Even if I'm not involved directly in the issue, I am compelled to react to Mr. Lito Zulueta's
Jan. 10 letter to the editor in Business World titled "Who will watch the watchdog?
wrote in reaction to Luis Teodoro's Jan. 5 column article titled "Rule makers and rule breakers" where he
stressed "the citizens' right to an unbiased, accurate and fair report on a matter of public concern."
According to Teodoro, the conflict of interest is apparent as Zulueta is a faculty member of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (UST).
Jan. 10 letter to the editor, Zulueta
tried to debunk Teodoro's arguments by, among others, justifying the absence of a public disclosure of his
association with UST
: "I have always considered my links to UST
as perfectly obvious to the people who should matter in this case - the editorial authorities of PDI, who presumably perform the gate-keeping functions that stem and check the biases of my articles."
In the context of journalism ethics, disclosure is necessary not only to the editors but also to the audience.
Public disclosure is important because the people deserve to know relevant information, including potential conflict of interest, as they try to make informed choices.
In other words, Zulueta
should re-define what he
referred to as "the people who should matter in this case."
should know It is only through proper disclosure that the audience could help make sense of an author's or media organization's biases, whether real or imagined.
Since this article is about disclosure, please allow me to conclude with a somewhat kilometric one: Teodoro is a colleague at UP and I also know personally Zulueta of UST.