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Manip à Manille24/11/2005
This column comes to you from Manila. And as you know, even while travelling to exotic parts of the world, I'm always on the lookout for interesting media stories for you. While I was sitting beside the pool at the Peninsula Hotel yesterday, an article in The Philippine Star caught my eye. The headline said : Palace stands by criticism of the media.
As you may know, the president of the Philippines is Gloria Arroyo (the fourth most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes magazine) whose government is disliked by most Filipinos - especially taxi drivers, in my experience. The government is regarded as corrupt, which is difficult to deny when you see the huge gap between rich and poor here. But at least the media is still free. So it was probably not wise of Arroyo to lash out at local journalists, saying they should shed their « bad boy » image and become instruments for the country's growth, rather than criticising her all the time. Needless to say, the media were infuriated by this, and lambasted Arroyo even more. They fear an attempt at media control, which is always step in the direction of dictatorship. I rather liked the comment by a rival politician, who said that if Arroyo didn't want to attract the bad boys of the media, she should stop behaving like such a bad girl. Asian English is so precise.
And by the way, everyone in Manila speaks English, even the very poor : an interesting lesson for certain European countries.