“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”—Sec. 4, Art. III of the Philippine Constitution
YESTERDAY, the media community of Cagayan de Oro kick- started the 37 th Press Freedom Week with a morning mass officiated by
COPC Past President Msgr Elmer Abacahin, SSJV at the Press Freedom Monument.
With the theme: ‘A united media in the face of threats’, various activities – fellowships, sports and seminars -- involving media
organizations led by Cagayan de Oro Press Club are lined up for the week-long celebration, May 27-31, 2019.
The theme serves as a reminder to all and sundry in the light of continuing threats -- and bullying -- of those powers-that- be and those self-
proclaimed messiah of press freedom. The call of the hour is basically to discern by embracing with a heart the press club code ethics.
Here is an excerpts of the Code of Ethics ratified by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club general assembly on December 22, 2001:
“We shall be guided at all times by accuracy, fairness, independence and balance, and should not deliberately mislead or misinform the public. We shall clearly distinguished comment or speculation from fact when practicing our craft.
We shall avoid misrepresentation or deceit to obtain information for publication unless there is a clear case of public interest and the
information cannot be obtained in any other way.
We shall promptly correct mistakes and we are obliged to provide a fair right to reply.
We shall respect and observe the right to privacy except where there is significant public interest.
We shall not engage in discrimination or stereotyping by placing undue emphasis on gender, religion, minority groups, sexual orientation, race, color, political conviction, culture or ethnic origin or physical or mental disability unless the description is in the public interest.
We shall not normally identify victims of sexual assault or domestic violence or publish materials likely to lead the identification or public ridicule of victims of crime even when free by law to do so.”
That said, responsible journalism is for the brave, but it must be enjoyed with full respect of the rule of law; where journalism ethics come into play in the exercise of the sacred duty as purveyors of truth, freedom and justice.
Responsible journalism therefore is complying with the law and it solely means that the law applies to everyone.
And the law must be applied the same regardless of race, gender, status or any other consideration.
Press freedom is for the brave who complies with the law, because no one is above the law. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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