VALENCIA CITY (MindaNews / 1 April) – In the upcoming elections, the problem has worsened. It is not just “vote buying” anymore, but “vote selling.”
Rowena Paraan, chairperson of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), said during a training on election reporting here Monday that there are now groups of voters selling their votes to candidates. Whichever candidate is willing to pay more, gets the votes.
“If people are already selling their votes, something really wrong is going on,” she added.
Paraan said there is a big difference between vote buying and vote selling, because in the latter, it is the voters who come to politicians and set the conditions.
She said they are now getting more reports of citizens demanding payment from candidates.
She added that the issue of vote selling is among the under reported topics in the media’s coverage of the elections. She said she got the information from reporters and other sources in her trainings in provinces around the country.
Paraan said journalists should consider the subject in their coverage of the 2013 elections.
“It is a subject worth investigating by journalists,” she noted.
She said what is reinforcing the problem is the pronouncement by some sectors, including some Catholic priests, advising people to accept money offered by politicians as long as they vote with their conscience.
About 33 reporters attended the training organized by NUJP-Bukidnon. Among the constraints cited by reporters in a workshop during the training was lack of proper training and preparation in covering elections.
The other constraints or threats to journalists in covering the 2013 elections include lack of logistical support; the power deficit as a threat; security threats, including harassment and violence against journalists; and the problem created by block-timers in the radio, who are sometimes backed by candidates. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)