Game shows over news

Posted on October 28, 2010


The sad truth in the Philippines, as Maria Ressa points out tonight on ‘Storyline,’ is that “Pinoys will not say, ‘I want to be empowered.’ They will say, ‘Kayo na po ang bahala.'” The statement of the outgoing news chief of ABS-CBN proves true even in the viewing habits of many Filipinos.

I long for the day when Filipinos will cease to treat television as a source of band-aids to poverty. I am especially concerned about the prevailing attitude of choosing game shows over news any time of the day. Why? Because game show hosts give money and news anchors don’t?

My hope is for people to see that help does not only come in the form of doleouts, but more so in the form of empowerment.  I hope that people will watch the news not only because it looks glitzy or gory, but because we give them information, as Kovach and Rosenstiel say, to help them “be free and self-governing.” And that will make all the difference, because then, more people will know their rights and fight for them, demand accountability from the level of the barangay up, and most importantly, perform their part of the job.

But then again, TV viewing is a two-way street between viewers, on one hand, and producers and station owners on the other. Changes in attitude should come from both sides.

That is another story. Now that’s the Wide Shot.