Monday, May 24, 2010

Church, Journalists Celebrate Press Freedom Week in Mindanao

Monsignor Rey Monsanto together with some Cagayan de Oro City journalists light candles at the foot of the Press Freedom Monument as part of the Eucharistic Celebration Monday, May 23, 2010 signaling the start of the city's celebration of Press Freedom Week. (Photo by Bong Fabe)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 24, 2010) - As the local press community celebrates the 28th Press Freedom Week, the canon lawyer of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro urged journalists to always seek and peddle the truth.

Monsignor Rey Monsanto, also president of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines, said media persons are very influential and thus must be responsible in using this influence for the good of the future generation. “Journalism is very important and reporters are very important because you record the present. But as you record the present you record them for the future because that is precisely what it is, you record them for the future,” he said in his homily during the Monday morning Eucharistic Celebration in Cagayan de Oro City.

This city started celebrating its own Press Freedom Week in 1982 when then Mayor Aquilino Pimentel Jr issued Executive Order 241 declaring every last week of May as Press Freedom Week. That year’s celebration put this city into the annals of journalism as the first city in the entire Philippines to celebrate Press Freedom Week.

Twenty-six years later, in 2008, the Provincial Board of Misamis Oriental passed a resolution declaring the last week of May as Provincial Press Freedom Week.

Spearheaded by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC), this year’s 28th Press Freedom Week celebration carries the theme “Ang Kamatuoran Naglada og Paglaum Padulong sa Katumanan (Truth Ushers in Hope Towards Fulfillment).”

“If you want fulfillment in your work, if you want fulfillment for society, if you want fulfillment for humanity, then actively seek the truth whatever it may cost,” Monsanto urged the media.

The Eucharistic Celebration was also held in honor of fallen journalists who died in the fulfillment of this sacred duty of journalists. “We hope that they did not die in vain,” Monsanto said, adding: “We know that they did not die in vain if they died for the truth, if they died for what is right.”

According to Monsanto, a confessed journalist by heart, the primary duty of journalists is to “peddle the truth.”

“When we work for the truth, we are actually serving God because God is truth. When we peddle the truth, we are actually following Jesus, praising God in society. In short, we are glorifying God,” he stressed.

“For journalist, there is no other way to give that glory to God but to tell the truth,” he added.

Sadly, because of the state of the press in some communities today, journalists are forced to succumb to temptation of “yellow journalism” and engage in unethical behavior and tell lies for monetary consideration. To those who fell to such temptation, Monsanto simply said: “Be careful about that” as there is no fulfillment in such practices.

He stressed that it is only in serving God “by peddling the truth” that journalists can best serve humanity. “And that is where fulfillment is all

“We will never have fulfillment in life until we live in truth. As long as we live with a lie in our life, our dreams will never be fulfilled,” he said. “Only the truth will set us free and only the truth will usher in the hope of fulfillment.” (Bong Fabe)

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