Monday, April 09, 2007

A sad story of one journalist

Alex Adonis's case reflects two things: that libel should be decriminalized in the Philippines, and that something must be done to improve the meager salary of Filipino journalists. To think that Adonis has spent 18 years in the profession, and yet he only gets P7,500 a month from previous employer Bombo Radyo Davao, most likely not enough for his family's expenses. (Adonis has a wife and two children.)

But when you think about it, how many media organizations in the Philippines have the capability to improve the salaries of their journalist employees? Some organizations don't even pay their employees on time. Some don't even pay at all.

No wonder corruption in the media in the Philippines is quite rampant. This can be partly attributed to the sad economic plight of the journalists.

Jail for journalist charged with libel
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

For failing to defend himself in court because he could not afford a lawyer, a radio broadcaster from Davao, a province located south of Manila, has been convicted of libel and is now serving time in jail.

Libel is a criminal offense in the Philippines.

Alex Adonis, who used to be a commentator of dxMF Bombo Radyo (Booming Radio), was convicted of libel by Regional Trial Court Branch 17 Judge Renato Fuentes and sentenced to four years and six months in prison.

The libel case was filed by Davao First District Representative Prospero Nograles, who is also the house majority floorleader, in October 2001, because of a report by Adonis.

Adonis had claimed that the congressman was seen running naked in a Manila Hotel shortly after the husband of a woman he was having an affair with caught them in bed. Nograles denied the allegation.

Fuentes, however, acquitted Adonis’ co-accused, Dan Vicente, the station manager of Bombo Radyo General Santos, a province of South Cotabato, located south of Davao.

Online publication Mindanao Times reported that Fuentes absolved Vicente due to the death of the prosecution’s primary witness who heard the Vicente and Adonis broadcast.

Adonis, who has spent 18 years in the media industry, failed to defend himself in court and the verdict against him was promulgated in absentia.

He was arrested by the police in the Bangkerohan Public Market of Davao City while he was visiting his mother on 19 February 2007.

Davaotoday, an online publication, reported that financial woes were a major factor in Adonis’ conviction.

Read here for more.


luthien said...

"that libel should be decriminalized in the Philippines, and that something must be done to improve the meager salary of Filipino journalists."

AMEN! tanging mga dedicated sa propesyon lang ang nakakatagal sa klase ng sweldo na meron kami. to quote one colleague, "hindi na makatao ito, panangga ka pa sa bala."

bryant said...

@ luthien

true, true. so sad.

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