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Nineteen journalists have been killed for their work in the Philippines since Benigno Aquino III assumed the presidency in 2010. And in 2013 alone, at least 66 instances of threats, physical assaults, illegal arrests, libel suits and other forms of harassment were recorded.
Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: “Haiyan”) unleashed winds with an average strength of 235 kph and gustiness running up to 275 kph, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. More than 6 million people are said to have been affected, and hundreds of thousands of families have been left homeless and displaced. Thousands of others were killed.
By John Nery
Read, and wince. “During this time, they said, girls and boys were raped in the dark and had their throats cut and bodies were stuffed in the kitchens while looters and madmen exchanged fire with weapons they had looted.” It won’t be easy to identify which esteemed media organization ran this sensational passage.
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
The first images of the fury of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” that were sent from the eye of the storm to the outside were from the media persons who were themselves trapped, battered and in near-death situations when the horrific onslaught from sea and sky began and continued for several hours. The sounds and images did not come out fast and easy from devastated Central Philippines. For many hours, communication was dead and those of us in Metro Manila and elsewhere had no idea how deadly Yolanda (international name: “Haiyan”) was, that nothing like this had pounded this country, or this world for that matter, in so many lifetimes.
By Ambeth R. Ocampo
Watching CNN coverage of Supertyphoon “Haiyan” aka “Yolanda” was frustrating for expatriate Pinoys worrying about friends and relatives back home. The video clips were limited and repeated at every segment when CNN could’ve shared video from Philippine news organizations. I stayed up all night waiting for substantial news that would provide a sense of what was happening on the ground. Instead I heard voices (no video) of near-hysterical individuals who had been asked how they felt having endured the strongest typhoon on record.
I happened to open the Opinion page while eating biscuit with peanut butter last Oct. 15, and it held me over until our noon dinner in honor of Teresa of Avila, one of our special saints! Congrats to Asuncion Maramba for her commentary “Will the Francis wave flow to our shores?”
By Rina Jimenez-David
There were 10 candidates in the recently concluded presidential elections in Azerbaijan, where I and other Filipino journalists joined active and retired parliamentarians and government officials from around the world as election observers.
By John Nery
The other week, I had the privilege of attending three events in Boston and Cambridge in Massachusetts, the venerable commonwealth that is almost but not quite as old (here’s a fun fact) as the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas. Allow me to record some of my main impressions.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is dismayed by but not surprised at the Court of Appeals decision affirming its March ruling to set aside the recommendations of a second panel of prosecutors to indict former Palawan governor Joel Reyes for the murder of our colleague Gerry Ortega.
This is to formally protest over the failure of Inquirer editors to observe the newspaper’s slogan of “balanced news.”
By John Nery
I had a chance to join 14 other Asean journalists in a wide-ranging interview with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last week. ANC’s Coco Alcuaz, formerly of Bloomberg, has already written of Lee’s pragmatic approach to the territorial disputes between China and some Asean member-states.
By John Nery
Some readers have asked about the “writing experiment” I attempted last month at the Loyola School of Theology, when I sought to discuss the church-media dynamic by, among other things, rewriting a famous Gospel parable. Perhaps the best way to explain what I was up to is to show, not tell. If you will allow me then, here is an extended excerpt: