Which side is the media really on in the war against crime?
This is a question I find myself asking more and more as I see the increasingly one-sided news coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s crusade against criminality.
While there have been token reports of the unprecedented mass surrender of drug dependents, in most cases, the media have chosen to highlight the deaths of drug pushers who fought it out with policemen, or those who are allegedly being killed by ‘death squads.’
If you read or watch the news carefully, you will also be able to detect a deliberate effort by these media companies to influence people’s opinion by presenting their news stories in a particular way. It may be in the tone of voice of the presenter, the sequence of news stories shown, or the intentional omission of some information that will leave doubt in the minds of the audience.
Broadcast companies like the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN have even taken to posting daily tallies of what they call the death toll of the war on drugs. It even has an interactive map, tables, and charts showing data on whether the individuals “were killed during police operations, whether they were gunned down by unidentified assailants, or whether they were victims of ‘salvaging.'”
Ironically, while they trumpet each and every death of a suspected drug pusher, they are silent on the true victims of the drug war — those who are robbed, raped, and murdered by these criminals and addicts.
Where is the list of young girls kidnapped, abused, and killed? Of the families massacred in their sleep? Of the workers robbed at knifepoint as they commute from home? Of teachers being shot in the head for heroically trying to stop a crime?
Where is the interactive map on the lives that have been destroyed by the drug menace? Where are the data on how much money changes hands everyday in the drug trade? Where is the table of drug-related crimes all over the country?
If ABS-CBN or any other media company wants to talk about death tolls, this is what balances the ledger. This is what Duterte’s war against crime is all about. It is about protecting the true innocents. It is about protecting the Filipino people from the criminals.
People are tired of hearing about the rights of criminals. It is about time someone stood up for the victim.
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