Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bribing media during elections

Here in the Philippines, it is election season.
This is a financially promising time for some (or many?) journalists.
This is the sad reality of life.
As I pondered upon this election season, I recall a few years back when I was very active as a journalist back home.
It was election time also and as a news reporter, I covered a political gathering of local candidates.
After a while I was about to leave the affair, the top local candidate (I won't even mention what local elective position he was running for) went to me and handed to me a cheap, lousy, political T-shirt and something else ---yes, cash, of course (to add to the T-shirt).
Those shirts are good for one or two wears, after which the paint gradually rips itself off.
It wasn't really a tough situation for me because I was not acceding to the offer.
But what made the situation tough was on HOW to reject the offer.
You see, it also requires tact to reject a bribe.
You do not appear popish, visibly self-righteous, and embarass the "honorable" briber in front of other people.
The better way I think is to discreetly, but decently reject a discreetly indecent proposal.
By the way, I noticed that the other candidates were secretly keeping an eye on me, and trying to see whether I was a bribe receiver. (If they saw me receiving bribe, I think the other candidates would have folowed suit and bribed me also).
The candidate tried to insist the cash to my hand, to no avail.
In the end I was able to successfully ward off the cash, but I 'appeased' him by just getting the T-shirt.
The obvious reason why candidates, during election time, bribe media people is because they want favorable coverage in news reports.
That is bad on media's part because a bribed reporter will not be able to report the news objectively and dispassionately.
Later, let me blog about how media management deals with this bribery affair with their reporters.

No comments: