Masked messages - Public advocacy

The motives behind public service ads are not always as transparent as the messages themselves

 
Published: Saturday 15 February 2003

-- Public Advocacy

The motives behind public service ads are not always as transparent as the messages themselves. Take the example of these two ads culled from The Philippine Star. The one below takes to task corrupt politicians for offering protection to squatter communities thereby keeping them "in the rut." The newspaper itself has prepared the ad. Why is the publication sacrificing prominent space to highlight a social issue, instead of editorialising its concerns? The notice also exhorts voters to "make a stand to make sure these corrupt politicians do not sit in power again." In the other ad watchdog group Consumer & Oil Price Watch criticises Caltex, Shell and Petron, the three biggest oil firms in the Philippines for a "premature" oil price hike. Businessman Raul Concepcion who chairs this watchdog group openly supports government takeover of the oil industry.

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