On Media, Awareness, and All that Jazz

Philippines: On January 22, 2014, actor-comedian, Vhong Navarro, assaulted and blackmailed by businessman, Cedric Lee, due to accusations of raping Deniece Cornejo, model/actress.

Photos of Vhong’s unrecognizable face due to bruises and swelling spread across the internet as well as circulation of interviews of Lee and Cornejo rebutting the actor’s statement.

The incident happened exactly a week ago, and until now, Philippine media has made this issue a daily top story, making Filipino fans (and haters) relentlessly express their concerns on social media and blogs alike.

What has the media gotten into?

The Philippines is facing far more relevant and serious issues. The pork barrel scam is not yet over, peace talks with MILF was successful, Yolanda victims and survivors still haven’t gotten ample aid to start over, and a lot more. But still, the media instead chose to make a big deal out of a dancer turned actor turned comedian who is in fact well-known for being a womanizer. Move on already. Let them deal with their cases themselves and delve on it again when it’s already in court if the media wants it that way.

Yesterday, I made a new Filipina friend here and we talked about current issues in the Philippines. One thing she told me (that was seriously in my head too for quite some time now) was along the lines of Philippine media getting so used to publicizing negative and depressing news. It then results to almost all the population having a mind frame of negativity and depression. It is no wonder Philippines is having a hard time rising to the top. Add to that the network rivalry rebutting every detail of their news.

Think about it.

Psychology is also applicable to this. Raising higher awareness is the least our media can do. Exaggerated drama telenovelas every damn night? How do we expect to have an optimistic nation that thinks objectively? Local television, instead of educating the people, only aggravates the psyche of each and every one, creating “monsters” of thinkers. How do these people vote for instance? By popularity, by charm, by whatever other shallow reasons. Feeding the masses with cynicism, BS news, and all that jazz does not help at all. We are only proving to the whole world that we truly are fools, when in reality we’re not. Filipinos are smart, talented, and skillful. I believe so. I see so.

However, what we lack now is values. Given it is a Catholic country, at our very core we know the values which most just can’t seem to apply to their daily lives. All the pettifogging details of Vhong and other banal stories then became a hobby of Pinoys. I am not surprised why gossip is so rampant in the Philippines… The clash of networks should just take their issues behind cam. It’s so improper to keep on narrating unintelligent news. So. Plaguing.

And a lot of people say this is a hopeless case. It isn’t.

If the media only chooses to be proactive, report authentic and honest stories, let go of their biases just because in one network the sister of the president has a contract or that the other network is pro-somebody else, stop accepting bribes and all, then we will have a more striving country. Media is a very powerful tool, use it wisely; Being part of it is a huge responsibility, and when used inappropriately, everybody gets affected.

This. Has. Got. To. End.

Deniece could be a rape victim. Vhong is a womanizer and may have raped that model. Cedric has criminal records. WE GET IT. Let it go. Focus on what’s more important, on things that will help the country rise again that will eventually inspire people.

Let’s get back to focusing on things that really matter shall we?

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