Friday, June 20, 2008

DRAW THE LINE: "No Story Is Worth Dying For"

"I always go after the story sometimes not thinking my love ones, my mom, my kids and this time I guess you know, kailangan maisip ko din na may mga nagmamahal sa akin na nasasaktan sila. It was so unthinking and irresponsible in that way to my children, my mother , my sisters and brothers who I put them in an ordeal like that."

This was the emotional words of ABS CBN Ces Drilon-Orena hours after she was emancipated from a nine day breath-taking encarceration from the notorious Abu Sayyaf. Ces, a veteran broadcast journalist who has been at the focal point of many and unfolding news stories, frequently under extreme circumstances found herself in the unpopular position of being in the news herself while they were on the way to interview a top commander of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.


Ces is the third local journalist abducted by the ASG, the first being another ABS-CBN staff who were paid up for a few millions during the Sipadan crunch and Inquirer reporter Arlyn dela Cruz. Vice President Noli de Castro and his team of media people were almost seized captives by the ASG when they called on the campsite when he was still a broadcaster. In this day of tight TV network competition between ABS-CBN and GMA7, media personalities seemed to come hell and water for stories . Despite the fact that the country has the disgraceful reputation of having the fifth-highest number of journalists killed and high incidence of kidnapping, media take these risks as part of their job and responsibility for these networks and consequences have to be accepted even if unpleasant. With the "NO RANSOM POLICY" of both government and TV stations , media men going to bandit territory found themselves bearding the lions in their own den. Sad part is, journalists today give much attention to these outlaws by making interviews, news, and documentaries in pursuit of shining the light of exposure in broadcasting. These seemed to justify and spotlight the banditry of these terrorists instead of a help to wipe them out and put an end to all their ill doings. Media men without adequate training on international war correspondence are sent to Sulu and Basilan as baptism of fire. When was Press freedom has gone so free, irresponsible and careless like this?

Media should get off and pay no attention to this terrorists because all they do is terrify and create panic to the public , and thats not what the people want. It's their destruction and total eradication that interests us most. We easily fail to recall-or do not reflect about until tragedy and misfortune wallops. Even the dog in the streets know how dangerous and treacherous to confront these people. Media should draw the line and set boundaries for themselves with regards to covering of stories. Entering the den of these radicals are just like crossing the Rubicon or facing your own demon.

Ces Drilon said: " I though I was so reckless I did not think of my family, that I put them in a really terrible ordeal in the past, then it made me realized the value of life, my family, and my colleagues." Another abject lesson for journalists not dare a challenge that the result will not be worth the effort put in to achieve it. Ces admittedly disregarded some cautions and put the lives of her team in danger because of her stubbornness. We should not throw warnings to the air and sacrifice ourselves , our love ones and others in a blind pursuit of self-fulfillment through career success. As one journalist said: " No story is worth dying for."

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