Sunday, November 20, 2011

On Heckling, Howie and Hillary

When a Philippine Collegian Editor-in-Chief Marjo Tucay unfurled an Anti-VFA/Anti-MDT banner in Clinton's "Conversation in Manila", he was promptly shown the door and subsequently tagged a heckler. Post-Conversation, he was interviewed by Howie Severino of GMA7, incidentally, one of Conversation's moderators. Did I say interviewed? No, that wasn't the case. Mr. Tucay was BERATED by Howie Severino for not being "old-fashioned" and  for going beyond "covering" the event.

Facebook as been afire with discussion regarding this incident. Progressive teachers and students alike, of course defend Tucay's position, whilst Howie Severino himself engages in the debate. But, lo and behold, Mr. I-Think-Before-I-Click opts to delete his comments (see pic below with his comments on Alaysa's post before Severino deleted them) when the debate got hotter and hotter. This event prompted GMA7 to take down the interview from their site (Therefore, the link below Alaysa's Note now leads to blank video). 

Photo courtesy of The Carcosite. To view, Right click then Open in New Tab. Or  Download by right-clicking then Save as.

Reposted from Alaysa Escandor's Facebook Notes

Reflections on the heckling

That Hillary Clinton herself, the US Secretary of State, was heckled by a Filipino, and a young student journalist at that, triggered a debate of sorts on the role of journalists.  The heckling was done by Marjohara Tucay, incumbent editor in chief of the Philippine Collegian, the student publication of the University of the Philippines.

 A day after the heckling, he was interviewed by Mr. Howie Severino, whose insights include –

Syempre, ang expectation sa isang mamamahayag ay hindi magprotesta kundi magtanong; Yung mga old-fashioned journalists katulad ko, yung training ay nagcocover; May choice ka dun, kung ano ang magiging action mo: mamahayag o protester.”

Okay, so there’s one huge, disturbing conjecture there – that journalists cannot participate in demonstrations. I wonder though where this conjecture has come from, because I don’t know of any code of ethics that bans journalists from protest actions. From receiving gifts and cash, certainly; from moonlighting, sure; from unfair means of information collection, yes. But never from heckling, demonstrations, rallies, strikes. These are, after all, based on the freedom of speech and expression – the very same rights upon which the entire of journalism is founded.

The freedoms that we have, the liberties that journalists like Mr. Severino enjoy, were won through wide and numerous protest actions. Martial law is a constant reminder of that.

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