A Facebook post by Benjie Dorango, a TV5 news correspondent, has received a lot of attention from netizens the past two days (go to this link).
He recounted a scene at a wake where the parents of a recently departed celebrity is asking a P5000 “honorarium” from media persons in exchange of an interview. We are reposting his Facebook status update below:
Tagpo sa isang wake ng sikat na personality:
Media: “mam/sir, nakikiramay po kami sa pagkawala ng anak ninyo.”
Parents: “salamat. Magi-interview ba kayo? May honorarium kasi kami pagini-interview. 5000 pesos lang naman. Salamat.”
When asked by ABS-CBN correspondent Jacque Manabat in the comment thread if his interview pushed through, Dorango said: “May kakilala ako, nakiusap na lang na sasabay sa isang interview rin para makatipid.”
Although the TV5 reporter did not mention who exactly he is writing about, some Facebook users easily surmised that he is referring to the family of Jam Sebastian. Jamich fans didn’t waste time defending their idol:
Giving payments to news sources is a universally unaccepted journalism practice. According to the Philippine Press Institute’s Code of Ethics, reporters “shall resort only to fair and honest methods in (their) effort to obtain news, photographs, and/or documents.”
Meanwhile, the United States-based Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) advises reporters to be always “wary of sources offering information for favors or money” and that they should not pay for access to news.
SPJ says the involvement of money immediately calls into question the credibility of the information. “Readers or viewers have a legitimate right to wonder whether the source is disclosing this information because the information is important or because the source is getting paid for it,” the group wrote in a position paper.