishes the need for further digging in to issues. There are even cases of headlines being skewed in order to portray a message slightly different (or altogether misleading) from the article body.

          For this issue, can we apply the 5 Why’s/Ishikawa diagram here? Or it is not as simple as that? 🙂

    • jameboy says:

      edgar l.

      The gist of Joe’s article is the failure of media to perform its mandate regarding distribution or dissemination of information in a fair and balance form. Irresponsible journalism takes the place of timeliness and accuracy, hence, a state-owned newspaper will straighten things out. That’s the premise.

      I did not really discount it for I don’t have the answer to the problem. I merely offer another idea showing why its possibility is less attractive compared to another alternative.

      On possible legislative thrust regarding my opinion, there are several issues which for years now have pestered everyone concerned like the ‘right of reply’, the freedom of information act, among others that may need to be reviewed or revisited for possible of the shstem of information and communication exchanges.

      By legislation, a mechanism providing for correction, protection, or recourse on people who are mistakenly drag in scandals may be establish. An act of irresponsibility on the part of media that may not be covered under existing law maybe a focus of new legislation. There could also be amendments on existing provisions of the law that may need strengthening by putting more teeth to it in terms of enforcement. Added to that is the possibility of increasing the degree of penalty for violating the law.

      Again, it will not be a walk in the park tasks but I see it as more or less doable with less complication than creating another layer in the bureaucracy with too much baggages too overcome and may further overburden the already cash-strapped government.

  18. karl garcia says:

    A state newspaper would be good more competition, more jobs for jobless journalism graduates.
    If they play their cards right and separate facts from editorials in a why that still attract readership, then why not?

    If the focus is to address irresponsible journalism, the creation of state-owned newspaper is not the answer”
    Irresponsible journalism won’t go away that fast….but people may hear not the LOUDEST, but they won’t listen long, a good state run paper may want them too listen longer.
    Concerning budgets

    Senators like Ralph Recto will say that this money should instead be used for this and that….like he is questioning the government wifi project as if it is a bad thing.
    Budgets for this would not be in the hundred billions, I am sure, it can have a share.

    I was thinking that one day no publisher would waste money on paper, but this article gave a few reasons why print is not dead.

    lastly who says facebook will go by the way of in extinct.

    • Joe America says:

      Facebook is a great marketing tool for blog writers. For sure.

      I need to do a blog about Recto. He seems mainly to be a pack of smiling nonsense with a radio announcer’s voice, but occasionally, he hits the nail on the head, as he did when noting that artillery had been requested FOUR (FIVE?) times during the day at Mamasapano. He just never got to the sharp conclusion that the AFP excuse-making was incredulous.

      • karl garcia says:

        He does hit the nail on the head.Recto has the pensioners on his advocacy list which is good.
        He has questions again on funding of BangsaMoro.
        Maybe that is his role to question funding proposals.
        Was he NEDA chief once? It was Recto who said that soon we will be paying more for retired police and military than active personnel.

  19. i7sharp says:


    Re your
    – four examples, one of which might be grounds for a case under the German Volksverhetzung law

    Which one of the four do you mean?


  20. In fairness, this opinion from Inquirer columnist John Nery is quite sensible analysis.

    • Joe America says:

      Very interesting. Political, not from the standpoint I saw it, as a “get Aquino” document, but of not considering the residents of Mindanao as citizens and presenting the SAF as angels and innocent victims. Battlefield trauma, after all, is not the kind you see on television, where the actors get up and trundle down to the Aristocrat for lunch. Poe is green, green, green. Naive. Thanks for the good read, Mary.

      • PinoyInEurope says:

        Not really naive – I wrote somewhere above that who Filipinos see as kapwa, fellow human beings, differs a lot. Usually it is ONLY one’s own in-group, iba, other people do not REALLY count. It is something that works in a reflexive manner. There exists a lot of Makati people who don’t care about the masa at all, there is Grace Poe’s crowd which is instinctively indifferent to the “Makati people” Aquino is seen as a servant of, and to the Moros, and with a lot of compassion for “our boys” that “they” all just killed.

        Also I find the argument “they were shooting back, therefore they were not victims” from the Inquirer article a bit strange as well. Should they have just let themselves be killed?

  21. Steve says:

    Can you imagine what a State-owned media outlet could become in the hands of, say, a President Estrada, or a President Binay?

    How could one possibly guarantee quality, or independence, or prevent such a unit from being used purely as a propaganda device?

    • jameboy says:


      Under an Erap-like or Binay-like administration, you could just imagine the extent of corruption by utilizing a controlled-press for propaganda purposes.

    • Joe America says:

      Through laws and an independent management board.

      • Vicara says:

        Googled PTV and got this: “On March 2013, President Benigno Aquino III signed Republic Act 10390, superseding the old Charter, in which the government will infuse P5 billion to PTV to revitalize the station and make it ‘digital[ly] competitive’ in spite of GMA Network’s questioning of the law, fearing that it may enter competition.”

        PTV is fuddy-duddy to the point of invisibility–it took a while before anyone in this thread even remembered its existence. But what if it were to get the said infusion of funds, and transformed into the state media agency you propose, serving as “a packager that wraps the news in intelligence?”

        I’m an old-fashioned gal devoted to the classic printed broadsheet, just as you are, but like it or not, TV is the prime medium, overwhelmingly so. The state news agency you propose would have to be a multi-media packager–similar to the Huffington Post (with the complex “print” narrative/commentary serving as the takeoff point, appearing in a one-off print edition and housed indefinitely online (blog,FB, Twitter, etc). but also presenting/packaging that narrative/commentary for TV. (Which the privately-owned Huffington Post does not have.)

        The agency would be a state-owned and -funded enterprise–but managed by an independent board of reputable media organizations such as the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Done right, a half-hour could deliver a lot of intelligent information–and re-wire people’s mindset.

        And as the flagship news agency, it could have the following strategic advantage which the Huffington Post could never have: A half-hour TV news show during primetime (evening, and at lunchtime, cutting into variety show idiocy) that would be broadcast simultaneously across ALL channels, public or private. People will scream, and some will turn off their TVs, but so pervasive is the Filipino compulsion to have the TV on, others will watch, listen, and learn. Some may even learn to read again.

        Yes, it will cut into the profit margins of the private networks; but this would be on a level playing field. Suitable tax cuts would lessen some of the resulting invective from network owners.

        Most of those who’ve commented publicly on this post are not journalists; I’m not one myself, but I can say that there are some very, very good analysts among print journalists in Mindanao, and among the different subregions. And they are just as frustrated as you by the misinformation and sensationalism that passes for news–but what these journalist write, if it gets published at all, must pass through a gauntlet of filters that blur/ distort/ omit/ condense: regional editors, desk editors, and managing editors with political/owner agendas. There is also the cost of paper and delivery.

        A state-owned news agency is justifiable only to the extent that it creates a free SPACE for intelligent, disciplined presentation and discussion of current events for a mass audience. Possibly the Philippine government could provide this space–but only if it relies on responsible, external media organizations and analyst to provide content and structure, and to moderate conflicting views.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that is roughly my logic to it, as well. I see often with dismay how cheaply state stations are run, focusing on boring public service content rather than popular news, where as I think it ought to be both. Popular, to build a big audience, and informational, to spread information to a bigger audience than the “public service” oriented station would. Being popular is as important as the content. And I agree, the talent exists to carry it off. And presumably the budget. Who knows, done well, it might return money to the state coffers.

  22. edgar lores says:

    1. Jameboy Post 1: “…And media or the Fourth Estate would be the wrong institution to look at for stability by reason of their role as part of check and balances system.”

    1.1. Jameboy Post 1: “If the focus is to address irresponsible journalism, the creation of state-owned newspaper is not the answer.”

    1.2. Jameboy Post 1: “The remedy is to revisit existing legislation concerning the issue and find how to strengthen them through amendments or introduction of new laws to address the existing situation.”

    1.3. Jameboy Post 2: “I did not really discount it for I don’t have the answer to the problem.”

    1.4. My comment: Discount means to “regard (a possibility or fact) as being unworthy of consideration because it lacks credibility.” It is clear that items 1 and 1.1 contradict the claim of “I did not really discount…” in item 1.3.

    1.5. It is further clear that item 1.2 contradicts the claim of “…I don’t have the answer to the problem” in item 1.3.

    2. Jameboy Post 1: “The remedy is to revisit existing legislation concerning the issue and find how to strengthen them through amendments or introduction of new laws to address the existing situation.”

    2.1. Jameboy Post 2: “there are several issues which for years now have pestered everyone concerned like the ‘right of reply’, the freedom of information act, among others that may need to be reviewed or revisited for possible of the shstem of information and communication exchanges.”

    2.2. My comment: As I stated in reply to PinoyInEurope, the right of reply will not cure the defects of the Fourth Estate: “Informally, the country has this in spades when not only one columnist in one broadsheet can be bought but an entire broadsheet can be bought.”

    2.2.1. Strictly speaking, the right of reply applies to one venue. Formalizing the right of reply into law is seen as a curtailment of press freedom; the US does not have it. I would agree to it being recognized as a self-imposed duty of media.

    2.3. In addition, PinoyInEurope’s admission: “None of these measures can help against that, none of the headlines are illegal.”

    2.4. Moreover, Joseph’s comment: “Right to reply, libel laws, Volksverhetzung they all need a judge to decide. With a weak judicial system these laws are meaningless.”


    3. Jameboy Post 2: “By legislation, a mechanism providing for correction, protection, or recourse on people who are mistakenly drag in scandals may be establish.”

    3.1. My comments: This is the first concrete suggestion to my question of “What would be the thrust of these amendments and new laws?” (I do not consider right of reply as a concrete suggestion inasmuch as it was previously suggested by PinoyInEurope.) If I am not mistaken, this suggestion falls under (a) right of reply or (b) of libel laws.

    3.1.1. As noted, we informally have the right of reply. In practice, media tend to air both sides of a controversy. If one follows the Mamasaapano coverage and the Binay cases (pere et fils), one will find that this is so. Also in practice, broadsheets already issue apologies or corrections if they have been caught out reporting inaccurately. As detailed under item 2, there are issues with right of reply.

    3.1.2. As to a libel law, we already have it. This is not a new law. Specifically, then, what amendment is necessary to the libel law that will help cure the defects of the Fourth Estate?


    4. Jameboy Post 2: “An act of irresponsibility on the part of media that may not be covered under existing law maybe a focus of new legislation. There could also be amendments on existing provisions of the law that may need strengthening by putting more teeth to it in terms of enforcement. Added to that is the possibility of increasing the degree of penalty for violating the law.”

    4.1. My comment: This is not a specific suggestion. It is simply a repetition and expansion of item 1.2.


    Thank you, Jameboy.

    • jameboy says:

      You see, Joe’s piece focused on two layers of observation. Media’s role and what’s to be done to help the government. He talked about “fair, balance and accurate information” and also touched on the welfare of the nation vis-a-vis media output that affects it. On hand hand, it speaks of media not doing its role “of fairly and accurately informing the public” and at the same time chiding it for not really serving the “well-being of the country” and protecting it, thus making things for it “superficial and unstable”. Hence, he proposes the idea of a state-owned newspaper.

      The issue you introduced in the discussion was your assumption on this line, and I quote, “You discount JoeAm’s solution…..”

      If you will read back my comments, I addressed both of Joe’s concerns in a general fashion and put more dent on media matters that i think could be remedied by legislation. I barely talk of ‘well-being and stability of the nation’ part because I deemed the legislation more or less doable than what was proposed.

      If I want to discount anything, I think I can do and say it with clarity and precision to avoid confusion. But there is nothing to discount in the article that is why I peppered my comments with lines such as,

      “I don’t know about that.”
      “I’m still pondering…..”
      “…..I don’t have the answer to the problem.”

      Again, like I said, I just offered another view to share in the discussion. If it’s unacceptable to you, I welcome your opposite view if there is any. 🙂

  23. Bing Garcia says:

    Hi Joe. Will it not be better if the latest comments are on top, just like Raissa’s site?

    • Joe America says:

      I have to think about that. On one hand, one can get to the latest questions quickly, on the other hand, there might not be as many reads for the people who commented early on. For sure, the large volume of comments is perplexing. I have explored the numbering of comments, but can’t do it with the basic Word Press site I operate, and would have to get into a self-managed site. Not my cup of tea.

      • jameboy says:

        While we’re at it, I hope it is not too much to suggest the following.

        1. Provide a spot on the face of the board where you can see who the last (10 or 20) person put up a post.

        2. A short line of their comments, like 5 to 10 words, are shown for everybody to see and be guided as updates of new posts.

        3. On the “CATEGORIES” column, I suggest to have an indicator if there are new posts for members’ notice. Let me show how it should look like.


        Blogging/Journalism (3)
        Crime/Corruption (4)
        Culture and Arts
        Ecology/Global Warming (1)
        Entertainment (5)

        Those in parenthesis () shows the number of posts added on a particular category. The (5) on ‘Entertainment’ category means there are 5 new posts put up in it, etc.


  24. i7sharp says:

    @Juana Pilipinas, @Joe Am
    These [Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin] are snake oil salesmen, knowing their product is packed with distortions, but selling it anyway, for personal gain. Interesting on Malkin.

    For more context, see:


    Let us take these … one at a time.

    1. Limbaugh
    First, you might want to help Joe provide proofs that (as Joe claims) Limbaugh distorts truths.

    So far (unless I have missed something) the best example Joe has come up with was of an “outrageous remark” on an Eric Massa – viz., reference #72 here:
    btw, source for #72 is – a “neutral” source in Joe’s eyes

    Joe cannot seem to name anyone he prefers in place of Limbaugh.
    Can YOU name whom you would rather have in place of Limbaugh, Coulter, and Malkin?

    Let us stop at Limbaugh for now.

    btw, I shudder to think you and Joe could be calling shots at the state-owned news outfit.


    • Joe America says:

      No need to worry. You wouldn’t be in our target audience. We would be aiming at the large middle political ground, not the extremes.

      My primary source of knowledge pertaining to Linbaugh is my own ears.

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