Groups condemn vlogger’s behavior towards watchman

By Joseph Bernard A. Marzan

Three media groups on Wednesday, May 15, came out to condemn the acts of a social media practitioner who recently harangued a village cop in an Iloilo town while livestreaming on his page.

The Iloilo Media-Citizens Council (IMCC), the Iloilo City Hall Press Corps (ICHPC), and the Iloilo Provincial Capitol Press Corps (IPCPC) released separate statements condemning the act of Wilfredo Talaron, an anchor for the Facebook-based media outlet Zarraga News Live (ZNL), which is headquartered in the town of Zarraga, Iloilo.

In a live video from May 9, where Talaron was covering the shooting death of a pharmacy owner in Miagao town’s Mat-y village, he was heard shouting at a barangay tanod (village cop) who was not able to provide him answers on what had transpired in the incident.

The IPCPC, which is composed of journalists covering the provincial capitol, recalled Talaron’s encounter, which has also been re-circulated in another video, and expressed that regardless of the medium, media practitioners should observe a code of ethics.

“While we do not discriminate regardless of the medium, we enjoin that members of the media community be with us in ensuring that we keep ourselves guarded at all times, including our demeanors in the exercise of our profession,” the IPCPC said in its statement.

“Vloggers are welcome to cover events, but let us not put the name of the media community in a bad light. Hence, we journalists [and] media practitioners must bind ourselves to adhere to the highest standards of ethical reporting and uphold the integrity of our profession with the hope of avoiding a repeat of the May 9 incident,” they added.

The ICHPC, which covers the Iloilo City government, also addressed the incident, calling on all journalists and other media practitioners, including Talaron, to adopt and observe the Journalist’s Code of Ethics of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).

Section 11 of the said PPI code, which the press corps cited, provides that a journalist “shall comport [themselves] in public or while performing [their] duties as a journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of [their] profession. When in doubt, decency should be [the] watchword.”

“How [Talaron] acted was uncalled for, any concern regarding unwanted response by a critical source may be threshed out in a proper forum while maintaining credibility and trust with the audience,” the city hall press corps said.

“May the incident serve as a reminder for us media practitioners to observe ethical practices at all times in the performance of our duty,” they added.

The IMCC, a multi-sectoral body aiming to resolve media-related disputes through self-regulation of the industry, highlighted the importance of “ethical practices and professional conduct” while upholding the freedom of the press.

“Professionalism in the face of adversity not only upholds personal integrity but also reinforces the credibility of the media entity they represent. This approach is vital in fostering trust and reliability among audiences, ensuring that the content delivered is both responsible and respectful,” the IMCC said in its statement.

“Since he is claiming to be [a member of the] media, the vlogger’s conduct does not exist in a vacuum or is limited [to] their own universe. It has implications [for] other news organizations and the Iloilo media community who are facing trust and credibility challenges nowadays,” they added.

In the same statement, the council also noted two posts of the ZNL, as well as another Facebook-based outlet, Anilao News Live, and radio station K5 News FM Iloilo, over sexually suggestive content on its pages.

“Posting lewd materials or sexually suggestive content, especially against women, undermines the principles of respect and dignity. Such content not only degrades the subjects but also negatively influences public perception and perpetuates harmful stereotypes,” the council said.

“Media organizations should prioritize ethical standards, promoting content that is informative, respectful, and uplifting, thus contributing to a more positive and respectful media environment,” they added.

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