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THE ROLE OF MEDIA IN GOVERNANCE, EDUCATION AND TOURISM

Speech by Art Tibaldo

University of the Cordilleras, Dec. 7 2006

Communications play a vital part in modern life.

Communications technology has been largely responsible for shrinking the world, carrying news, information and entertainment all over the globe and bringing live events from the other side of the earth and even from other planets directly into our homes. In fact, I wouldn’t be here standing in front of you if not for the texting technology.

 

Since the time of the early scribes and medieval town criers, media has played an important role in chronicling events and informing the people on matters relevant to the times.

 

While many question the role of media as provider of doomsday stories and sometimes unproven conjectures, many praise them for their worthy news and information that they provide to guide and help people in their day-to-day living.

 

Let me now dwell on the specific topic given me which is the role of media in government, education and business.

 

Governance

In order for a nation to be considered stable and politically mature, it must project a good image to the whole world and this general perception should be untainted with negative publicity.

 

Remember what your computer teachers told you about what you see is what you get or WYSIWYG?

 

Television networks provide syndicated news and information reported by trained men and women fielded throughout the world. The debate of Kennedy and Nixon in the late sixties, the launching of a space shuttle in Cape Cannaveral, the death and burial of Princess Diana, the Gulf War, the terrorist’s attack on the twin towers and the unbelievable tragedies and its grizzly toll on human lives caused by disasters like the recent tsunami…were all brought to the living rooms via broadcast satellite.

 

I remember that in 1986 prior to the EDSA revolution, Marcos’ media bureau and Television were so spurred by a foreign television news correspondent named Jim Lurie who provided factual events happening before the revolution broke.

 

In a democratized society like ours, we cannot curtail media and stop journalists from sending news coverage to global networks.

Remember the Curatong Baleleng massacre, the Abu Sayyaf abduction of foreign missionaries and the counter terrorism operation in Basilan? Newspapers and television companies vied with each other in displaying images of the victims and casualties.

 

As media play a vital role in shaping people’s mind and drawing public opinion, media can also make and unmake a country’s image and aspiration.

 

In such a time where there are embedded journalists covering a war wearing bullet proof vests and paparazzis getting snapshots celebrities in their scuba diving gears, we can only imagine what media can do

 

What’s happening in the Philippines is being shown in the global window and it is not good for business if a country is unstable.

 

The bureaucrats are saying that in order to jumpstart our economy, we should continuously attract foreign investors and keep tourists coming in. But how can we effectively do that if the news being shown by CNN, BBC and Fox News are not good for our country at all.

 

As Fox News puts it in their tag line..we present you decide, the global community therefore are left with their own opinion that maybe adverse to ours.

 

On the media’s role on education:

As a government information officer, we practice what we refer to as developmental communication or DEVCOMM. We do not engage in day to day news gathering and we do not sensationalize an issue or glorify personalities. As public officers, our mandate is to make information work for the people. And if we need to praise somebody, it should be them who comprise the Filipino nation.

 

Should you want to engage in mass media, you can start by using mass media as a tool to solve the most pressing problems in your respective communities. Problems like garbage disposal and water shortage are very real threats to the survival of those of us who live in urban centers.

 

If we cannot properly inform and educate the public about the most basic issues in the place where we live and work, how can we even start to address the issues in the countryside? If we cannot help the policy makers in helping the problems which threaten our way of life, how can we lead them in solving the problems we are not familiar with?

 

We are living in the future. What is happening today was written about some fifteen or fifty years ago. We have to access technology to be able to be at par with our fellow citizens of the global village.

 

You are the face of the Pilipino people as we in DTI are supposed to be the face of business in the country. The ball game now is how fast we can leap frog from our stunted growth as a third world country.

 

Today, the challenge is as complex as never before. In this age of globalization, rapid communication, overwhelming stimulus from media and advanced technology, we look more to the youth for solutions to our 21st century dilemmas.

 

In my midlife, I cannot pretend to understand the present more than you do. You have to understand your generation.