Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Editorial: Who Needs A Lunch With Kenney?

Who needs a lunch with Kenney? I was invited by the US Embassy for Thanksgiving Lunch. They faxed the invitation last week, but since I was so busy then, never had the chance to browse the invitation.

Benny…whoever, from the Embassy phoned me the other day and asked for a confirmation of my attendance and since I am busy with work, told the good guy if our publisher, Maritess Fernandez could take my place and he said okay, just send over the fax reply and we did.

An hour later, the Embassy phoned our publisher and asked a confirmation. Then a day passed, somebody from the US Embassy called her up again and told her that she cannot attend the lunch because the invitation was for me…gee!

Sad thing here is that our publisher approves stories the articles and photos that go out of the newspaper and our website…too bad she cannot attend the lunch with Ambassador Kristie Kenney even is she is our publisher!

Well, there goes the Embassy. Who needs a lunch with Kenney anyway?
You know covering the Americans in Mindanao is really difficult as a Filipino journalist. They usually discriminate and favor foreign press more than the locals, yet the Filipino journalists – video and photographers and writers – get to do all the dirty jobs.

Americans, military and embassy people, who usually invite local journalists to cover their events whether in Basilan island or far-flung Jolo island, never really feed the boys. Hell with the boys whether they go hungry or nuts, except if you are with the BBC or CNN or Fox News…they get front seats on the dining table with matching service vehicles.

Ask a Filipino journalist in Zamboanga City or Jolo if they had the same experience as their foreign counterparts and they will tell you shit! Local journalists are herded on trucks.

US guys think local journalists can just be taken for granted…many of the local boys write for international news agencies, international newspapers, and Manila broadsheets and tabloids.

What’s good about the local journalists is that they have their strong determination to write the truth just like this piece of mine or piece of shit to others. Funny, US guys and Filipinos working for them, although not all (to be fair), try hard to put their propaganda ahead of us. You write something they don’t like, they curse you like a witch doctor.

In Jolo island, US troops will tell you not to take photos or videos of them, holy cow! The soldiers are in public places and seen by people and they don’t want any pictures…dude, cover your face like a Ku Klux Klan and don’t get out of your shells.

How many local journalists were pursued by US troops while doing their jobs? How many were harassed by US soldiers? How many were threatened with bodily harm by these soldiers right in their own country? How many had their faces in front of a barrel of US soldiers just because journalists were only doing their job?

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