February 24, 2024

If this near-sighted Ibaloy writer remembers correctly, it was Thomas Jefferson, the third United States President, who declared that he would prefer “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers”.
One of the founding fathers of the U.S. and also the chief author of its Declaration of Independence, Jefferson pointed out the importance and necessity of a free press to keep government in check. Emphasis on “free”.
Let me just add that a free press is especially important in so-called democratic governments such as ours where most or many of our “honorable” leaders in national, local, and maybe even barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan levels belong to entrenched political dynasties. No wonder our beloved Philippines has already been left behind by our Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors and continuously bullied by China where the deadly Covid-19 virus supposedly came from. Very sad, pathetic, and tragic indeed.
Anyway, it’s great to learn from a news item that Presidential Communications Office Sec. Cheloy Garafil, a former journalist, has urged her ASEAN counterparts to “reject any attempt to curtail press freedom” as she stressed media’s important role in a democratic society. Emphasis on “democratic”.
“Preserving press freedom stands as a fundamental pillar of a thriving democracy, and any attempts to suppress it must be resolutely opposed,” she was quoted in the article as saying.
Garafil also emphasized the media’s role in promoting accountability and transparency among public servants to ensure that the best interest of the people remains paramount.
In other words, without a free press, there can be no genuine democracy to speak of. Emphasis on “genuine”. I rest my case.
May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to bless and keep us all safe.