By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo called on members of media to “level up the conversation, stand the ground, and redeem truth-telling” as the country goes through “difficult times.”
This was Robredo’s message on Friday night in the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines’ 45th anniversary and photo exhibit held at The Gallery in Greenbelt 5, Makati City.
“We desperately need you to be the most credible voice of truth in our generation, when our basic rights are constantly being threatened, when human lives are being disregarded, when our freedoms are under attack, and when disinformation has replaced honest and collaborative conversations,” she said.
“We need you to end the culture of hate, sensationalism, and lies, and put our foot down and say ‘enough is enough,” Robredo, a former housing chief, added.
The Vice President, who is also the opposition leader, highlighted the importance of journalism as a bastion of truth and democracy.
Robredo recalled times in Philippine history when journalists played an important role during the martial law period under former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“During martial law, when the dictatorship sought to silence the media, the brave members of your organization held the line and pushed back no matter the cost,” the lady official said.
“The photographs that we will see in this exhibit capture your ability to tell the story of the Filipino people—those critical moments that shaped who we are and who we could be as a nation. That through every period of our history, our people have overcome hardship and have become stronger because of it,” she added.
Robredo, who has been vocal against martial law, emphasized that journalists must continue the fight to speak and write about the truth.
“As we look back on our journey, we are reminded that we are not alone in the good fight, despite the difficult times. That we should continue to soldier on together to do what is right, to speak what is right, no matter the cost,” she said.
The Philippines ranked 134th among 180 nations in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index.
The country’s rating went down from 133rd spot last year, with media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders, citing the decline to various threats and attacks against Filipino journalists.