I am more than honored at being the recipient of the 2019 Titus Brandsma press freedom award. I am accepting it in behalf of the many journalists across the country who, despite physical attacks, death threats, censorship attempts, bans from coverage, whimsical libel suits, and red-baiting continue the necessary task of seeking the truth and reporting it. Most of all am I accepting it in memory of the 165 journalists and media workers who have been killed in this country since 1986 because of their work, among them the 32 killed in the 2009 Ampatuan massacre, the tenth anniversary of which will be on November 23. They deserve the honor more than I do: press freedom is best defended and enriched by journalists’ practicing it and refusing to be silent or silenced.
Truth-telling and accuracy are the fundamental ethical and professional commitments of the alternative press and media in furtherance of the people’s right to know. Truth telling is crucial to the journalistic task of developing among the media audiences the subjective readiness for the changes in society that objective reality so patently demonstrates are needed. Precisely because those in the alternative media are so engaged, they have been harassed, threatened, physically assaulted, and red-baited.
(Keynote speech at the PEN Philippines Conference, December 6-7, 2012)
Founding Chairman Sionil Jose, Chairman Lumbera, Members Of The Board Of Directors Of Philippine PEN, Friends, Ladies And Gentlemen:
A COLLEAGUE at the University of the Philippines thinks the phrase public intellectual redundant, and wonders who may properly be called writers in the Philippine setting. It would seem then that a few definitions are in order.
But we all know who, or what, the writer is. He or she is a poet, an essayist and/or a novelist, as the initials and acronym of this organization suggest. But he or she is also the writer of the editorials and columns, the investigative and explanatory reports that are among the many forms journalism has developed in discharging its public task of describing and interpreting the human environments. In the digital age, the writer is also the blogger who makes it his concern to gather and provide information on issues of citizen concern and to comment on them online.
By Luis V. Teodoro
Professor of Journalism
College of Mass Communication
University of the Philippines
Member, Board of Advisers,
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
(This is a talk Prof. Teodoro delivered at the Press Freedom and Philippine Law Roundtable discussion sponsored by CMFR on December 5, 2006. The book Limited Protection: Press Freedom and Philippine Law, which Prof. Teodoro edited and in which he has an essay called “Understanding the Culture of Impunity” was launched.)
Dismantling the culture of impunity is not really as Quixotic as it sounds. Many of the steps needed to achieve that goal some media advocacy and journalists’ groups like the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the National Union of Journalists have already taken, the killing of journalists and consequent problems having validated to some extent these groups’ efforts– among them engaging the law community and addressing the professional and ethical issues that afflict Philippine journalism– in enhancing the responsible exercise of press freedom.
(Address delivered during the University of the Philippines
College of Mass Communication Commencement Exercises, April 24, 2005.)
If all roads once led to Rome, today all roads lead to the homeland of another empire–into the very belly of the beast itself.
Social Weather Stations tells us that more than a fifth of the population–20 percent, or some 16 million souls– want to leave the country in response to the brutal realities of economic need, in the desire to assure themselves a future staying in the country of their birth cannot give, or in a quest for order the chaos and violence of Philippine society cannot provide.