Pope Francis’ Message on Fake News and Peace for Journalism

The best antidotes to falsehoods are not strategies, but people: people who are not greedy but ready to listen, people who make the effort to engage in sincere dialogue so that the truth can emerge; people who are attracted by goodness and take responsibility for how they use language. If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, namely, journalists, the protectors of news. In today’s world, theirs is, in every sense, not just a job; it is a mission

Message of his Holiness Pope Francis, For World Communications Day, 24 January 2018

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Exposing the truth; Strengthening democracy

The Role of the Media in Philippine Society

By tradition, the media is considered as the voice of the people, the watchdog against government, the biggest obstacle to big business and the vanguard against groups with questionable social interests. Throughout history, media organizations have used pen and ink, sound, pictures and the Internet to advance the cause of the oppressed, the neglected and the forgotten.

In a developing democracy such as the Philippines, the role of the mass media is crucial in ensuring that the interests of the general public are protected against abuses of some of officials of government, exploitation by some commercial entities and manipulation by certain interest groups. Continue reading

The Election (circus) is in town

Supporters of PDP Laban candidate for President Rodrigo Duterte and Nationalista Party candidate for Vice President Alan Peter Cayetano await the arrival of the tandem at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both were invited to CNN Philippines's Town Hall. Photo by KIM Quilinguing.
Supporters of PDP Laban candidate for President Rodrigo Duterte and Nationalista Party candidate for Vice President Alan Peter Cayetano await the arrival of the tandem at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Both were invited to CNN Philippines’s Town Hall. Photo by KIM Quilinguing.

Election season in the Philippines is often described by many to be akin to a circus. With all the colorful campaign paraphernalia, the flamboyant attire of candidates and supporters going about earning the confidence of voters, and all the lively exchanges between political bets on the media, one can easily gather an assessment of vibrant atmosphere the country and its people often find themselves every three years.

While it is difficult to find fault on which group is responsible for the sad state that politics, particularly the elections, have become in the country, how it is now perceived by the average Filipino, as being rowdy, full of hypocrisy, and even as a source of amusement, is shaped by how it is seen on television, reported on the radio and written on the newspapers. Continue reading

Social Media and Philippine Politics

The Increased Synergy of Two Platforms in the 2016 Elections


Internet connection speeds in the Philippines remain one of the slowest in Asia. This limitation however has not stopped Filipinos from using the web and maximizing their use of the applications and service available online.

In the recently concluded 2016 national and local elections, social media platforms were again used by candidates, political parties and interests groups with political, social and economic agenda. The intensity of use however significantly differed from the two previous electoral exercises. Continue reading

Reflections on media killings

A member of the police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) prepares to process the scene of the Maguindanao Massacre in November 2009. Photo from Japan Times (Photo from http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/11/23/asia-pacific/crime-legal-asia-pacific/old-wounds-still-fester-anniversary-philippines-worst-massacre/#.VWO4rE-qqkp)
A member of the police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) prepares for processing the scene of the Maguindanao Massacre in November 2009. Photo from Japan Times.

Growing up with a journalist father has always given me an idea of how risky the profession has been, particularly in the regional or local areas, where political and commercial interests hold sway over how journalists conduct themselves.

Despite those interests, I have also seen my father pursuing stories which he viewed to be necessary for the public good and for the creation of a more just and equitable society. And it was by his example that when I eventually went into journalism where dedication to ferreting out the truth and exerting efforts to balance stories became important aspects in the conduct of the profession.

Still my idealism then, when I went into the profession, was tempered by the reality that journalists in the country can easily be killed. And no amount of beautiful epithets or eulogies can bring back the lives of journalists murdered because of their devotion to revealing the truth. Continue reading

Cop and MNLF guerilla lay down arms briefly for dialogue to free hostages

Although they were held hostage briefly, (Merceditas Hasinon’s) story stands out among the thousands of narratives this eight day standoff has spawned because of what the policeman and the MNLF guerrilla did: the combatants who talked “walang armas-armas” demonstrated that civilian hostages need not be collateral damage in war, that in life-and-death situations, dialogue can save lives. – Carolyn Arguillas, MindaNews

Interesting and inspiring story in the midst of the conflict raging in Zamboanga City, Philippines.

For those who are not familiar with what’s happened there, a renegade group from the former Moro National Liberation Army has occupied some areas of the city by force. And they have held several hostages over the past week.

The Moro National Liberation Front used to be one, if not the biggest secessionist group in the Philippines, fighting for independence of Mindanao and advancement of Muslim rights. They would later sign a peace deal with the government, ending almost three decades of armed struggle. Continue reading

Freedom of Speech


In the Philippines, the new Cybercrime Prevention Law contains provisions which may act as a prior restraint to freedom of speech. It also provides that law enforcement agencies can place an online account on “surveillance” for suspected violations of the  law even without a court order – a clear violation of the standards of due process supposedly observed in democratic societies. The court order is only required when they have enough evidence against the owner of that account. Continue reading