Amid violence and injustice, Church and media are no longer game changers
In his column (“Making the republic work,” 6/13/21), Randy David did a very incisive and deep analysis of how our political institutions have failed to make our republican system work for the benefit of Filipinos.
But I think we should not overlook two major institutions of society that have also contributed to this tragic outcome: the Church and media. I make this assessment as a nonexpert relying only on what I perceive to be the non-catalyzing almost lethargic role of the Catholic Church (which is the country’s predominant religion) in societal transformation and the media’s disjointed exercise of journalistic vigilance over the past decades in our history as a republic.
Except for that rare shining moment as the Edsa revolution in 1986 when the Church and media (particularly print media) played pivotal roles in the nonviolent transfer of political power from a dictator to pro-democracy forces, both institutions in our time have largely acted more as maintainers of the status quo and preservers of their own parochial and tribal interests than as game changers.
This is not to deny the courage of journalists who fearlessly expose corruption in a dysfunctional government and of progressive elements in the Church who publicly denounce un-Christian values and actions of the high and mighty and take to heart Catholic social teachings by dedicating their lives to uplifting the conditions of the poor and marginalized. But given that our country, as David pictured, is in a decaying stage of un-progress, more are expected from these institutions and their members to rise up to the occasion as moral vanguards of society.
Sadly, many in media particularly those in the broadcast field seem unable to go beyond being mere uncritical disseminators of government misinformation outlets and are content with dishing out sporadic criticisms of government inefficiencies just to enhance their public and dubious posturing as anti-corruption champions.
News on TV is full of tabloid coverage of relatively inconsequential events which are clearly intended to get more viewership. As for social media, it can never be a forum for civil and intelligent political discourse and debate inhabited as it is by President Duterte’s troll farms.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church since the passing of the Cardinal Sin era has been reduced to a whimper in a vast howling wilderness of violence and injustice with only a few prophetic voices that are hardly heard or even disregarded by its very own constituency. The country’s future is bleak but not hopeless because Filipinos are made of sterner stuff than what their political exploiters believe.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.