CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/24 May) – Journalists here opened on Monday the 29th Press Freedom Week with a photo exhibit and a mass at the Press Freedom monument at the Gov. Vicente de Lara Park where Msgr Elmer Abacahin called on the media to stick to the truth as its primary function.
Abacahin, executive director of the Basic Ecclesiastical Community of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said that the Church considers media as one of its ministries that shall propagate the truth.
“The other side of press freedom is accountability of the journalists as individuals and as an institution to promote the truth,” he said in his homily.
The 29th Press Freedom Week’s theme is “Gawasnon nga prensa, katilingbanong kalihukan.”
“Ang tema sa atong pag saulog sa Press Freedom week nagpasabot nga kung kita matinaud-anon sa atong tahas, ang komunidad mismo ang adunay katungdanan nga libre ang prensa sa pagpatuman sa iyang tahas,” (The theme of our celebration means that if we remain true to our task, the community itself will see to it that the press remains free in doing its duty) Abacahin said.
The priest is also a member of the board of directors of the Cagayan de Oro City Press Club (COPC).
He also called on the community and the society at large to protect press freedom.
COPC president Atty. Bobby Goking said that the COPC is now seriously working to uplift the welfare of the city’s media. “Aside from providing services to members of the club like skills development, the COPC is now seriously working to attain its development function for the members of the media and the community at large,” he said.
The Press Freedom Week features trainings on basic journalism, human rights and libel. A weeklong sports fest (basketball and chess) is also being held.
FreeJourn, a loose alliance of journalists in partnership with the Mindanao People’s Caucus is holding a seminar on “Understanding the Mindanao Conflict” on May 28, 2011.
A photo exhibit featuring photos of the Ampatuan Massacre by MindaNews photo editor Froilan Gallardo was opened by Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar S. Moreno. Bobby Lagsa, MindaNews photo correspondent Erwin Mascarinas and other photojournalists also exhibited their work.
The Press Freedom Week celebration was started by then city mayor and former senator Aquilino Pimentel in 1982.
The COPC, formed in August 1962, is touted as the oldest press club in the country. (BenCyrus G. Ellorin/MindaNews)