Sunday, June 21, 2015

Media For Understanding And Change

June 19, 2015, Plaridel Hall, U.P. Diliman


Over the last fifty years, from the turbulent 1960s when it was founded, and through the terrors of martial law, the promise of EDSA, and the restoration of elite rule, the College of Mass Communication has not only survived but has even more importantly also defined its fundamental responsibility to the Filipino people. That responsibility is summed up in its commitment to the defense of media freedom and the making of media for liberation--"midyang malaya at mapagpalaya"--in recognition of the human need for, and the media duty of, interpreting the world so an informed and free people can change it.

Never since the martial law period has that commitment been more vital and more relevant than today. The media are under threat not only from those forces that would silence journalists but also from practitioners' low skills levels and unethical practice, and the conflict between public and private interest inherent in a system of corporate ownership.

The result is an epidemic of inaccuracy, bias, corruption, incompetence and a focus on trivia, which has reduced much of the dominant media into instruments of mass hypnosis, ignorance, amnesia and stasis rather than as purveyors of understanding and change. Supposedly pillars of democracy, the corporate media are the tools of oligarchic rule in perpetrating the political and social structures that define the lives of millions of our countrymen and which condemn them to a long night of poverty, violence and injustice. Supposedly functioning in behalf of truth-telling, they spread falsehood and mendacity in behalf of their limited interests.

We need to recall not only today, on the 50th year of this College, but throughout each day, each week, each month and each year as well, CMC 's necessary role not only as the trainor of ethical and professional practitioners, but also as the critical and informed monitor and public custodian of a media system that is failing to provide the people the information and interpretation they need to make sense of the present as the necessary condition for the construction of an alternative state and future.

May this occasion not only be a celebration but --despite the difficulties and perils inherent in that task-- also a reaffirmation by everyone of us --by the faculty, the students, the administrative staff as well as our alumni-- that the College will continue to rise to the challenge of excellence, criticalness and relevance as it enters its next decades. Fifty years from now may those who would have survived us be able to truly say that we were there when the people needed us most. Mabuhay ang MassComm para sa midyang malaya’t mapagpalaya.

Source: Facebook post of Luis Teodoro

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