Star witness Edgar Matobato was the center of attention in last Thursday’s Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings. Live coverage on TV and radio was provided by a majority of outlets, save for News5. (Photo credit: The Philippine Star)
It was a busy three days for the Philippines’ top news outfits.
On September 20 and 21, the House of Representative conducted a nine-to-ten hour hearing regarding the drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons. Then on September 22, the Senate conducted two hearings, one involving the use of emergency powers to combat traffic, and the other the continuation of the hearings on extrajudicial killings.
In between, President Rodrigo Duterte appeared on live television to address his own concerns regarding the presence of American troops in Mindanao, and the United Nations’ continued intervention in his war against drugs. The President gave his speech in front of the country’s hard-working soldiers in Mindanao.
Then there is the urgent coverage of an apparent hijack inside a Saudia Airlines place at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which turned out to be a false alarm. Finally, a press conference involving Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino was also aired live.
In those three days, the usual suspects were there to cover them all: the ABS-CBN News Channel, DZMM TeleRadyo, CNN Philippines, and the government-owned PTV-4. Surprisingly, the oft-criticized GMA News TV, infamous for their apparent unwillingness to cover various live events, joined in the act as well, alongside DZBB.
The same cannot be said for News5, however. Although they managed to broadcast the live feed of the said events online, TV coverage proved to be mostly non-existent.
Though AksyonTV, now more known for sports coverage than news, covered the first day of the NBP probe, they failed to do so on the second day, in large part to their own sports programming. The network also failed to air the live coverage of the two Senate hearings as well, also for the love of sports.
Which leads to the worst culprit of them all: Radyo5 92.3 News FM. While a majority of the AM radio stations covered the three-day live-a-thon, Radyo5 chose to air their regular programming instead of following the action (Wednesday’s events was excusable because of the PBA).
This act of reprehensible proportions only served to add insult to injury to News5. If losing some of their top personalities is not enough, what more is their increasing unwillingness to cover important live events as it happens.
As it stands now, it is clear that the ship TV5 is steering continues to sink further and further. There is nothing more to say about this, other than the hope that they can start over anew.
To Luchi Cruz-Valdes and Gladys Lana-Lucas, perhaps it’s time for an explanation. This has gone too far, and Kapatid followers deserve better than this.
The House and Senate hearings are expected to continue this week. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not News5 can finally commit themselves to a multi-platform broadcast of these events.