Fighting for press freedom
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - September 21, 2019 - 12:00am

It has been decades since the country was placed under martial law. I wasn't born yet then, as well as probably many of those who are reading this piece. All I have heard of are stories of a spiteful past that nobody wants to return to nor remember. It was a time of hardship and pain for the ordinary Filipino; but was also a time of unity and for prayers to arise. You see, the term People Power revolution was coined at this time when people came together to the streets, to march it all out for a form of government that we deserve. It was also at this time that major media outfits were closed, thus, suppressing press freedom.

Fast forward to today, we are now reaping the fruits of the labor of our forefathers. No more dictatorship controlling what comes out or who says what, but as of this time today, it still feels like it. With a little wrong information, a buzz suddenly stirs on ground and online. Bashing has become so easy which could attract a lot of attention. I have known many people who have lost their reputation because of how they were treated online, and the rest is history.

It is very critical for young journalists today to choose what role they must play. Must they be a devil's advocate to suppress the rise of fake news? Or ride on the free use of social media? Either way, they have to make a stand. We need to continue fighting for press freedom. We should not should settle for press releases and follow up interviews, but we must also expose what the government is doing. After all, it has been very basic and taught to us that we are the watchdogs of the government. Without the fourth estate, which is the media, then we will continue to live in the kind of governance where we will be taken advantage of. If there is a vision to live in a Philippines that is world-class, then we must not be scared to put the truth out.

Ultimately, that is what journalism is all about - the truth. Nothing more than the lies that we hear, or the sugarcoats of our news sources. We must know how to ask the right questions and not be in fear to ask them even if it seems redundant to ask such questions. It will be a challenge for the next generation of journalists on how they will be working in the industry, or if they still want to take on this challenge as well. It is a big responsibility of those working in the media today to be clean and abreast so that the young ones will follow suit.

Today we close Press Freedom Week and hope we have all taken into heart the primary reason for this celebration. Cebu has become so iconic in the media scene back when there was no freedom, it should be the same today with the freewill that we have.

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