P-Noy should have ordered a news black-out in the early part of the hostage situation. There are two risks involved: Risking media relationship or risking the lives of the hostages and country’s interests (economy, tourism, international ties, OFWs…). The latter is an extreme risk.
Although the news black-out may be against the essence of democracy (Press freedom), he will just have to deal with the local media relations after. But by choosing this option, there would have been more chances for the hostages to live, and he would have protected the country’s interest.
But because he is still new in office, he may not be aware of the capabilities of the people working around him- from his advisers to the PNP, who did not expect that the hostage situation would end tragically. No one expected that the crisis management committee would fail. The mistake of the crisis manager was that he did not consider a back-up in case plan A and B failed. They hoped that it will be a happy-ending wherein the Philippines will be applauded for its success in the handling of the hostage-taking.
P-Noy chose a higher risk – by not ordering a news black-out, he risked human lives and the country’s economy. By showing the PNP’s incompetence and questionable security in a live coverage worldwide, international investors would now think twice on investing in our country.
There was no risk and crisis communication specialist who advised P-Noy on a news black-out. According to news report, he had a meeting at Emerald Restaurant with Police Director Leocadio Santiago, Mayor Alfredo Lim and his media advisers. However none of his media advisers are communication specialists- Ricky Carandang, excelled in news reporting, Manuel Roxas excelled in Political Analysis, and Edwin Lacierda, still needs to train more in handling the media- therefore, the President’s men were incapable of deciding on the communication aspects.
If there was an order on a news blackout, the hostages would have lived, P-Noy’s press conference would have been unnecessary. P-Noy will not be heavily criticized internationally for crisis management incompetence or praised if handled successfully . He would not risk our country’s interest. He will just have to deal with media ties after. It would have been a better ending for our country.