Journalists allowed to bear arms

Adrian Cristobal with a bazooka? I don’t think so. Journalists are armed with pens and papers and for the more fortunate ones, laptops or desktops. Provincial journalists hardly make ends meet and buying a gun would be the last thing on their mind. The “permission” being extended by government to journalists to simply bear arms in order to stay alive is but a euphemism for these dreaded, unspoken words : “You are on your own.” Is our government really that helpless? Certainly not. A clampdown on the proliferation of loose guns and firearms may be in order. There is no doubt that illegal shipments and bartering of guns remain a profitable enterprise. We also need more police visibility particularly in known hotspots of violence. And yes, the bigger press associations can work with the PIA in spreading the word about balanced reporting and journalism ethics among new members of the provincial press. I remember how my late father, himself a newsman, tolerated to the hilt the personal attacks aired on radio by a commentator of ill repute. Everyday, this man would slander my father in the vilest way. My father decided to ignore him, even if the man grew older and more vicious as years passed. Yet try as he could, the commentator could not harm my father in the most personal way that he wanted to, simply because my father chose not to play the radio man’s crooked game. The obliteration of journalists through guns and bullets is an indictment of our society because it reveals a low threshold for criticisms of the painful kind. The recommendation for journalists to bear arms, coming as it does from the government, is like waving a white flag at the assassins in our midst. No one is saying that the government is behind all these murders. We are simply saying that the government must exert more effort to keep lawlessness at bay while delivering justice to the victims’ families.

Author: Susan Ople

Susan "Toots" Ople is the President of the Blas F. Ople Policy and Training Institute. She's an OFW and labor advocate based in the Philippines.

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