Former ABS-CBN journalist Kata Inocencio clarified that they had never been told to play favorites or slant reports in their coverage at the congressional hearing for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.
During the joint hearing of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, Kata testified that in her 15 years of service, journalists have always preserved their independence in the coverage they do.
“This much I know for certain: that for 15 years that I’ve served in ABS-CBN News… as a Malacañang reporter, House correspondent, desk editor, news anchor, and producer, we, and I speak for the news division, have never been instructed to play favorites nor to slant stories in favor or against anyone, nor to play partisan politics.”
She also testified that ABS-CBN reporters have always followed reporting practices that are consistent with the ethical principles and obligations of the profession to maintain a balance.
“We exercise our duty as broadcast journalists based on the ethical standards and responsibilities expected of a professional journalist who [is] sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, to remain impartial, to air both sides as much as possible and as available, and to be fair and balanced in our reporting,”
Inocencio also defended and vouched for ABS-CBN Head of Integrated News and Current Affairs Regina Reyes whom she even called a ‘woman of integrity’,
“I have known ABS-CBN News head Ging Reyes since 1986… I know her to be a woman of integrity who practices the ethical standards of a broadcast journalist. She will never take wrongdoing sitting down.”
Kata also mentioned how Reyes has always shared a strong opinion and was always good at her job at the giant media network, “[She] will always express her strong opinion on what she believes in even if this may oppose the general sentiment of management, and I believe that because of this, she has the management’s trust and confidence apart from her tested abilities as a journalist and a broadcast producer.”
Even at the same hearing, ABS-CBN News Chief Ging Reyes, strongly assured lawmakers that the network does not pursue political bias in any way.
“We strive to keep biases in check, and to report on newsworthy events, persons, and issues in an accurate, fair, and balanced manner.”
The alleged political bias of ABS-CBN is only one of the issues that critics have brought up as the network seeks a new 25-year franchise.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) closed ABS-CBN last May 5, one day after its previous 25-year franchise had expired, despite the renewal applications that had been pending in the House of Representatives since 2014.