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BC 100 - PHTV@60

submitted in BC 100 class in UP Diliman
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  AQUINO, Regina Coeli T. BC 100 WRU 2012-20247 Prof. Perlita Manalili Public Affairs Show in the 60 Years of Philippine Television (Reaction Paper) Last November 27, the Broadcast Communication Department of the College of Mass Communication celebrated the 60 th  year of Philippine television. It began with a short program and the unveiling of an exhibit depicting the history of Philippine TV. Afterwards, popular and educational Pinoy TV shows were played the whole day in the CMC auditorium. The first TV show they played was the finale of the investigative news magazine show The Probe Team . In the said episode,  Probe ’s creators Che -che Lazaro, Maria Ressa, and Luchi Cruz-Valdez shared the beginnings and development of their show. They shared how  Probe , a largely ignored show when it piloted, won many awards and transformed public affairs show in the country. The whole  Probe  series was evidently a relevant show during its time. The “minimum - maximum rule” they employed, where they showed more  pictures and videos and did less talk, was an effective way to prove the points they are trying to get across. Their adaptation of the Western close-up shots and eyes-focused shots was also effective in appealing to the viewers’ emotions, especially when the show is tackling poverty. The team’s conscious effort to focus on the integrity of the program rather than the ratings also ensured that the show genuinely serves the publ ic’s interest. That allowed  Probe  to assert their press freedom especially during the time when the country is recovering from an authoritarian regime and democracy was supposedly  restored.  Probe  bravely exposed corruption inside the government and outside of it, even if it had to face libel cases filed by those who want to subvert the truth.  Probe  failed in two things, though. First is that it broadcasted in English for a longer  period of time during its airing. They shifted to Filipino only after airing for ten years in 1997. That could have been a crucial reason why it did not have a good following on its beginning years. Second, it was placed in a bad time slot.  Probe  was always a late night public affairs show since it was on ABS-CBN even until it transferred to GMA. This fact may have been another reason why it was not very popular when it piloted. Both the  Probe team and whatever network airs it should contribute to the improvement of the show. The  Probe  team must continue to broadcast in Filipino, so that it could convey its message across the majority of Filipinos. That would result to a wider, more inclusive, and more democratic political actions spearheaded by the public itself. The network that airs  Probe  must also give it to an earlier timeslot so that more people could watch it. It could be given an afternoon slot on a weekend, just like the currently airing  Failon Ngayon  which airs on Saturdays at 4:45 p.m. It could also be right after the weekend evening news. The second show they played was  Newsmakers , a documentary by GMA News and Public Affairs that aired in 2008. Presented by Mike Enriquez, Jessica Soho, Arnold Clavio, Vicky Morales, and Mel Tiangco, it detailed how the administrations of four former Philippine  presidents  –   Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos, and Joseph Estrada  –   and then incumbent president Gloria Arroyo were seen by the public through the media. For me,  Newsmakers  is anothe r evidence of GMA News and Public Affairs’ genius. The  presentation of the documentary was objective, in the sense that they allowed the presidents to express their sides for every allegation or public opinion about them. Therefore, the journalists  did not impose their personal opinions to the viewing public; instead, they allowed them to have their own opinion and perception of the Philippine presidents. The show’s honesty about the media’s relationships with these former leaders was also admirable. They o  penly stated that Aquino, Ramos, and Estrada were “darlings of the press,” since they were approachable and open for interviews. However, its relationships with Marcos and Arroyo were not that good, since the former suppressed the media and the latter was not very approachable. One negative point though is sometimes, the journalists tend to be apologists. When asking about sensitive topics, they tend to start with, “I’m sorry if I have to ask this …” which turns me off. As a journalism student, I was taught not to be apologist when conducting interview. Should I need to ask a sensitive question, I must warn them  –   not be sorry  –    that I’ll be doing so. If it is something that the public has a right to know, then there is clearly no reason to be apologist. I think this is where GMA can improve. But generally, the network must continue airing meaningful documentaries on Philippine politics and society. Public affairs show has always been a powerful mainstay on Philippine television. It has  built and broken administrations. It has mobilized the people to act for social change. Given televisions broad reach, it is important that shows like  Probe  and  Newsmakers  side with those who matter most in a democratic country  –   the public.

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