The world observed World News Day this week, with newspapers around the world celebrating the value of news reporting at a time when there is so much misinformation that threatens press freedom and democracy.
The celebration on May 2 was on the eve of the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which underscores the importance of a free press in today’s world. Newspapers and professional news organizations around the world joined in the celebration which stresses the need for media to carry on with its distinctive role in reporting the news, and “in challenging the status quo, holding those in power to account, and in supporting freedom and democracy.”
Except for the dark years of martial law in the seventies and eighties, the Philippine press has zealously carried on this mission, inspired and protected by the Bill of Rights in the Philippine Constitution which provides: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of the speech, of expression, or of the press….”
The Philippine press, along with other media, especially the fast-growing on-line and social media networks, are a vigorous part of the national life, reporting on the activities of Philippine communities, along with events in the outside world that are inevitably affecting us in the highly connected world of today.
With 10.2 million Filipinos now living and working in all countries of the world – about a tenth of the total Philippine population of 108 million — we are part of the world community, affected as much by the immigration disputes in the United States as by China’s development program in the South China Sea and the escalating war in Libya.
The Philippine press has long been closely reporting — but also getting actively involved in — crucial national political, economic, and social affairs, such as the ongoing election campaign, in the anti-drugs drive, and even in alleged ouster plots against high government officials.
The Philipine press continues to carry on its role in sharing stories that matter to ordinary people. It is countering misinformation with accurate reporting. And it asserts the freedom of the press, as it joins in the international celebration of World News Day.