e maaring basahin mo to. Speech na sinulat ko for someone that was delivered in an international TV forum chorvalin somewhere in China teehee
The Responsibility of Television Towards Society
In this so-called dawning of the information age, it cannot be denied that mass media has been a burgeoning influence in shaping the perception of how people view the world today. It is a commanding and compelling catalyst; churning out images and messages that would otherwise take time and effort to put across. The medium of television, in particular, has been a wieldy instrument in the propagation of this cause. In the Philippines alone, 85% of Filipino households on the average own at least one TV set. Furthermore, each of these individual households spends an average 7.17 hours in front of the TV screens. It is mind-boggling indeed to imagine the possibilities that television offers in terms of information dissemination. We, as the movers in the field of television in our own respective countries, are therefore in the forefront of this evolving revolution. We hold in our hands the key to the kingdom of information. But ladies and gentlemen, let me point out that this kind of power should also come with responsibility. A great responsibility, may I add. It is always easy to fall into the trap of abusing this power, for both indiscriminate corporate and personal gain. Some measure of check-and-balance should be in place in order to avoid this kind of exploitative manipulation of power. And what more appropriate measure, my esteemed colleagues, would there be than communicating the values of honesty, dignity, and integrity through the means of social responsibility?
Social responsibility, in the most minimal terms, can be defined as the contribution of an entity towards the welfare of society. It is the action of giving back and sharing to the community what we have in terms of knowledge and resources. Nevertheless, as with any simplistic meaning, it is the underlying implications that are vital to examine. Therefore, you might ask, what are the implications that can be gleamed from definition?
First of all, social responsibility that calls for a continuing commitment of going above and beyond with what is called for by legal responsibility. We cannot allow ourselves to be complacent, and merely implement the tasks that are expected from us simply because it is the law. We have to be bigger than ourselves, in hope that our actions may make a difference in the world today.
Second, social responsibility calls for decisions that are implemented based on ethical and moral grounds. These right values act as a beacon of enlightenment to illuminate the path during dark and troubled times. Moreover, it is these very values that serve as an anchor for making sure that our decisions will be for the betterment of us, and for society as well.
Third, social responsibility calls for pro-activeness. The old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” But as with any cliché, there is always a fundamental truth behind it. If we all take an anticipatory stance towards all the choices that we make, the unnecessary expenditure of energy spent in finding temporary solutions to setbacks can be avoided.
Last, social responsibility calls for holding to account the actions of society as well as the actions that affect society. Decisions beget actions, and actions beget consequences. Culpability for these consequences should be squarely put on our shoulders, because ultimately, we can only answer to ourselves as individuals. Ironically though, it is these very individuals that make up a society. We make up a society. Our collective individual actions interweave together to form the carpet of society’s actions. And since we are interconnected together as a society, whatever actions that affect society as a whole will eventually affect us individually. It is this delicate and complicated interplay of action that hence calls for a balanced sense ofliability not only to us, but to society as well.
The next logical step for us to ask is: what then, are the responsibilities of television towards society?
One: To tell the truth. Lay it down as it is. There is nothing more liberating than to experience truth stripped it down to its essentials.
Two: To accord people a general expectation of dignity and privacy. It is a basic human need be given sense of dignity. In turn, it is expected that the same dignity be given back to others. Privacy is one of the natural outcomes of being bestowed with this sense of dignity.
Three: To expose wrongs, but equally to allow that no one is perfect. A wrong is a wrong. Nothing should be equivocal about it. Yet, it is also just as important to temper judgments with understanding. No one is above making mistakes, after all.
Four: To avoid conflicts of interest. Integrity demands that we avoid putting our interests above the others just because it suits our own agenda. In this way, the factors of bias and impartiality are taken away from the equation, and we are left with only with the transparency of our own motives.
Five: To entertain, for sure, but also to inform. We are the medium best suited to provide respite and amusement for the general viewing public. But respite without purpose, and amusement without substance are, at best, simply diversionary. We must therefore strive to empower our audiences through shows whose concepts are based on the notion of information, because, as we all know, information is power. Ignorance is best left for those who chose to remain the dark.
Being responsible to society is not the easiest of advocacies to undertake. It demands from us much time, effort, and hard work. Some of you might even say that there is no room for such naïveté and idealism in this cutthroat and competitive corporate environment such as ours. I beg to disagree, ladies and gentlemen. What we give back to the community will eventually return to us, in one form or the other. At the end of the day, I believe that the benefits that will be reaped are well worth the sowing. So my dear colleagues of the television broadcasting industry, I pose a challenge to us: lets us take up the cudgels of social responsibility, and strive to make our community and the world at large a better place to live in.