Istambay sa Mindanao

Personal blog of MindaNews' Walter I. Balane. Visit www.mindanews.com for more news, views and information on Mindanao.

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Location: Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao, Philippines

I'm Walter Balane. I am a journalist based in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Philippines. I initiated the group called Atong Press (www.atongpress.ning.com) for press freedom and responsibility and media education in Bukidnon.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Musings: The media, government, and the public (according to me)

Goodness gracious.

I’m thankful for a lot things. My being a practicing journalist in a full time job is one thing. (Of course that’s only ideal, our news cooperative actually expects us members to perform multi-tasks.)

This job is a personal passion. I have always wanted doing this for various reasons. Once, I confessed this passion to a friend who was with me at the UP Visayas college student council back in 1996. I told her that being a UP student, whose tuition fee was paid by the people, I will really return to the people and do whatever is accessible.

Of course that’s not the only reason why I’m here toiling a daily routine to write about public issues. To me, this is really service, not even looking at a nationalist point of view. Even just by looking at the needs of people in my neighborhood imprisoned by poverty, that‘s my kind of point of view. Besides, I come from this kind of people. In fact, I still am one of these people.

Call this a selfish endeavor. But this is actually how I try to connect myself to a myriad of realities that my eyes could see and my ears could hear.

In short, as a passion, writing is my own way of trying to matter. Others call it their contribution. But that might b e to o assuming. For all you know, that contribution actually did not really matter.

I don’t really pose myself as a hero for the public’s need and right to know. I am only trying to do my little share of the big task to help people understand, including myself and my family. I am aware that what I’m doing is not enough, and there is a need to connect it to a larger collective of efforts, not necessarily synchronized, but going towards a common direction.

You who is reading this might agree or disagree, but at this point of time we all are doing
something for society in different forms and using different means or vehicles. There are those who work with the government—the bureaucrats, the politicians, the academe, the private and business sector, the military, the rebel groups, the religious, the activists, and all the other groups.

You belong to where you belong I belong to the media. And despite the many faces of the media: some are corrupt, some heroic, others dead, lucky, and the others quick; the media has a role to play.

The media serves as a representative of the peoples’ right to know! That is not a self-imposed duty but one that is constitutionally mandated.

What did Article 3 Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution tell us? (Unless “some” peoples initiative have already changed this constitution):

“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press , or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress or grievances.”

Yes, it did not say so in that section, but the right of the people to a freedom of the press, guarantees the role of the media in pursuing other freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution to every citizen!

Especially, government officials, they must know the importance of addressing the media (and the public in general) properly.

Lest they forget that the real boss in government are the people, for whom the media reports.

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