When I sat down to open my PC and read from Google News, this breaking news riveted my attention:
Philippines says Abu Sayyaf leader killed in clash
This was at 5:00 PM PST of January 17th, Wednesday.
Of course, I welcomed the news and its reportage, except that to my dismay it cited a foreign news source, Reuters.
Decided to try another one, this time googling the words, Abu Sayyaf, under Google News. The following came out as having been posted 18 minutes earlier:
Atrocities allegedly committed by Abu Sayyaf leader slain in Philippines
Again, giving a foreign news source, Associated Press. And both items were also published on foreign on-line sites, the latter from the International Herald Tribune.
From the Google News results using the words, Abu Sayyaf, I scanned down the pages which were sorted by date and time. I went to as far as 24 hours ago, only to realize it was only SunStar that reported the same item, its latest being 6 hours ago from the time of googling, which was 5:00 pm PST. And yet the same item had been on-line in the news since about 24 hours ago.
My speedy on-line scans showed that the reportage was done essentially by foreign sites around the world. Some from MidEastern sources, others from SouthEastAsian sources, and even one I can recall that came from Lompoc, a small California town.
I also tried the Philippine blogosphere, searching through Google’s Blog Search section a few minutes after 5:00pm.Again, I couldn’t find any entry for the last 24 hours that dealt with the same item – the death of a very significant Abu Sayyaf leader.
In fine, the overall pattern so far has been that this significant event that happened in the very remote southernmost part of the island of Mindanao, in Southern Philippines, was initially and essentially reported by foreign sources.
I am supposing that part of the problem may be because foreign news organizations and groups may be extending their operations globally simply by hiring local Filipino journalists as their local correspondents, feeding them news but putting their names as sources. Another case of outsourcing?
The question then is: Where is the vaunted Philippine media? Hopefully, not playing second fiddle to or co-opted by these foreign news organizations?
Many of us originally from Mindanao may begin to believe, if we have not already done so, that Philippine media and all the accoutrements of what many now term as Imperial Manila may be too focused with its own regional politics and other metropolitan issues, as to be unconcerned with issues which though may be geographically happening in Mindanao, but definitely have grave national repercussions and consequences. Maybe, internationally, too.