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Of PNA and Sputnik | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

WHAT has Rapplers’ Pia Ranada against the Philippine News Agency’s plan of having a sharing arrangement of news and feature articles with Russia’s Sputnik own news agency? For owing so much allegiance to US-based Omidyar Network that invested on Rappler, Ranada cannot keep her bias and prematurely hint that PNA’s idea of exchanging news articles and opinion items with Sputnik is not to the comfort of the Philippines in terms of security.

In asserting that Sputnik is part of Russia’s propaganda machine, Rappler only succeeded in resurrecting the scandal involving the role of Omidyar Network in demonizing and destabilizing the government of Ukraine that led to the overthrow of its President Yanukovych, a pro-Russian leader.

ON, if we remember, figured prominently in the scandal involving its substantial dollar investment on Rappler which led to the revocation of its license. This media outfit had paraded as a 100% Filipino corporation but the fact that it issued Philippine Depository Receipts indicated that ON exercises control on its business and editorial policies. Of course, the easy exit from this tight fix was for ON to waive its PDRs and “donated” them to its Filipino staff.

The last thing that Rappler’s Ranada should do therefore is to preach that “there is nothing to gain from this news cooperation except to learn from a country that has succeeded in turning lies into truths…”.

Brave words from a social news network that had been involved in spreading preposterous stories involving the Davao Death Squad and super-bloated figures of what it claimed as victims of Extra-Judicial Killings. It is the height of journalistic hubris to suggest that they alone, and not the staff and writers of PNA, have the credentials to take the responsibility of monitoring and identifying what are trolls and fakes in various media platforms.

There are a lot of things to know and learn about Russia and this plan of sharing of news and other articles can only lead to better understanding of the political, economic and social issues surrounding Russia that had been deprived of us until today.

From my short-pant days and now when I have few strands of hair left and shaking knees, I remain to be in limbo about what is inside Russia. But yes, last October I made it to St. Petersburg, a Russian City by the Baltic Sea. Stayed in that magnificent city for two days. And I must say that indeed I am quite lucky to have set foot on this cultural, economic and scientific center of Russia.

Isn’t it informative if we read stories, see video clips and photos about what’s in Russia and they about the Philippines? We have a lot of things to learn from each other and for as long as the Philippine News Agency will not accept investments from shady source I do not think that news exchanges will have any impact on our security at all.

By the way Sputnik news agency has regional offices in Washington, Beijng, Singapore, London Cairo and Edinburg. So what are we so scared of?

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.