We’ve said it before and we say it again: There can be no denying that corruption is as serious a problem within the media as it is within government and—let’s face it—within society in general. Media, after all, do not exist in a vacuum.
The problem is real—which paradoxically explains why an initiative like the “covenant against media corruption,” signed on Tuesday by representatives of political parties, civil society groups and media organizations (the Inquirer among them), is the first of its kind. But is the pact for real? That is to say, will it help solve the problem of corruption in the media, or at least lead to durable solutions?
By Cielito F. Habito
Big money is about to descend once again upon the media industry, if it hasn’t already. Election campaign seasons always bring the industry a windfall, via both legitimate political ads and illicit payments to buy favorable coverage from members of the press. The magnitudes are now so staggering that in the last election year of 2010, the recreational services sector, which includes the broadcast industry, leaped from the previous year by a zooming 30.4 percent in our gross domestic product (GDP) accounts. To show how unusual this was, the growth rate stabilized back to 7.2 percent in 2011, and had ranged from only 3 to 11 percent in the past decade (with that previous peak also posted in the election year of 2007).