Congratulations to Pubs Briones and Atty. Cheking Seares for their video-documentary on the killings of Journalists in Cebu. The film should serve as a beacon for Filipino journalists who face a growing culture of violence.
The way is adhering to the basic principles of journalism of fairness and accuracy. Most of those killed in Cebu were the ones who failed to do so. There were those who actively helped the military and anti-communists so they was assassinated by the NPA. There were also those who allegedly engaged themselves with the criminal elements they are covering like druglords and smugglers.
However, I think somehow Cebu is blessed in the sense that violence as a solution to social problems is not as ingrained as in Central Mindanao or Mindoro.
Years ago during the early 90s at the height of a kidnapping spree in Central Mindanao, I remembered a friend in Cotabato city who worked for Mindanao Cross saying life as a journalist in Cotabato and Central Mindanao is different. There, many powerful people don’t threaten you with libel or death. They just proceed to send somebody to shoot you.
In Cotabato city then, uncovering the truth no matter how one exercises fairness means getting the ire of bosses with trigger-happy underlings.
That was precisely one reason why I decided not to accept an offer to transfer there. instead I brought my family back to Cebu where freedom of the press reigns.
This week, Cebu celebrates Press Freedom Week. Salute to the Philippine media!