imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

IN MY EYES: ‘Agin-memedia’

Have you heard about the word “agin-memedia,” fellas?

I have heard that word several times last Christmas and New Year season.

I assume it refers to a person pretending to be a mediaman when in fact he is not.

“Awan ti outletda dagita isu nga agin-memediada laeng!” some sarcastic (puera de los buenos) “mediamen” would say.

Last time around, some “self-confessed intellectual” mediamen caught glance of another media group in one of the press conferences sponsored by a certain agency. The latter was composed of retired teachers who are already receiving their pensions. These retirees have been writing for some newspapers (including Bannawag) and magazines already ever since they were in the teaching service. Some of them are even awardees in national writing competitions. One is a Father Jose Burgos awardee in the last Bicentennial Kannawidan Festival. Two are awarded for being the Most Outstanding School Paper Advisers in the Philippines. Two of them are also multi-awarded media practitioners and who are also active in lecturing and training student writers in the region. In the group is also one former Philippine Information Agency (PIA) chief while another 2 are active radio anchormen and columnists, too, in a certain tabloid.

“Writing is our passion,” they said, that’s why when these teacher-writers retired, they got hooked to writing in tabloids and magazines.

But it is not only through writing in tabloids and magazines that this maligned group is involved in the practice of media. They also have their regular weekly television program.

But it seems that these former teachers’ entry into the mediaworld in the province of Ilocos Sur was not that welcoming during the said presscon, fellas. Maybe because they had too many questions thrown through the microphone, earning the ire of these “mediamen,” who most probably felt insecured.

Many of these so called self-baptized “intellectual” media practitioners thought of them as mere “nobodies” or nuisance in the mediaworld. They thought that they are better than these mediamen teachers who joined in the said press conference.

“Agin-memedia la dagita,” they said.

I went back to my dictionary, fellas, and this was what I read:

Media is television, newspapers and radio collectively: the various means of mass communication considered as a whole, including television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. Lately, the social media is included.

So if they have their TV outlet, then they belong to the media. If they have their newspaper outlets, then they also belong to the media!

So, what’s the fuss all about?

Apal la dayta, sir,” posted one netizen in the social media.

“Sir, I am also a teacher, but I have my weekly columns published in a tabloid here in San Fernando City. So am I also agin-memedia?” writes another teacher- media practitioner.

Why apal (envy)?

Because these teacher-writers who are now in the media in the province are better off in their lives than some, if not most, of these “intellectual” (anyway, what intellect, fellas?) media practitioners.

One of them said: “As a retired Master Teacher, I receive a pension of P29,000 per month. My wife is a head teacher. Our kids are now professionals and one is in Europe. So, why do I still indulge myself in writing? It’s because writing is my passion. I love writing. It’s already a part of my system. I can’t live without writing news, columns, editorials or features. Writing exercises my brain and makes my day bright. And who are these people who are trying to discourage me from writing by calling me agin-memedia? How much, too, do they receive in their profession? If they are not envious, what?”

Still another teacher-writer said: “I have been writing for Bannawag ever since. I am also invited to lecture in some universities about the rudiments of writing because I am sure, they trust my talent. Now that I am a media practitioner, I am now agin-memedia?”

Still another sympathizer wrote: “I think the ultimate challenge is to invite your bashers to a writing competition and find out who writes better.”

A more irate netizen posted: “Siguro ti la ammoda a media ket radio. Ad-adu pay a ti agin-memedia who join press conferences as if they are really mediamen when in fact they are janitors, cooks, cashiers and bookkeepers. These are the people who do not really have outlets because they neither write, layout tabloid articles or report. They are merely sabit! Some of them are even merely errand boys pretending to be media practitioners so they can slice a portion of whatever normal mediamen receive as tokens during press conferences!”

A more sober netizen posted: “Your group is a known media group in the province but perhaps those who are maligning you don’t know the real meaning of media. Nabunga ngaminen dayta a kayo isu nga uborendan. More so, they do not know a thing of the Philippine Journalists’ Code of Ethics.”

This time, I rummaged over the Philippine Journalists’ Code of Ethics and these are some of the salient articles I read:

III. I shall resort only to fair and honest methods in my effort to obtain news, photographs and/or documents, and shall properly identify myself as a representative of the press when obtaining any personal interview intended for publication.

VII. I shall not in any manner ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin.

IX. I shall not take unfair advantage of a fellow journalist.

XI. I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as a journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should be my watchword.

These articles were drafted by the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), discussed and finalized in a multilateral workshop conference held during the National Press Week of 1988. The conference was attended by representatives from the PPI, National Press Club, Philippine Movement for Press Freedom (PMPF), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJC), Kapisanan ng mga Manggagawa sa Media sa Pilipinas, Press Foundation of Asia and Photojournalists Guild of the Philippines. It has been adopted by these and other media organizations and has been translated into Filipino by the Bukluran ng mga Mamamahayag sa Sariling Wika(BUKLURAN), a PMPF member-organization. (Source: “Press Freedom: The People’s Right” by Ed Aurelio C. Reyes, pp. 169-170)

And so, after reading this code, I am enlightened, fellas.

I have come to realize who I am, too.

Thanks, God, I’m a mediaman, after all.

Now, who is agin-memedia?