Gerry Ortega: 6 years, no justice
Today, January 24, we commemorate the sixth anniversary of the murder of Dr. Gerardo Ortega, journalist, environmentalist and good governance advocate.
While we take comfort in the fact that the alleged masterminds behind his killing are finally being tried, we also take note that freedom of the press and of expression remain under threat and, in fact, appear to be in even more danger than ever.
Physical threats, including the ultimate censorship – murder – continue to confront journalists under the present administration, with one colleague, Catanduanes publisher Larry Que, killed and at least one other surviving an assassination try, Pangasinan’s Virgilio Maganes.
But other, more insidious, dangers to press freedom and the right to free expression exist as well and, unfortunately, some of these are posed by government itself, with the highest official of the land, his spokesmen and even those supposedly responsible for the dispensation of justice have actively tried to undermine the media by characterizing accurate reportage as supposed attempts to discredit them.
While this is nothing new – past presidents have also taken media to task for critical reporting – the current administration has taken this to new lows, insisting that “creative imagination” should take precedence over accurate reporting.
As we remember Gerry Ortega, we vow to honor his memory and those of all our colleagues who have fallen, by continuing the pursuit for justice and standing firm by the tenets of the profession of truth and to resist all attempts to subvert it with the alternative facts peddled by demagogues and populists.
Ryan Rosauro, chairperson
NUJP Hotline 09175155991