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Abusive Media Versus the Power of the Markets

April 9, 2011

A blog commenter asked the following question: “Who is supposed to “discipline” TV5 / Willie Revillame?”

Willie Revillame's latest controversy...

Willie Revillame's latest controversy...

The disgusting, deplorable case of noontime show host Willie Revillame shows the level of depravity and mediocrity of some people in the entertainment industry. While I don’t agree that the government must intervene in this matter by unleashing the intrusive powers of the DSWD, the Human Rights commission, and other government agencies, I believe Willie, particularly Channel 5 and its CEO (Manny V. Pangilinan), failed to police and self-regulate their noontime show. Willie’s program shows utter disrespect for the poor, women, and even children. His show is a concrete example of media programs and institutions that glorify the ‘common man’ and mediocrity.

I don’t believe that the government must intervene in this issue. The TV station’s management must make the right decision, and it should be the right decision so to preclude the government and some of its agencies from promulgating rules that would limit their freedom to produce and air shows and programs. For the sake of preservation of free speech and freedom of choice in the entertainment sector, Channel 5 has to fix the damage done by one of its major talents.

As to the question, who is supposed to discipline Revillame, I offer the following as my answer.

First, TV5 should discipline Willie Revillame being one of its talents. If TV5 fails to make a proper action, then it’s the viewers who have the right and freedom to discipline the station. In other words, the markets have the power to discipline or punish anyone or any entity in the industry.

I believe that considering the facts of the case, it is wrong to assume that the state has the right and authority to intervene in this matter using the easily distorted, malleable doctrine of parens patriae. To assume that the state has the right to act on behalf of the striptease dancing boy is to disregard the parental authority of his parents, although it appears that the latter had been remiss in performing their parental duty.

The TV host and the dancing kid.

The TV host and the dancing kid.

Whose rights had been violated in this issue, and by whom? I say, the kid’s rights and innocence had been and are being violated by the following parties- 1) the parents for not being responsible or for their lack of foresight; 2) Willie Revillame for being an irresponsible tv host; 3) the viewers for their continued patronage; 4) the do-gooders who’re claiming to be for the rights of the boy and who’ve been calling for government intervention. It is very much apparent that the issue had been sensationalized by some interested group of people.

There’s no need to call for the state to intervene in this matter. Let the forces of the market work, and it seems they’re working. A number of advertisers have recently pulled out their sponsorships. Others plan to follow suit. So who’s supposed to discipline Willie and TV5? It’s US!

Just a brief commentary on this farce. Here’s a good example of the power of the mainstream media to idiotize the people. Here we have a disgusting TV show that takes advantage of the naivete of some people (and I hate to mention their so-called economic status). Its host, Willie, is the quintessential second-hander who takes credit for the altruistic, humanitarian dole-outs made possible by its sponsors. Willie is portraying himself as the “messiah” of poor Filipinos, and that’s very much evident.

This incident clearly shows what happens if you take advantage of the weaknesses (intellectual and emotional) and naivete of some people. They’d become dependent on you. They look at you as their savior and as someone who can help solve their problems. This is how most of the program viewers view Willie, and he likes it a lot. He’s enjoying it. This makes Willie a dangerous politician. He is in fact a politician.

Willie’s “humanitarian” influence had a tremendous impact on the mentality of his viewers. Perhaps this encouraged the boy’s mother to send her kid to the show. In fairness to Willie, he cannot have total control over of the behavior of his guests. But he had the power to correct the damage. He had the power to tell something to his viewers about the boy’s dance number.

However, I condemn the socialists in the DSWD and other government agencies who’ve been yearning to use the power of the state. They’re not helping the kid. They are, in fact, putting him in national spotlight to advance their respective career interests. In regard to this matter, this is a good example of institutionalized child abuse!

As for the meddlesome MTRCB whose only duty is to transgress upon our right to free speech, I’m for the abolition of this useless, tax-money-consuming institution. If MTRCB is to probe Revillame’s show, then in the name of objectivity and impartiality it has to investigate all television programs in the country. It is not the proper party in this case, and the only source of its power is the so absurd and easily distorted a constitutional concept that the state has the authority to protect and guarantee the general welfare of its citizens.

I believe the state has to intervene only when there is actual, existential violation of individual rights. In the case of Revillame, the only role of the state is to provide impartial, speedy legal proceedings to the parties in case a legal suit is filed against the TV host. The state is to protect and respect the rights of both parties, and this is the reason why the Revised Penal Code recognizes the rights of the accused. Thus, it is not the role or duty of the state to provide preferential treatment to any parties or to any group of people. Through its courts, the state’s fundamental duty is to promulgate judicial decisions strictly based on the law and on the facts of the case.

The unfortunate intervention of the MTRCB presupposes that Willie Revillame is guilty of some unnamed, unspecified crime without the benefit of legal counsel and trial. It should be properly understood that the constitutional principle of free speech is strictly applied to the state. This means that the state or its agents should not violate our rights to free speech and freedom of expression. The provisions of the 1987 Constitution is very clear. Article III, Section 4 of the New Charter provides:

No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

However, the government in 1986 passed a Presidential Decree creating the MTRCB to regulate and supervise the operations of the movie and television industry. Whatever happened to the aforementioned Constitutional provision…

The only entity which has the political and legal power to abridge our freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or of our right peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances, is the state or its political representative, the government.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 9, 2011 3:38

    Thanks for the answer! You explained it very clearly.

    • April 9, 2011 3:38

      You’re welcome.

  2. The Neoliberal permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:38

    You didn’t show to us that the market forces would act the same without interference from the government.

    • April 9, 2011 3:38

      You only have to read the news. We are all part of market forces. When consumers buy goods, they impact the market. When producers create products that consumers needs, they impact the market. Today, a number of advertisers pulled out their ads from Willie’s show. Some of them are Procter and Gamble Philippines, which suspended advertising on the show beginning April 7, Unilever Philippines, which decided to temporarily suspend ad placements effective April 11, and Jollibee’s Mang Inasal. It is very much apparent that their ad pull out is the result of ongoing public condemnation against Willie Revillame and his show.

      What is this ad pullout and why is this an essential part of the Markets? You have to understand that ad placement is the only source of revenues for private media companies. Without which media companies like TV5 cannot operate. This is the reason why TV hosts and producers keep on improving the quality of their show and hiring popular talents that viewers want.

      To explain the power of “ad pullout”, I’d like to call your attention on the case of the Inquirer versus former Pres. Estrada. Before the “second envelop” controversy, Estrada used his office and tremendous political power to influence advertisers or businessmen not to place ads in the opposition Inquirer. Estrada’s political action and the corollary ad pullout seriously affected Inquirer’s operations.

      The recent case is the ‘informal’ advice of Pres. Noynoy Aquino on advertisers not to place ads in media companies critical of his regime.

      Now that a number of advertisers have expressed their will to suspend ad placements in Willie’s show, I’m sure TV5 will be constrained to do the right decision. Now we all know that after ad pullout, Willie announced that he would go on leave. However, this is just his and TV5’s strategy to trick the people in the hope that the latter would forget about the incident.

      Ad pullout can be more dangerous than any kind of legal suit. In ad pullout, the continuity of a media company can be put in peril. In legal suit, the media company still has the opportunity to prolong legal proceedings and to apply dilatory tactics and maneuvers.


  1. In Defense of “Child Exploiter” Willie Revillame « THE VINCENTON POST

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