Where is press freedom?
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - February 16, 2019 - 12:00am

I used to think this job was all glitz and glamour. The glory of having your name at the byline or the extro of a report was very fulfilling when it all started. I used to be excited when I got interesting assignments, let alone seeing my photo or face on TV or the newspaper. Today, I am undecided whether or not this profession will have a future after what we have all witnessed on national television.

 

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa was arrested because of cyber libel. To their defense, the arrest was not legal. Even the case itself had no basis. Their team was only exposing what they have worked hard for only to find out that they will be behind bars for speaking the truth. It was a very in-depth article with journalists working alongside to expose the anomaly of the then chief justice.

International press bodies have been calling it a "desperate move" of the government to try and silence the media. It gave them a point that there is power in the law despite the freedom of expression and press freedom. If we can't expose what's been going on to the people, then there is no such concept anymore as press freedom.

Where is this anyway? Where did it go? Back then we used to be so free when we spoke and wrote, but to be sure we had to be ethical in everything that we wrote and said. Today, there are many ways to skin a cat and a minute detail could blow up into a full criminal case. I miss being a student when life was easy and nobody was there to judge you for what you said, or even how you looked. Being in the University of the Philippines Cebu taught me to be liberated in my ideas and thoughts, thinking that I could change the world by being in the media. I guess I was wrong.

We cannot go on being blind to the society we live in. We cannot succumb to information fed by poser news reporters in the guise of citizen journalists with no proper identity. What kind of a people would believe anything with many likes and reactions? I guess we are more than that. We have a thinking that goes beyond what is fed to us. Humans are critical thinkers that have public opinion.

Today I am battling with a decision if I would still want to encourage students to join this profession. It is heartbreaking to tell them the truth of it all with their very idealistic mindsets. One must have a brave heart, soul, and mind. It is going to be a tough battlefield and the weak will eventually have to go. Even within the walls that we walk through, there are negative energies that would siphon the enthusiasm in you. Being part of the press is a civic duty, be ready for it. I was once was young, but I got over it. I guess I'll be here for the long haul.

PRESS FREEDOM
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