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Looking Back: What’s happening in Butig, Lanao del Sur?


Whatever is happening in Butig, a town in Lanao del Sur located at its southwestern part does not come out in the mainstream media, and concerned Moro nitizens are trying to accuse the media of biases and impartialities for its alleged silence on the issue.

It’s true. But then...

In yet to be confirmed FB reports, it is said that the AFP is conducting a full military offensive (since last week) against a group of freedom fighters in Butig, Lanao Del Sur. It further said that in the past few days, “tanks, howitzers, gunship helicopters and Ov-10 bombers are being utilized and we are not talking 'bout it, nobody is talking 'bout it!”

Of late, reports had it that are score of casualty. But it didn’t come out in mainstream media.

Even friends in the military confirmed there is fighting in that part of the world, but they couldn’t give details. For which the military may be suspected holding a news blackout.

Whether there is news blackout or not, I don’t see it more useful to blame others for these so-called media biases. I would say it is more useful to ask our local media practitioners do the job of a mediaman. They should not concentrate on promoting only the interest of their political lords. They should also, and importantly, go to the field and tell our people about what is happening there.

Aside from the local radio and TV broadcasters, and the nosier freqs, there are also so-called journalists among the locals working for national and international channels.

Are they prohibited too in covering such important human interest as the Butig fighting? I don’t think they are prohibited so. Perhaps, they go along the trend of the mainstream, or, at least, to show they belong to the mainstream and if the mainstream blacks it out, they too should black it out. Although it is a social virtual crime against their own people.

Maybe, it’s time to go back to the basics: First, let’s seriously learn news gathering, reporting and writing; Second, let’s understand the meaning and role of the media, and understand the difference between journalists and propagandists. And, third, local media practitioners whether working for local, national or international mediums should be united, set aside differences, and take a common stand for the welfare of their people. And remember Muslims are still Muslims with all the biases as Muslims.

Only then can local journalists effectively play their role as vanguard of Islam, the Muslims and their homeland in this country. And the Butig incident will become an issue of the world.

The New Ranao Star
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