Doris Bigornia slammed for insensitive reporting on Muslims

Included in the long list of violence that happened during this year’s Election Day is the shooting incident in Manila’s Rosauro Almario Elementary School. Police officers promptly arrived in the scene of the crime to arrest armed men that may have links to the fatal shooting. Check this article from Vera files for more details on the crime.

Doris Bigornia, a returning journalist for ABS-CBN, repeatedly stressed in her report (aired during that night’s broadcast ofTV Patrol) that the 14 supposedly armed men arrested were Muslims. She added that they have ties to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Watch the video on this link, as shared by Abdur Rashid Santos via Facebook.

Nasawata ng mga pulis ang 14 na Muslim at sinasabi (ng mga pulis) mga MNLF sila. Hindi natin alam kung ang insidenteng ito ng panghuhuli sa 14 na mga Muslim na sinasabing kailangan daw nila ng proteksyon (clip ends here-TFS),” the ‘Mutya ng Masa’ said in her report.

Santos, radio program host and president of the Caloocan City-based Islamic Guidance and Student Center, pointed out Bigornia’s insensitive reporting through a series of posts on his Facebook page. The posts have been shared a total of 5,000 times as of writing time.

Santos dared reporters to show their fairness by also highlighting the religion of other law offenders, like if they are Christians.  “Bakit napakadali para sa inyo na ilakip ang pagiging ‘Muslim’ ng suspek sa isang krimen samantalang kapag ‘Kristiyano’ ang nakagawa ito, pangalan lamang ang binabanggit ninyo?” Santos asked.

doris bigornia TV patrol muslims

Doris Bigornia’s report in TV Patrol during Election Day was criticized for being insensitive to Muslims (Credits: Abdur Rashid Santos)

Bigornia’s mishandling of her report is glaring. As Santos stressed in his posts, there is absolutely no need for her to emphasize the religion of the apprehended men during the coverage. Saying that the 15 men are allegedly MNLF members would have sufficed.

To be fair, Bigornia is not the first (and certainly won’t be the last) reporter to commit this mistake. Media persons have to be mindful that whenever they unnecessarily use “Muslim” in their reporting (as in the case with Bigornia), they are reinforcing the negative stereotype of Filipino Muslims as violent people, etc.

In this case, Bigornia is in clear violation of existing media industry guidelines. According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of ethics, reporters should “avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, or social status.”

Bigornia’s offensive reportage also goes against Article 22 of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas’ Broadcast Code (2011 version). It says that “a person’s race, religion, color, ethnicity, gender, and physical or mental disability shall not be used in a way that would embarrass, denigrate, or ridicule him/her.”

*Read this 2006 article from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility about Bigornia’s firing from ABS-CBN at that time.

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4 thoughts on “Doris Bigornia slammed for insensitive reporting on Muslims

    1. oo nga understood na namin yun..pero yung tipong pag isa sa amin ang nakagawa RELIHIYON agad ang binabasihan niyo..that seems so un fair ,,puedi naman sabihin lang ang pangalan ng sa ganon alam na at hindi na kailangan ipagsigawan sa buong mundo na muslim siya o hindi.at para lang sa kaalaman ninyo ibahin mo niyo ang MUSLIM(nanampalataya) sa mga taong gumagawa sa inyo ang salitang muslim ay sagrado.. at dapat lang tawagin ang isang tao na muslim kuing siya ay relihiyoso at may matibay na PANANALIG kay ALLAH(S.W.T.),,

  1. Doris magpasalamat ka at nakabalik ka sa pag report na bumubuhay sa pamilya mo. Mag aral ka ulit at mag seminar ka dahil hndi mo alam ang ginagawa mo. baka makahawa kapa sa sakit mong Tuberculosis. dapat syo ay dina pinapahawak ng mic dahil malala na ang sakit mo at matanda kna. Baka dmo alam na my batas na na makukulong ang isang reporter na tulad mo kapag mali ang ginawang report. Makukulong ang isang reporter na inispecify ang pagka Muslim at Kristyan pero di nya cnabi mkung ano ang kinabibilangan nya, o anong pangkat o tribo kaya mag aral ka muna tanda ha

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