Cebu media told to work for democracy

Posted on September 17, 2012


Philippine Daily Inquirer mascot Guyito and Cebu Daily News’ mascot Siloy headline the CDN contingent in the 18th Cebu Press Freedom Week parade. Cebu Daily News won 1st runner-up in the Star of the Parade category. (TONEE DESPOJO)

Mass media practitioners were given by God a special role to contribute to the development of the Philippines as a democratic country.

This was the message of Fr. Carmelo Diola who celebrated the Holy Mass in yesterday’s launching of the 18th Cebu Press Freedom Week.

Journalists have helped shaped the country’s history by exercising their mission of asking and finding the right answers to the questions Filipinos faced as a society, said Diola.

Fr. Carmelo Diola officiates Mass during the opening ceremony of Cebu media’s week-long 18th Press Freedom Week in SM City Cebu yesterday. (TONEE DESPOJO)

He reminded Cebu’s print and broadcast workers that developing democratic space requires a religious context.

Diola recalled how the nation’s crises multiplied when then president Ferdinand Marcos shut down a critical press after placing the country under martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.

Diola is the chief coordinating steward of Dilaab Foundation, a Church-based movement for socio-political renewal.

He stood in for Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma who was slated to celebrate the fiesta Mass in Danao City in northern Cebu.

Journalists today, Diola said, can step up to the challenge of new media and the political season that will culminate in the May 2013 elections if they go beyond finding the right answers to questions and provide the correct interpretation to the answers.

He noted that it has been 40 years since Marcos declared martial law and that like the Israelites who spent 40 years in the desert after God freed them from slavery in Egypt, Filipinos now stand on the borders of a promised land.

With information that can be gathered and disseminated at a rate that is almost magical through the Internet, Filipino scribes should not sacrifice accuracy and context to speed, he said.

(The Philippines, with its millions of mobile phone and Internet users, is considered the texting and the online social networking capital of the world.)

By being faithful to their God-given mission, Diola said, journalists can contribute to letting Filipinos root their involvement in democracy in their Christian faith.

The faith, with the help of the mass media, can be converted from something Filipinos “woke up to, are used to and die for” to something they “become more conscious of, understand deeply and express in daily life.”

He challenged media practitioners to take the opportunity to give hope to the people through evangelization especially in the Year of Faith that Pope Benedict will open in October and with the inspiration of Visayan martyr Blessed Pedro Calungsod whom the Pope will canonize on Oct. 21. /Jason A. Baguia, Contributor



Members of the press from different organization did not hesitate to lead the entire group in the Zumba dance after the mass. (LITO TECSON)


SOLIDARITY. Cebu media community set aside competition to celebrate freedom of the press. (Front row, from left) The Freeman editor-in-chief Jerry Tundag, Cebu Daily News™ publisher and deputy editor-in-chief, The Freeman’s community editor Divine Ngujo, Sunstar Super Balita editor-in-chief Michelle So Mary Jane Paredes of Smart-PLDT, and Sunstar’s Nini Cabaero. (TONEE DESPOJO)

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