Perception of Philippine Politics Based on News Program

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Perception of Philippine Politics Based on News Program

Submitted by:
Alba, Emmanuel Evan
Cabildo, Angeli
Mercado, Aizel Kristel
Pagdato, Gladys
Rodenas, Zaira May
Varona, Nicodemus
Zaragosa, Roselle

Submitted on:
March 3, 2010

Chapter I: Introduction
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Perception and Media

In 2008, Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) corruption test gave the Philippines a failing grade in the area of “control of corruption” (North America News Bureau, 2008).The country failed the test of two indicators for not spending enough for health and primary education. But the present administration claimed they were judged based on perception alone.

Perception can make or break people and institutions (Powers, 2007). People seem to be losing faith in politics. Fewer people are voting, fewer people are joining political parties and levels of trust in political institutions are declining. Citizens doubt their politicians’ motives and are pessimistic about whether they genuinely represent voters’ concerns and thus the decrease of level of participation in their part. The public also appear increasingly doubtful about their sources of news. Worries are also growing about the reliability, independence and substance of many parts of the media.

Traditionally when you talk about politics, it is primarily concerned with the nature of state, sovereignty and the government. Today greater emphasis is now placed on the government's human associations, the behavior of interest groups and the decision-making process. In this light, Media has become one of the factors affecting, and influencing politics regarding human association. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo once said that the image of the country as among the most corrupt in the world stems from a “wrong perception” which she blamed on media.

Media has no ideology of its own, mistrusts propaganda, forgets history and relies on patronage for its survival (Osit, 2009).Most journalists choose what to write or report on about depending on his/her consideration of what is relevant (McShaw). In most cases, the journalist’s stories are the sole basis for the reader or viewer to make a decision or adopt an attitude toward an issue particularly on politics. A good example would be in news programs.

Media vs. Government

According to one of the definitions in political science, power is "the ability of one person to cause another to do what the latter wishes, by whatever means." Politics involves this. But, does the power involve choice? If I don't have any power, do I have a right to choose? This relates to journalism as it is all about making choices: what makes the news, what is newsworthy, this or that interlocutor, what’s the angle of the story, etc. Therefore given these, both politics and the media possess power and choice.

Good political reporting is one of the corner stones of democracy (Tumawis, 2008). Fair political reporting explains how politics affects everyday lives. It helps all of us getting an objective and fair insight in politicians, their parties, programs and the most important plans, their real faces and personalities.

But the trivialization of news has weakened the democratic process and devalued the trust in politics (Tumawis, 2008). The media has started to deliver "scandalous" stories rather than objective reports on some important decision making processes. Bad governance, corruption of officials one after the other dominates the news. On the other hand, politicians also begun to use media for trivial purpose. Statements look like free advertisements that nobody understands, speeches emphasizing on official's image and best-est interest losing its content and political will. Politics has lost the tool of communicating with “ordinary” people.

According to a corruption perception index survey conducted by the Transparency International, Philippines got a CPI score of 2.4 for the perceived level of...
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