Twitter reactions on @inquirerdotnet four “controversial” photographs of defense witness Demetrio Vicente

When I saw the unflatterring photos of Defense witness Demetrio Vicente, I felt Mr. Vicente was being disrespected. My own father was a stroke victim in 1985. Friends soon avoided him because he could not be understood. It must have been painful to my dad but he didn’t show it.

So I saw my father in Mr. Vicente. It broke my heart to see photos of Mr. Vicente this way.

I then posted the photo and asked “What was the reason for @inquirerdotnet”. He is a stroke victim. Wasn’t 1 photo enough?” @inquirerdotnet told me “Spoke with editors. They said intention wasn’t to make fun. Those were only photos available. @MangPandoy @HecklerForever”

Twitter reactions were all disheartened by the photos. Most expect an apology.

Danilo Arao says it well:

If you ask me, the four “controversial” photographs of the face of Corona impeachment defense witness Demetrio Vicente (who suffered from a stroke) on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s front page today (March 14) do not just violate The Filipino Journalist’s Code of Ethics (“VII. I shall not in any manner ridicule…or degrade…any person”). They also fail to take into account the PDI’s own Canons of Good Taste for Journalists published in The PDI Stylebook (1993). Quoting Claude Cookman of The Miami Herald, the PDI identifies five questions to be asked in deciding whether certain questionable photos should be used. Allow me to quote two relevant ones in this case: (1) What are the readers likely to add or read into their interpretation of the photos’ content? (2) Do the positive reactions for publishing the photos outweigh the almost certain negative reaction they will elicit from a sizeable portion of the readership? To the editors of the PDI: It’s not too late to make a public apology. Thank you and I wish PDI all the best.

@benign0 adds “You’d think then that the people who constitute the self-styled “heroes” of Filipino “freedom of expression” that is the Philippine Media would take care to behave in a manner at least a notch above the politicians they presume to pontificate about in their hallowed pages and lucrative broadcast minutes.”

Compare the photos from Manila Bulletin and Philippine Star versus Inquirer

Even @CMFR said PDI violates its own rules

If the point was to humiliate and ridicule Vicente, not only the publication of the photographs succeeded in doing so. The caption also read “’CHARACTER’ (in quotes) WITNESS The many faces of Demetrio Vicente on the witness stand. He’s no ordinary witness after all. He’s the cousin of the Chief Justice whose wife sold him seven parcels of land in 1990, where he now grows bonsai.”

People on social networking sites found the Inquirer photos “insensitive”, “crass”, “tasteless”, and “mean,” among others. Vicente, who had suffered a stroke, had difficulty speaking during yesterday’s Senate trial.

Inquirer issued a statement on this:

#Inquirer statement on Demetrio Vicente photos
It has come to our attention that our photo of witness Demetrio Vicente on our front page today has offended some of our readers. For this we sincerely apologize. It was not our intention to disparage Mr. Vicente in any way.

But before the Inquirer statement, tweeps found the photos demeaning, insensitive and just crass.