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CEGP-ST 19th Regional Press Convention Sept. 25, 2010

CEGP-ST 19th Regional Press Convention Sept. 25, 2010

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Published by Teddy Casino
My speech at the CEGP-Southern Tagalog's 19th Regional Press Convention last Sept. 25, 2010 on the theme: “Campus press, uphold our historic role as the progressive media! Write for the people! Unite for genuine change!”
My speech at the CEGP-Southern Tagalog's 19th Regional Press Convention last Sept. 25, 2010 on the theme: “Campus press, uphold our historic role as the progressive media! Write for the people! Unite for genuine change!”

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Published by: Teddy Casino on Sep 29, 2010
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Keynote SpeechCollege Editor’s Guild of the Philippines - Southern Tagalog Chapter19th Regional Student Press ConventionSeptember 25, 2010
To my fellow Guilders,First, let me greet the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines, SouthernTagalog Chapter for its 19
Regional Student Press Convention. Isang mainit napagbati sa inyong patuloy na pagsasabuhay ng tradisyon ng mapagpalayangpamamahayag sa loob at labas ng inyong paaralan!Whenever I am invited by CEGP to participate in its events, I always findmyself strolling down memory lane, savoring the images in my mind of my owndays as a young Guilder. Dito po ako sa Guild namulat sa mga katotohanan nglipunang Pilipino, na-organisa sa progresibong kilusan, at kumilos ng para sabayan. Dito rin po ako natutong magmahal ng buong puso.To be standing in your presence today is a revitalizing experience. Seeingthe faces of the new brood of agents of social transformation, armed with themighty pen and a talent committed to genuine change never fails to give me anoverwhelming feeling of optimism.Indeed, the campus press must continue to uphold its historic role as oneof the pillars of progressive media - to keep the student body informed on mattersthat concern the common good and to be instrumental in compelling young andold alike to act accordingly not be mere passive recipients of news andinformation.
This is especially important now that the nobility of the journalisticprofession and the mass media has been compromised by corporate interests.Today, the mainstream mass media have become peddlers of anti-democraticbiases, reinforcing backward mindsets that imprison and desensitize the people’sminds to accept the system that oppresses and exploits them. Media hasgradually become an ideological state apparatus conditioning the minds of thepeople to develop a callous attitude toward violence, cruelty, abuses, injustice,and intolerance. Mass media tries to rob the public of common sense, coercingthem into conformity. We are made to be mere consumers of commercial andpolitical goods. Through mass media, the commodification of social relations hasbecome almost biological.Given this condition, the most vital issues in society are crying out to bereflected, reported and resolved in both journalistic and literary works. For this,there can be no richer source of material than the struggles of the toiling masses.There can be no greater task than to take part in that struggle.There is no such thing as freedom of the press in the abstract. Writing is apolitical act. Journalism is a political vocation. After all, education, art, culture arenever detached from politics. There is no such thing as “art for art’s sake.” Noconscious expression is devoid of ideological content. It aims to effect results andit proceeds from a particular political standpoint. A journalist for the people usesthat which brings about truth and the people’s liberation from ignorance,exploitation and oppression.You, as campus journalists, are challenged to uphold your obligation tothe truth no matter what. A journalist’s integrity sells for so little these days, but itis all we really have.A people’s journalist may fail. He can be persecuted. He can be killed andforgotten but his noble ideas will live on. Ideas are bulletproof. An idea can still
change the world. We have witnessed first hand the power of ideas. We haveseen people kill in the name of them; and die defending them.According to the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF - Reporterswithout Borders), the Philippines was the second most deadly place fo journalists after war-torn Iraq in 2003 and 2005. Last year, seven journalists wereshot in mafia-style killings.Since January 2001, there have been almost a thousand cases of extra- judicial killings, including the murders of activists, human rights defenders and journalists since Arroyo became the president and implemented her counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.Political terrorism, brutality, intimidation, impunity, and outright humanrights abuses are the tools to silence the voices of those who exposegovernment atrocities and of those who oppose the anti-people, anti-nationalpolicies of those in power. Campus press repression is but a microcosm of thebigger picture of political gagging - an active measure of preventing people frombroadening their freedom of expression.Let us recall the glorious traditions of 
La Independencia
,which were the genuine instruments of the national democratic movement of their time - the legacy of Rizal, Lopez Jaena, Del Pilar, Jacinto, Luna and their contemporaries. Militant and progressive journalism did not end during their era.In the 1960s Sen. Claro M. Recto first expressed the need for a secondpropaganda movement as part of an intensive and widespread anti-foreigndomination campaign. Many heeded this call, seasoned and young journalistsalike. During martial law, when the establishment media was controlled by thedictatorship, the campus press served as the boy who shouted, “the emperor hasno clothes.” Many Guilders eventually joined the mosquito or alternative pressand afer the dictatorship helped make the Philippine press one of the freest inAsia.

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