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THE DANGER OF BEING A JOURNALIST

By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA

Only the medja-medja, the komediyante or those roaming around nga maninigbas nga wala klarong media outlet, know nothing of the danger of journalism except of the fear that they are fooling around. 

And they freely enjoy fooling those who tolerate to be fooled. 

After all, kuarta lang man ilang toyo, dili pagsulat sa pahayagan. Dili man tuod sila kasulat. Kay wala man gyod sila’y klaro nga maisulat or masulatan. Except when they pay a placement fee in some newspapers after they get money from a sponsor.

Some of them buy a block time in radio broadcast station, or publish a tabloid, only to stop after wala na’y mag sponsor sa ilaha.

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But career journalists know the danger in journalism. Libel case, threat to life and property, pressure and all the like are inherent to the profession.

Many media men — dili kanang medja-medja or komedyante — face charges of libel or oral defamation thrown against them by those who don’t like the way their stories were written or spoken over the broadcast. Really, many a time the truth hurts.

The like of the Tulfo brothers is famous (or infamous?) of being hit left and right by libel and oral defamation charges. But I have yet to hear one charge against them to prosper in court.

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When I started my newspaper career more than three decades ago, my first cousin, Dr. Firdausi Yahya Abbas, most renowned Maranao international lawyer, advised me once to be discreet in my articles even as he told me to uphold the ethics and principles of journalism. 

That has been my guiding principles for more than 30 years in this work. Thanks to him.

Thus when a police colonel charged me of libel in one of the Manila Trial Courts because of a story on hulidap and other police notoriety I wrote in the 80s, and I consulted him, Atty. Abbas just said kaya mo iyan. 

He was right. The charge did not prosper in court. And the same with all the few that followed suit. 

I believe they did not prosper in court because I am very discreet in reporting while upholding journalism ethics.

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Speaking of medja-medja, komedyante, and maninigbas in the media industry, I know a lot of them and God knows how they survive.

One thing I know is they stay in Iligan which it is close to the Maranaos because Muslim politicos are the main source of their bread and butter. 

There are also some government officials who pet-cuddle them for some personal interest.

And if a politician or a government official does not buy their ploy, they resort to blackmailing.

Ever heard of the towns who were reported to have ghost municipal halls? 

We were told they starred in the television because they did not give heed to the demand of a medja-medja. True or not I don’t know. 

Whatever, the reputation of the fourth estate is at stake. And we cannot avoid this menace if the Maranao newsmakers mostly politicos do not give cognizance to the legit.

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Perhaps, the provincial government of Lanao del Sur should regulate the influx of the medja-medja, the komedyante and the maninigbas to our homeland.

We wish too that ARMM officials know who are the legit mediamen and who are not so that when they share a little of their blessing at times there are activities to be covered by the press, they can share it to those who deserve and not the komedyante who cannot produce output in the media.

I am referring of giving honoraria to a group of Iliganons who came to the recent DepEd activity at the provincial capitol attended by ARMM RG Hataman, RVG Lucman and those DepEd officials.

Sayang lang ang pera ng ARMM kay kaning mga tao wala man gud sila'y media outlet. They are well-known for roamning around around to tigbas ang mga officials ng ARMM.

RANAO STAR




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