, NOVEMBER 16, 2007 (BULLETIN) By GENALYN D. KABILING - ĎPractice responsible reporting, avoid sensationalismí

President Arroyo has appealed to media companies to practice responsible and balanced reporting and stay away from news sensationalism, saying the truth is more important than ratings.

Addressing the 33rd Top-Level Management Conference of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) at the Oxford Hotel at Clark, Pampanga, Wednesday night, the President warned that mediaís tendency to sensationalize the news only contributes to political instability and economic slowdown.

"By getting a lot of listenership or viewership because you sensationalize, you may gain something in the short-run. But in the long-run, that contributes to instability that also reduces economic activity and also reduces your capability to have a sustained advertising market," she said.

Before her talk on the importance of balanced news reporting, the President commended the media organizations for heeding her call to avoid speculations and accusations about the bomb attack at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City last Tuesday.

Mrs. Arroyo said the media has been “very responsible†in its coverage of the Batasan blast, which killed four people including Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar.

"Nagpapasalamat tayo sa taong bayan at sa mga bahagi ng media sa inyong maingat na pag-uulat tungkol sa pagsabog sa Batasan kagabi upang maiwasan ang haka-haka. You have been a very responsible media through this occasion," she said.

In the same forum which carried the theme "New Beginnings, New Challenges, New KBP," the President also urged the media to help the government in attaining political stability and economic development.

Mrs. Arroyo said the Philippines is on the path to permanent economic growth, citing the strong performance of the peso and the stock market. As part of the influx of investments into the country, she also cited the planned million investment of Singapore-based Banyan Tree Resorts to build spa resorts in Coron, Palawan.

"Indeed, itís time for a new beginning and when we talk about a new beginning, we talk about moving on. Itís time for the nation to move on and focus on the issues that are important for our future," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo said her administration is focused on creating more jobs, lowering prices, providing affordable houses, and providing access to education for all.

She also thanked the media for reminding politicians to get on with the peopleís work rather than political wrangling. "The people want results, not rhetoric; action, not political posturing," she added.

She said preoccupation with politics "does not promote stability, policy continuity, security, and peace and order that we need to continue to move our country forward."

The President renewed her resolve to put an end to violence against media in the country. She asked the KBP to help identify possible targets of media killings so extra security can be provided.

At least 27 cases against suspects of media killings have been filed since 2001, according to the President. Two perpetrators have been convicted and 21 are undergoing trial, she added.

President Arroyo had earlier sought the help of the media in achieving her legacy of prosperity before she steps down in 2010. The President has been repeatedly criticized for inaction in addressing the spate of violence against journalists.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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