AFP journalist's report on hostage-taking draws criticism

A news article of Agence France-Presse (AFP) entitled “Philippines says tribal gunmen free 12 hostages” posted on Yahoo! News on Wednesday has drawn flak from readers. The words used by the journalist were apparently inappropriate or offensive.

Journalist Cecil Morella of AFP news agency reported about the release of 12 hostages in the hostage-taking incident that took place in the town of Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur, which peacefully ended in 6 days.

Morella wrote, “Negotiators convinced the near-illiterate gunmen from the forest-dwelling Manobo tribe to let the group go in exchange for fair treatment of a relative jailed for kidnap...”

She further posted, “Five Manobo gunmen seized 15 teachers and children on the largely lawless southern island of Mindanao on Saturday in a bid to get the government to free Ondo Perez, a jailed relative.”

Netizens who were able to read the news article reacted violently.

Yahoo! user “deNzzio” commented, “HOY CECIL MORELLA/AFP NEWS, MAG ARAL KA MUNA NG TAMANG PAG GAMIT NG SALITA, PA ENGLISH ENGLISH KA PA MUKHANG DI MO NAMAN NAIINTINDIHAN ANG SINASABI MO OR SADYANG MAL-EDUKADA KA,,,... HOW DID YOU DESCRIBED A MANOBO? "near-illiterate gunmen from the forest-dwelling Manobo tribe"? Alam mo Cecil, isa kang mal edukadang, nag aral pero di ginamit ang pinag aralan,, may ethics ka ba? "Gunmen did not understand legal processes"? Are you sure? or youre just stupid, coz it looks like you yourself cannot understand a simple process of not under estimating people you barely know in a place that im sure youve never been. Another "largely lawless southern island of Mindanao"? Have you been there? you @#$%. Let me inform you that until now, mindanao is still a christian majority island... ive been to Jolo, Ive been to siasi, bongao, sitangkai, sibutu, i have studied in zamboanga city and davao city and then here in manila, and guess what? not much a difference, mindanao issues are only over reacted news by stupid media people like you, to tell you the truth, its safer to walk around south cotabato than to walk along recto manila.. Mag resign ka muna Cecil at bumalik ka sa college, mag major kg ng Ethics!!!!!!”

Another Yahoo! user that goes by the nickname “WarBeasT” posted the comment, “Sino ba yang si Cecil Morella ng AFP News na nagsasabi na "largely lawless southern island of Mindanao"? unfair journalism yan ah!!! hindi naman buong Mindanao or lahat ng probinsya sa Mindanao may mga gulo o terrorism na nagaganap!!! THAT'S UNPROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM! that's contradictory to the universal journalism code! subukan nya munang tumira sa Mindanao bago sya magsabi na ganyan ang situation... that's the problem with media, especially taga-Luzon na media... pag nagkagulo kahit sa isang maliit na barrio lang or lungsod sa isla ng Mindanao, ang nirereport nila sa healdines for example eh "WAR IN MINDANAO" or "GULO SA MINDANAO"... ano ba yan????!!!! eh bakit kung sa Luzon naganap ang gulo, bakit mas accurate ang headline nila kung saang probinsya o region naganap ang insidente???? UNFAIR JOURNALISM!!!”

It seems the writer and her style of writing has caught more attention than the news itself? What do you think?