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MANILA, Philippines - Rappler’s editor at large Marites Vitug talks about corruption in the media.
Here’s her video blog.
In the past, it was taboo to talk about corruption in our ranks. It was a secret that was kept because media organizations were supposed to be untouchable.
Thankfully, this has changed. Recently, 4 columnists who wrote identical columns opposing the sin tax were exposed. They appeared to be copying from a common source, quotes and all.
When a member of this “quartet” was asked why this happened, one of them said they play golf regularly and share materials.
A former PR staff of a conglomerate told me that he used to write column feeds. These are inputs given to columnists who accept payments.
In return, they support government policies that will benefit it, using material prepared by the PR staff.
These feeds are also used to demolish enemies of the corporation, for example, those who advocate legislation inimical to its interest.
Corruption is a never-ending problem in the media. These take many forms, including accepting bribes, doing PR work, and soliciting favors.
Steps have been taken to stop this toxic disease. Corrupt journalists have been fired. Codes of conducts have been strictly implemented.
But not all media organizations are cleaning up.
To fight corruption, we should be accountable just as we demand accountability from the people we cover.
This is long overdue.