Vera Files trustee wins 2015 Titus Brandsma Award
(Vera Files) - November 30, 2015 - 11:49pm

MANILA, Philippines - VERA Files trustee Yvonne C. Chua is this year’s Titus Brandsma Philippines awardee for leadership in journalism.

In a ceremony Friday night, Chua was cited for living “the best of both worlds of the academe and media practice.”

The Titus Brandsma Media Center, the media ministry of the Order of the Carmelites in the Philippines, cited Chua’s  award-winning stories on corruption that led to reforms in various government agencies.

It singled out Chua’s “expertise especially in data journalism where she uses data culled from different researches and investigations and use them to give a picture of the different issues like the unexplained wealth of government officials, discrepancies in textbook procurement in public schools, and lack of accountability and transparency in government institution, among others.

A former reporter of the now defunct Daily Express during the Marcos years and  former managing editor of Ang Pahayagang Malaya, she teaches at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

“Aside from her teaching and media stints, Chua has also edited and co-wrote books on investigative reporting while sharing her expertise as member of the editorial advisory board of Asia Pacific Media Educator, a refereed journal of the School of Journalism and Creative Writing of the University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia. She is a member of the Technical Committee for Journalism of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and editorial consultant of Tulay publication for 20 years already,” her citation read.

In her acceptance speech, Chua paid tribute to Filipino journalists who fought against tyrannies, but said that new forms have emerged, and the crusade is “far from over.”

She said the tyranny of impunity is “one of Philippine journalism’s biggest foes today,” with the continuing killings of journalists striking fear not only among practitioners, but also even in the hearts of aspiring journalism students.

Chua also cautioned against misuse of the Internet and social media. “The Internet and social media are wonderful tools, especially for journalism and communication, “ she said. “But we, too, have been witnesses, even victims, of the tyranny of the online majority. For journalists in search of the truth, the challenge to make sense of the chaos and cacophony of information—and misinformation—has become even greater these days.”

She said the Titus Brandsma Awards Philippines award serves as an opportunity for her “to again reflect on the greatness of many journalists who came before us, especially those who strove to thwart the threats to the profession and to the nation.

“But, as important, the award serves as a constant reminder of our responsibility as journalists to continue fighting tyranny, in whatever form, to prevent it from shackling or shattering our freedoms,” she said.

Along with Chua, recipients of the Titus Brandsma Award this year include: renowned speaker and professor Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD, for leadership in social communication; Kodao Productions radio director Raymund Villanueva, for emerging leadership in journalism; North Cotabato broadcaster Abner Francisco for leadership in community communication; and folk singer Gary Granada, for leadership in culture and communication.

Past recipients of the Leadership in Journalism awards include Conrad de Quiros, Luchi Cruz-Valdez, Carolyn Arquillas, Patricio Diaz, Howie Severino, Kara David and Red Batario.

Handed out every two years, the Titus Brandsma Awards honor individuals who have lived out the virtues of martyred Dutch Carmelite priest, journalist and educator Blessed Titus Brandsma.

Born on Feb. 23, 1881, Brandsma  became an outspoken opponent of Nazism when Hitler’s Germany occupied Netherlands in 1940. He led the Catholic press in refusing to print official Nazi publications. He was imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp, where he eventually died by lethal injection.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Nov. 3, 1985 and was declared a “martyr for press freedom.”

ABNER FRANCISCO ACIRC ANG PAHAYAGANG MALAYA ASIA PACIFIC MEDIA EDUCATOR BLESSED TITUS BRANDSMA BRANDSMA CAROLYN ARQUILLAS CHUA DAILY EXPRESS DUTCH CARMELITE JOURNALISM
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