The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, an organization that advocates protection of press freedom as well as its responsible practice, on Wednesday said that news anchor Arnold Clavio and GMA Network should apologize for comments he made about members of the Philippine national men’s football team.
In monitoring the case, CMFR found that Clavio, along with fellow “Unang Hirit” host Rhea Santos, “did prejudge” Azkals members Angel Guirado and Lexton Moy. In an article posted on its website, the center said that “Clavio should go beyond pleading for understanding and should forthwith apologize, and so should GMA-7.”
Clavio was commenting on a news report on the sexual harassment allegations raised by former Philippine Olympic Committee president Cristy Ramos against Azkals members Moy and Guirado, who are both foreign-bred Filipinos.
“Hindi ko kayo ka-kultura, kasi wala dito (points to his heart) at wala dito (points to his head),” Clavio said.
“Hindi naman kayo Pilipino, nagpapanggap lang kayong kayumanggi, hindi kayo dito lumaki, mahirap iyun.”
His comments drew sharp criticism online, and the Philippine Football Federation sent a strongly-worded missive to GMA Network asking for a public apology and sanctions versus Clavio. The federation described the host’s comments as “racist, discriminatory, libelous and malicious.”
The network denied the charges, and stood by Clavio’s comments.
CMFR, however, called Clavio’s comments “a rare case of ‘my-brown-skin-is more-Filipino-than-yours’ chauvinism.”
The group also scored GMA-7 for carrying on “the seamless joining of news and commentary,” which it called “one of the worst practices of broadcasting in the Philippines.” Calling it confusing for viewers and listeners, the CMFR said that the format “was very likely to have convinced them that the guilt of Moy and Guirado was established on the sole basis of the complaint’s having been made.”
The network defended Clavio’s comments by saying that they were part of unscripted commentary reflecting his opinion, and was not part of a news report.
“They should also seriously review the practice of merging commentary with news in practically the same breath,” said CMFR.
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