MindaNews given ‘Award of Distinction,’ GMA’s Morong is McLuhan Fellow

MindaNews was given an “Award of Distinction” by the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) in Makati City Thursday, citing the news cooperative’s “commitment to accuracy, fairness and relevance” while Joseph Morong of GMA Network, Inc., was named the Marshall McLuhan Fellow for 2015.

The awards were given during the Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Seminar (JVOJS) at the Asian Institute of Management, where MindaNews editor-in-chief Carolyn O. Arguillas, was among the panelists. This year’s JVOJS focused on peace in Mindanao and the Bangsamoro Basic Law, corruption and the 2016 elections.

The McLuhan Fellowship was presented to Morong by the Embassy of Canada.

The Embassy, with support from with SunLife Financial Inc., sponsors the fellowship named after communication theoretician Marshall McLuhan. It consists of a two-week familiarization and lecture tour of Canadian media and academic organizations, and later, a lecture tour of Philippine universities under Embassy auspices.

The Marshall McLuhan Fellowship was first given in 1997. Eighteen journalists have been named as Fellows, including Sheila S. Coronel (Columbia Journalism School and Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism), Yvonne T. Chua (VERA Files), Ed Lingao (now of TV5), Carolyn O. Arguillas (MindaNews) and Cheche Lazaro (ProbeTV), among others.

In its certificate of distinction signed by executive director Melinda Quintos-De Jesus, CMFR cited MindaNews for “help(ing) provide Filipinos the information and analyses they need to understand tha particularities of the Mindanao reality, which includes but is not limited to issues of war and peace.”

CMFR, which promotes media responsibility and the protection of press freedom, lauded MindaNews “for keeping the highest standards of ethical and professional practice even in the face of threats, harassments and other perils that included the murder of one of its staff.”

While on coverage in Jolo, Sulu, MindaNews photographer Gene Boyd R. Lumawag was shot in the forehead in November 2004, a case that remains unsolved to this day.

CMFR further cited MindaNews for “contributing to the making of a culture of peace in a society riven by a long history of conflict.”

While CMFR lambasted most national news agencies’ handling of the Mamasapano tragedy as “unethical, inflammatory and sensationalized,” it praised MindaNews for writing reports that “made sense of the situation on the ground, validating information and seeking interviews from concerned parties.”

The panelists of this year’s JVOJS were: Lore Mae Andong of ABS-CBN based in Cotabato City; Arguillas of MindaNews, Gigi Grande of ABS-CBN, Cherry Ann T. Lim of SunStar Cebu, Ed Lingao of TV 5, Morong of GMA Network and Raffy Santos of ABS-CBN.

Each panelist received a certificate of recognition and a P20,000.00 honorarium while CMFR gave MindaNews a certificate of distinction and P30,000. (MindaNews)