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'In nation's service'.

MEDIUM RARE

By JULLIE Y. DAZA

PTV, the People's Television, is nothing like BBC, the British Broadcasting Corp., but Secretary Martin Andanar, who's in charge of broadcasting government communications via radio, television, and social media, upholds BBC as his model.

The question is, is he the only one in government with such a dream? I hope I'm mistaken, but throughout the long campaign season I have yet to see a single news coverage, even a split-second shot of the independent and opposition senatorial bets on government media. Why is that? PCOO does not own PTV but the people, taxpayers. For that reason, the people have a right to see what kind of faces are vying for their votes.

I hope I'm mistaken, but all I have seen - and I keep watching PTV in hopes of proving myself wrong - on the "Para sa Bayan" channel is a token omnibus ad listing the names of all 62 candidates and their party affiliations. Not even a picture to tell one from the rest.

In a fairer world, the state's channel would be giving equal time to pro-government and opposition candidates. PTV's denial of air time to the opposition is to NOT give air time to administration candidates, true, but the latter already have the edge, they enjoy free coverage just by being seen with the President at rallies and other public events where Digong praises them for their accomplishments and endorses them to his audiences.

If elections are so important to our democratic way of life, why did People's Television not bother to host public forums among the candidates? Only the privately owned channels seem to take the elections seriously, for after all they earn a heap from the candidates' commercials. Those ads cost a pretty penny, which is why in a kinder world we could expect the state-run network to provide free airtime to one and all, rich and poor, telegenic or not.

Why should only the wealthy ones have more fun selling their virtues like shampoo, beer, toilet cleaners? Let's give a chance to the nonmillionaires to air their spots for free or a minimal fee. Am I wrong, to hope that PTV leveled the playing field while being "in the service of the nation"?

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Jullie Y. Daza

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Title Annotation:Opinions and Editorials
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:May 7, 2019
Words:379
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