Take the viewpoint and standpoint for truth and fairness for the people

This is the author’s keynote speech at the launch of the book “Defending Journalism” at the Pinnacle Hotel in Davao City today, November 18. The book was published by the International Media Support in Denmark. It includes a chapter on the Philippines, written in cooperation with the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communications and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. The launch was attended by about 60 journalists from all over Mindanao representing eight NUJP chapters. NUJP Directors, the AIJC and the International Federation of Journalists also attended the event, which is part of the commemoration of the eighth anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre in Ampatuan Town, Maguindanao in November 23, 2009.

A lawyer by training, Zarate started his journalistic career as a member of the campus press under the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. While studying to become a lawyer, he was a reporter for the Media Mindanao News Service and Malaya. He is currently an officer of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and a former member of the NUJP.

Rep. Karlos Ysagani Zarate with IMS representative Ranga Kalansoorija with a copy of the book ‘Defending Journalism’


Keynote Speech

Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate – Bayan Muna Partylist

18 November 2017

Ruby Room, Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City


It has been said that those in power and the media have always been at odds.

Whether arrayed in settings under repressive governments, or immoderate corporate greed, or the hegemonic influence and intervention of big countries, or, even under the depredations of society’s anti-democratic institutions, members of the media would often ruffle the hair of the powers-that-be.

Thus, it is also journalism that is first in the crosshairs in times of heightened repression.  Indeed, journalism was, and still is, a dangerous profession, especially under a world order where economic and political powers are controlled by a few.

That your profession –nay, our profession, is dangerous is perhaps an apt testament to the immortality of an idea, and how, when it is planted into the minds of the people, threatens to topple even the most well-entrenched status quo.  Indeed, people, journalists, could be killed, but the idea lives on.

Colleagues and friends, today, I raise my pen as we salute and celebrate the launching of a very timely book that talks about how journalists around the world – especially in those critical, conflicted and security-challenged areas – are managing to overcome the odds pitted against them.

Hearty congratulations are due to the International Media Support (IMS), as well as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Asian Institute of Journalism (AIJ), the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) and all the people who made the publication of “Defending Journalism” a reality.

In these challenging and still perilous times for the media, a book that chronicles the state of press freedom, and, how media practitioners had adapted to the conditions of their work, certainly will not only provide insights for other journalists around the globe for them to be on guard of the risks of their vocation, but, also will serve as a cautionary tale on the dangers and perils in society with a suppressed press.

From the rapidly flourishing media in Afghanistan despite attacks, to the increasingly  repressive government in Indonesia, and, to some degree now, even  in the Philippines, to the challenges of caste and tribe lines in Nepal, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to the political instability and internal conflicts in Colombia and Nepal, to the violent extremism in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and, to the profit-seeking and self-serving interests of big business and media moguls who control media’s vast infrastructure,  the book  that we are launching today provides an encompassing range of issues and  concerns,  and,  the  adversities that the media faces today.

Despite the geographic, political, and economic disparities among the seven (7) countries cited in this book project, yet, may I cite three (3) common threads or similarities that are very apparent.

Foremost is the fact that “freedom of the press” does not genuinely exist in its truest sense in any of the countries cited, despite legislations and other edicts supposedly to ensure its respect and exercise.  The media is dominated, controlled, and/or suppressed by government, its security forces, paramilitary organizations, organized crime and other vested interest groups.

Second is that women in the media also suffer yet another layer of marginalization in the form of labor discrimination and sexual abuse.

Lastly, violence against the media takes place with impunity in all the seven (7) countries, particularly in Asia.   I need not cite the particulars here, but, suffice it to say that, as aptly observed in this book, the past five (5) years or so “have been some of the bloodiest for journalist and media workers.”

However, despite these odds, journalism in these countries is thriving. Even with the turmoil brought by regime changes, the rise and fall of monarchs, of war and peace and everything in between, the media persisted in these countries, and, even expanded. To communicate, truly, is part of being human.

It continues to be our source of inspiration to know that there are people who will defy repression by pushing for a freer press even if it cost their liberty and even lives.

The Book cited UNESCO’s report of 827 journalists to have lost their lives in the course of the last decade, or, at least one (1) casualty every five (5) days, all in the pursuit of bringing information to the public. Adding to these are the countless other violations endured by media workers like kidnapping, arbitrary detention, torture, harassment, and seizure of property.

This is why it is heartening   to see that despite the perils, journalists still prowl the streets, the battlegrounds, the slums, the mansions, the Halls of Congress, the parliaments of the streets, the urban jungle and the mountain ranges, if only to capture and report on the strife, poverty, injustice, and the people’s struggles and realities.

To see injustice, to be moved, touched, or be disgusted by what one sees, and through words invoke the same emotions onto others, and perhaps, even convince them to act upon it — the media has its own cogent power.  Such a power, though, I must emphasize, carries not only great responsibility, but also,    old and emerging dangers.  Such a power poses a real threat, “a clear and present danger” to the status quo.

In this light, it is very important that in “defending journalism”, we must all come together.  Justice and protection mechanisms, the involvement of civil society and peoples’ organizations, and,  the journalist’  organizations all play  important and  crucial roles in protecting the lives of journalists, as well as for press freedom to thrive, more importantly in the subject countries of this Book.

Here in the Philippines, journalists and media workers are once again living in very challenging times.  While we have now a President that repeatedly denounced the killing of journalists and vowed to prosecute the perpetrators, yet, on the other hand, the spate of extrajudicial killings in the past year or so has only even reinforced the notion that the state of impunity is still running amuck in our country today.

Some of you were among the first responders to the thousands of mostly poor killed in the past months as a result of the government’s “bloody war against drugs.”

You did not only witness deaths but also the anguish of the victims’ mothers, fathers, wives and husband, their sons and daughters their loved ones.  And, apparently there was also that hope that you could capture, even interpret, the abysmal pain and anger in your stories and photos.

Yes, it is the media, I submit, that should also be alarmed first by the militarist and fascist solutions to the myriad problems that our country faced.

There is perhaps no sector that has the best memory of the terror unleashed by the dictatorial Marcos regime than the media. Newspapers, TV and radio stations were shut down. A Ministry of Information reminiscent of an Orwellian dystopia was put up in its stead. From there, a stream of disinformation– fake news, as we call them today — and praise releases ensued.  And, in its stead, only censored or approved texts and photos are allowed to be published.

I am proud to say that the Philippine press were undaunted by the tyrannical rule in the past.  For even as the government clamped down on the media, around Marcos buzzed the mosquito press, biting at his soft spots. I believe that the same undaunted spirit still persists today,  even though, ironically, here we are now, gathering in a place where a state of martial law is currently still  in place.

We are, of course, also comforted by the fact that in our country today, monitoring and reporting threats and abuses versus journalists are now being ably done and responded to by strong organizations of journalists, like the NUJP, and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility or the CMFR, the Alternative Media group, among others. These organizations, which have solid and credible reputations, have the capacity to raise awareness and advocacies for the defense of journalists under threat or attack.  They have also a record of maximizing the use of the Philippine’s legal systems and expanding their reach and influence to similar-minded organizations here and abroad.

However, colleagues and friends, we all know that to monitor violations and enable your ranks to guard against attacks should not be the only endgame in this quest to “defend journalism”.   In the Philippines, for instance, no one is apparently safe in a society monopolized by a ruling few and who have all the resources to crush anybody that stands in their way.

Next week, on the 23rd of November, marks the eighth anniversary of the single deadliest attack against journalists in the history, the Ampatuan Massacre, in which 57 individuals were murdered, including 32 journalists and media workers. More journalists have been killed since then – 40 and still counting.

I was in London in November 23, 2011 as a speaker, together with then IFJ Chair Jim Boumelha, on a forum about the Ampatuan Massacre sponsored by Amnesty International and the Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines. It was also during that time when the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), a global network of civil society organizations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression, declared 23 November as the International Day to End Impunity, to mark the 2009 Ampatuan massacre, now considered as emblematic of the the state of impunity that reigns still in our country.

Colleagues, yes, we strive for a society that does not persecute its media and its people, for a government and justice system that protects the people, and ensures them of their civil and political rights, including the right to information. We strive for a time that this book –Defending Journalism– would be less relevant, but probably, only to remind people the dangers of a suppressed press.

My fellow journalists, at this juncture, let me then challenge you to take the viewpoint and standpoint for truth and fairness for the people.

I made this challenge in the context that most, if not all,  media infrastracture in our country, and even elsewhere, are now owned by big business and vested interest groups.  More than ever, the challenge for a truly independent press is paramount.

It is undeniable, too, that there still exist today in our midst colonial and elitist, even anti-poor and anti-left biases and influences that thrive and even dominate our media landscape.   Our challenge then is to be truthful, balanced and be pro-people in our reportage

Also,  we all know that rich and powerful system and practices of bribing and corrupting many media practitioners  are a scourge of the profession.   Along with defending this noble profession, we have to continuously strive for a professional, corruption-free practice of journalism.

Finally, we should realize that the power of the Fourth Estate is impotent when severed from the people. We should guard our ranks from the same oppressive structures that shackled the rest of our people. It is in telling the stories of our people, the poor and marginalized especially, expose the oppressive, corrupt, and, tyrannical, that we truly advance the cause of defending journalism.  And only in the elimination of these oppressive systems that we can realize a truly free press. #


Global conference asks ASEAN to stop attacks vs women journalists

An ongoing international conference of women media workers called on the leaders of Southeast Asian nations to uphold media freedom and stop the attacks on their colleagues, saying these often come from governments themselves and politicians’ supporters.

The 37th International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) biennial conference in Quezon City said such attacks are often political persecution that endanger women journalists.

“Over the last few years, we note the increasing number of attacks against journalists, whether in print, TV,  broadcast or online, in this part of the world,” IAWRT International President and Swedish broadcaster Gunila Ivarsson told local reporters.

“The IAWRT also notes that online media women are subject to attacks at three times the rate of their male colleagues,” she said.

Ivarsson said such attacks are especially true in the Philippines, host of the 31st ASEAN Summit, which ranks fifth in the 2017 Global Impunity Index by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“Since 1986, the ‘restoration of democratic institutions’ in the Philippines, 178 journalists have been killed, five of them under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Ivarsson said.

IAWRT Philippine Chapter officer and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines national director Ronalyn Olea said that in the Philippines, online trolls supporting President Rodrigo Duterte even encourage the raping of Filipino journalists who publish reports critical of the government.

Olea named Al Jazeera’s Jamela Alindogan, interaksyon’s Lottie Salarda and ABS-CBN’s Inday Espina Varona as among the local journalists victimized by threats and harassments under the current government.

The IAWRT conference said it will discuss ways to uphold press freedom and protect journalists from murderous killings, harm, threats and harassment worldwide.

The conference opened a day before the start of the conference of 11-member nation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its partner-countries, including the United States of America.

The conference said threats to press freedom and attacks against women journalists come from all directions, including Southeast Asian governments.

“In Cambodia, the Cambodia Daily stopped publication due to government pressure, according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.  In Myanmar, the Telecommunications Act and the unlawful Associations Act have been used by the government to arrest journalists,” IAWRT said.

“Cases of sedition had been filed against journalists in Thailand,” the group added.

“Women’s rights and media freedom are human rights that must be safeguarded and protected at all times,” IAWRT said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Encounter: Disaster Response Radio

By Nonee Walsh

As members of the IAWRT board disembark from the ferry at Hagnaya Port in Cebu Province, Philippines, they longingly admire the light green ocean and white sand beach lined with palm trees which barely hide thatched-hut beach resorts. There is little evidence of the devastation of cyclone Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) which hit this island hard and killed at least six thousand people across the Philippines, just four years ago.

These young palms on Bantayan Island also hide the story of the survivors relocated from this idyllic spot.

This is a story which veteran journalist and IAWRT Philippines member Sonia Capio and I partially extract from Jenalyn D. Santilalan, our Disaster Response Radio community link person who joins us in the tricycle-truck taking us inland. The land upon which those beach resorts sit used to house fisherfolk and their families. For their ‘safety’ and despite protests, they have been relocated to villages further inland. We are heading to one of these villages, where the people will do a narrowcast and we will share some of our media expertise with community radio volunteers from the Eastern and Central Visayas regions.

The rains have only recently stopped and there have been floods again, but there has not been any repeat of the torrential typhoon rains. We pass through the town and villages which Jenalyn tells us were flattened in the typhoon. The people of Bantayan Island waited ten days for any government help to arrive.

After an hour, the tricycle driver refuses to take us any further on the ever-narrowing pothole-filled road, so we walk the rest of the way through one village to Upper Patao.

Here, in a tiny area between one-room houses built from a combination of concrete, bamboo and corrugated iron, a green sheet, adorned with spangled purple writing, says ‘WELCOME VISITORS!’ The people, women, men and many curious children, greet us with necklaces which they have made from beach shells. Mine is mounted on cardboard recycled from a mosquito coil box. A dining table covered in floral plastic is about to be covered with a feast of local scallops, jellied seaweed, fish and rice.

Despite multiple language differences, including the local dialect, Cebu-anon (Sebuanon) which many of our Philippines link people don’t fully understand, it is clear that everyone is so pleased IAWRT International has come. They have put a significant effort into hosting us. I laugh when I see Angelmae, a tiny 18-month-old girl, taking scallops from her mother’s plate. She impatiently throws the shells on the ground when she can’t quickly extract the seafood knowing she will be told-off by her mother, Benjie. Such things are universal.

IAWRT International Board members trek to Upper Patao, Bantayan Island in Cebu Province, Philippines. (Photo by Nonee Walsh/IAWRT)

After lunch, we take a narrow walking path to the new, one room, day care centre/school newly build by a Philippine non-government organisation.  The lush area is overgrown with lantana, but young banana trees are finally almost ready to bear fruit. Taller palm trunks taper to remnant dead fronds, testament to the ferocity of the typhoon.

On the way I take the hand of a wizened lady in greeting. Ma Perla Mata, is one of the trainee community radio volunteers. Later, in the narrowcast to the village, she says that she is a peasant finding it increasingly difficult to eke out a living because the sea water inundation has made her soil too salty.

The lack of roads to the relocated village is raised in that narrowcast by tricycle driver, Eddie Fernandez. He says after the people were forced to relocate, the promised aid money did not materialise to provide social services or basic roads. The screams of IAWRT treasurer Violet Gonda demonstrated the hazards first-hand, as an attempt to assist with her luggage almost went wrong when men rushed to stop a small tricycle carrier from tipping over.

Without internet access IAWRT training focused on basic principles of filmmaking and radio using smartphones, simple communications principles of journalism ethics and gender sensitivity. Iphigenie Marcoux-Fortier takes off a group to participate in making a film about the project. Quickly the young participants learn to direct the decisions about how they are to be portrayed.  We also focused on the privacy dangers and vulnerabilities of using Facebook, the Philippines most popular social media platform. All this was ably assisted by translation into Tagalog by Raymund B Villanueva, the director for radio of Kodao Productions, one of the partners in the community radio project which IAWRT supports.

Raymund is a veteran press and broadcast journalist, a former economic reporter who left the mainstream because he could not find “the grand notion of journalism”. We hear the translations liberally expanded with local examples, and good humor. “What we are trying to do here, as communicators and advocates of people’s communication rights, is to look for something a little bit bigger,” he says. “They should use these communication rights [as] a way for them to make it easier and faster for them to get out of poverty, to be involved in governance … so that whatever development project the government has it should look their way more often.”

Sometime translation is hardly necessary, when our star safety trainer, IAWRT board member Abeer Saady, warns participants about the emotional impact on the citizen journalist and the victim who may be a member of your local community. There was an emotional response to play acting by Abeer as a frantic mother and Violet the journalist, demonstrating the wrong (and cruel) way for a journalist to deal with victims, and the better way. The possible deaths of four children (which Abeer does not have) brought some close to tears.

Their faces showed genuine experience as she outlined the difficult choices they might have to make when they personally know victims. They brighten a little as she assures them that being a journalist is important work which is helping, by giving a voice to people affected by disaster, broadcasting their need for expert help.

There is a similarly strong response when IAWRT President Gunilla Ivarsson, assisted by Sonia Capio, advises on simple rules about speaking for all by proactively ensuring women have their say. The audience response showed that female participants clearly had stories to tell and were determining to be heard. These are key messages for a community hoping to have a transmitter, next year, which allows them to broadcast to the whole Island.

The afternoon training ends with two narrowcasts, the first in Cebuano anchored by the Radyo Sugbuanon volunteers, Jenalyn and Mariel V. Villamor. The second half-hour is hosted by Sonia and Raymund in English, introducing IAWRT as an organisation to the community.

Earlier, the community leader Orly Golisao asks how the volunteers can gain more confidence in radio. But he does not hesitate, beginning with an appeal to the Philippines government not to deal with the lives of the people living on the shores of Bantayan Island – the poor who did not have the title to their land – in such a cavalier fashion. Under the anxious eye of chief trainer Jola Diones-Mamangun, Ma Perla Mata, Eddie Fernadez, and Henry Coyus speak about the post typhoon experience of their constituents.

Much to the Board’s surprise, the generosity of the Patao people had no bounds. We track back to an open grassed area behind the village strung with lights. A new banner declares it is a solidarity night. It seems every woman man and child is there. An enormous table is groaning with a communal feast of more delicious sea food and rice laid out on banana leaves. We are treated to a evening of singing and performances. In her final thank you (salamat) Gunilla tells them how the sharing of food and the workshops and community generosity would remain in her heart for a long time.

Two motorcycles light the way along the walking track and the people offer to carry our bags back to the road in the pitch-dark night. There is lightning in the sky but the few drops of rain on the humid night have not dampened the event.

Iphigenie Marcoux-Fortier draws kids around her as he films the solidarity night prepared by the community. (Photo by Nonee Walsh/IAWRT)

Iphigenie’s filming has turned her into a child magnet and she chats to a group surrounding her about her country, Canada – how cold it is now with the snow. It has rained and the holes in the tracks past the outer village have filled up, they skip nimbly, but I choose the wrong side and add a bit of slippery mud to my sandals.

Then as another small sprinkle of rain falls, they begin singing “Rain, rain go away, come again another day” she asks if they don’t like rain, but they don’t answer and continue onto the next verse. #

(Australian Nonee Walsh is the online editor of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT). She is attending IAWRT’s 37th Biennial Conference in Quezon City from November 9-11 in Quezon City, Philippines.

This article first appeared here. Kodao is co-sponsoring the conference.)

Journalists slam bill wanting jail time for generic use of the word ‘Lanao’

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) slammed a bill at the House of Representatives wanting to jail journalists who generically use the word “Lanao” to refer to both Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur Provinces.

In a position paper, the group “strongly urge[d] the House Committee on Public Information to reject Lanao del Norte 1st District Rep. Mohamad Khalid Q. Dimaporo’s House Bill 4780 proposing jail time of up to six years and fines of up to P100,000 for journalists if they fail to distinguish between the Lanao provinces in their reports.

“If passed, the bill would violate Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, to wit: ‘No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,’” NUJP said.

At a House hearing last last week, Dimaporo said Iligan City and Lanao del Norte suffer whenever reports use the generic name “Lanao” when these refer to Lanao del Sur because of the ongoing conflict in Marawi City.

“We lose potential investors because they think that Lanao del Norte is also involved in the ongoing war in our southern neighbor,” Dimaporo explained.

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) in the same hearing also opposed the measure.

“Such practice is only probably due to space and time limitations and not malice,” the KBP representative said.

Dimaporo admitted during the hearing he failed to consider talking first to journalists and media outfits before filing his bill.

The NUJP said Congress should not readily craft laws punishing journalists, adding good journalism could not be legislated.

“Because journalism, while a profession, is also an extension of the right to free expression in the service of the people’s right to know, we believe it is the duty of the state to encourage and support good journalism instead of seeking to craft laws that would only serve to stifle or force into conformity the freedom of the press and of expression,” the NUJP said.

The Union also took exception to Iloilo Rep. Sharon Garin’s recommendation for a review of laws that may protect “bad journalists.”

“We maintain that no such laws exist, only laws that are invariably used to suppress good journalism, such as the criminal libel law,” the NUJP said.

“We reiterate our long-standing demand to decriminalize libel,” it added.

Citing other bills before the committee saying the Philippines is among the countries with the most number of media killings, NUJP said journalists need more laws to protect and promote – not suppress – good journalism and free expression. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP to Piñol: Filing civil complaint vs Baguio journo in Cotabato harassment

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) described as harassment agriculture secretary Manny Piñol’s two-pronged cyber libel case against Baguio journalist Frank Cimatu over a Facebook post.

In a statement, the NUJP said Piñol’s move illustrates how the law is often used not to seek redress as to harass perceived foes, and why the offense should be decriminalized.

“It is doubly unfortunate that Sec. Pinol, who makes much of the fact that he is a former journalist, should even think of unreasonably punishing a former colleague by filing a complaint in a venue on the opposite side of the country as Cimatu,” the NUJP said.

Piñol filed a criminal complaint in Quezon City Wednesday against Cimatu over his September 24 Facebook post.

“Agri sec got rich by P21-M in 6 months. Bird flu pa more” Cimatu’s post said.

The official also announced he will file a civil complaint in Kidapawan City in Cotabato province.

“I am a government official but I will not be a punching bag to reporters like Cimatu. It is time to teach people like him a lesson,” Piñol in turn posted on his Facebook page.

Cimatu declined to comment further on the development, saying he has yet to receive copies of the complaints.


“…That where one of the offended parties is a public officer whose office is in the City of Manila at the time of the commission of the offense, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the City of Manila or of the city or province where the libelous article is printed and first published, and in case such public officer does not hold office in the City of Manila, the action shall be filed in the Court of First Instance of the province or city where he held office at the time of the commission of the offense or where the libelous article is printed and first published…”–RA 4363 (1965), amending Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code 


The NUJP however said Pinol’s threat to file the civil aspect of his complaint in Mindanao is prohibited by law, specifically 1965’s Rep. Act No. 4363, which amended Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code which orders that public officers should file their complaints where they hold office.

Piñol primarily holds office in Quezon City.

“It seems evident that a ranking government official who seeks to compel a journalist from Baguio City to travel all the way to Kidapawan is engaged not in an attempt to seek redress but to inflict a punishment that is way too cruel and excessive for the perceived offense, which is yet, we stress, to be proven in court that it could well enter into a gross abuse of the powers of his position,” the NUJP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Philippine women broadcasters elect new set of officers, to host int’l confab in November

An association of women broadcasters in the Philippines elected a new set of officers ahead of its hosting of an international biennial conference in the country this November.

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT)—Philippine Chapter held a meeting Saturday in Quezon City and elected its officers as it prepares for one of the most significant gathering of women broadcasters in the world this year.

Jola Diones Mamangun of Kodao Productions was re-elected as chapter president, along with Miriam College’s Lynda Garcia as vice president, DWNE’s Sonia Capio as secretary, and Bulatlat’s Ronalyn Olea as Treasurer.

People’s Alternative Media Network filmmaker Ilang-Ilang Quijano, Farmers’ Development Center radio broadcaster Marvie Matura and Kodao’s Yanni Roxas were elected as board members.

Mamangun said the officers and the chapter will focus on organizing the 37th IAWRT Biennial Conference as well as continue its aggressive recruitment of new members, especially in Mindanao.

The chapter shall also continue to actively participate in the programs and projects of IAWRT International.

IAWRT is a global organization of women in electronic and allied media that aims to ensure women’s views and values in mass media. It enjoys a consultative status with the United National Economic and Social Council.

In the Philippines, IAWRT is also in the midst of establishing the country’s first-ever women-led disaster risk reduction community radio station in Cebu Province in partnership with Kodao Productions and the Farmers’ Development Center in Central Visayas.

In conjunction with one of IAWRT-International’s core programs of providing trainings and workshops, the Philippine chapter also organizers such activities for local women broadcasters. # (Edna Cahilog-Villanueva / Photos by Jomaline Diones Mamangun)

IAWRT Philippines officers 2017-2019. (From left) Board members Marvie Matura, Yanni Roxas, Ilang-Ilang Quijano; treasurer Ronalyn Olea; secretary Sonia M. Capio; vice president Lynda Garcia; and president Jola Diones-Mamangun.


ASEAN community journalists talk about issues and challenges in Bangkok forum

Bangkok, Thailand Community media practitioners from all over Southeast Asia are holding a four-day workshop and forum in this city from July 10-13, 2017 organized by the CFI Cooperation Medias and Foundation for Community Educational Media.

The forum is a venue for the discussion of issues and challenges faced by community journalists, bloggers and broadcasters and hopes to foster collaborations in the region, the organizers said.

Present are the delegates from the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia, as well as organizers from the French CFI Cooperation Medias.

The delegates shared their views on various issues such as fake news, harassment, red-baiting, censorship and freedom of expression in the plenary sessions,.

Kodao Productions’ Raymund Villanueva was among the first speakers in the forum who talked about the characteristics and business model of alternative community radio stations in the Philippines.

“The alternative we try to present the most is the voice of the suppressed, repressed and oppressed.  We believe they are not voiceless, more so when they are organized.  It is just that they are not being listened to; we are here to help amplify their voices,” Villanueva said in his presentation.

In the next sessions, resource persons from various fields and countries will be tackling community media as bridges enabling social inclusion and links, national minorities, citizen journalism, women’s rights, and the youth.

Alternative journalist and filmmaker Bernadette de la Cuadra of Tudla Productions for her part shall talk about Youth and Community Media tomorrow, the fourth day of the forum.

This will be followed by series of thematic workshops in September and October 2017 and the closing ceremonies in January 2018. # (Edgie Uyanguren of The Breakaway Media for Kodao Productions)

PAHAYAG: “Di po laro ang pagbabalita, Mr. President!”

Mawalang-galang po, mahal na Pangulo. Sinasadya ng National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) na gamitin ang pambansang wika sa pahayag na ito upang bigyang sapat na halaga ang kaliwanagan sa komunikasyon at tiyakin na mauunawaan ng lahat ang nais naming ipaabot.

Sa inyong panayam sa midya nung Huwebes, muli mong sinabi na “nilalaro” mo kami at “mahilig” kang “magbitaw ng kalokohan.” Kung kaya, pananagutan ng mga mamamahayag ang pagsusuri sa bawat mong salita, kung totoo ba o hindi, at kami ang dapat sisihin kung ‘di tugma ang aming ulat sa mensahe na nais ninyong iparating.

Ipagpaumanhin po ninyo, subalit tuwiran kaming tumututol sa inyong pananaw. Hindi dahil ayaw naming suriin ang inyong mga salita — dahil kasama po ito sa aming gawain — kundi, bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas, kayo po ang may pananagutan at tungkuling maging malinaw sa lahat ng inyong pahayag sa sambayanan at sa buong mundo.

May mga pagkakataon naman po para sa biro o sa kalokohan. Subalit dahil kayo ang Pangulo, ang inyong mga pahayag sa publiko ay aming itinuturing — at dapat lamang ituring — na patakaran ng inyong pamahalaan. Dagdag pa, marami rin sa inyong masusugid na tagasuporta ang nagtuturing ding atas at utos maging ang inyong mga biro at gamitin ang mga ito bilang dahilan para sa mga karumaldumal na hangarin ng mga kriminal at tiwali sa loob at labas ng gobyerno. Sa ganitong kalagayan, aming kagalang-galang na ginoo, hindi kaya mainam na huwag mo na kaming laruin at bawasan na ang hilig ninyong magbitiw ng kalokohan?

Ipagpatawad po ninyo , mahal na Pangulo, kung amin namang ibinabalik sa inyo ang inyong sinabi: Kung hindi malinaw ang inyong mga pahayag at hindi malinaw kung ito ay biro o seryoso, nasa inyo po at wala sa amin o sa taumbayan, ang problema. Seryoso po kami sa aming gawain at tungkulin naming ituring na seryoso at iulat ng tapat ang anumang namumutawi sa bibig ng Pangulo.

Huwag po ninyong baliktarin ang kaayusan ng pananagutang maging malinaw, Mr. President.


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Poet, journalist, teacher Rogelio Ordoñez dies

Prof. Rogelio Ordoñez died this morning due to a lingering liver ailment. He was 76 years old.
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Journalists hold torch parade to mark 6th anniv of Ampatuan Massacre

The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines held a torch parade from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to Mendiola Bridge to mark the 6th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre last November 23. This event followed another march by journalists belonging to the National Press Club earlier that day.

Watch highlights of the parade and listen to the statement given by one of the lawyers of the victims’ families.