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Feature: Journalists for Human Rights

By Cherry Marie Delfin

Davao City (5 March) -- Inday Espina-Varona, this year's winner of the the McLuhan prize, visited Ateneo de Davao University to discuss her presentation "Lives in Conflict: Media and Human Rights in the Philippines".

The Marshall McLuhan Forum Series on Responsible Media is a yearly event sponsored by the Canadian Embassy. Each year they award one Filipino Journalist with the MacLuhan Prize for Investigative Journalism. The award hopes to encourage investigative journalism in the Philippines. The Canadian Embassy advocates that the Media has a vital role in the democracy of one country.

Inday, this year's awardee, gave the students and staff of the Ateneo de Davao University a lecture about the role of media in protecting the public and keeping them informed of their rights.

She stated Chief Justice Reynato Puno's maxim that "civil liberties are non-negotiable." Inday considers "corruption as a personal upfront."

Inday grew up in Negros Occidental where her mother was the head of a Regional Hospital. As a budding journalist, she witnessed the tragic death of some 300 babies because of a measles epidemic.

The government delayed the delivery of the supplies needed. She witnessed two doctors as they smashed their fists into walls in frustration because there was nothing they could do for the babies. The heartbreaking episode is what probably drove the young Inday to pursue further the road of journalism.

It wasn't an easy feat; she was even imprisoned for a year without charges because of what others may deem as activist actions.

Indeed journalism can sometimes be a dangerous profession. One reactor in the forum, Mr. Ed Fernandez of the academe and the former Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic Herald, commented that Ms. Inday was lucky she survived. He couldn't blame the youth of today if they were apprehensive about diving into the media.

Ed's friend, DXGO Aksyon Radyo commentator, Fernando "Batman" Lintuan, died only last December. Lintuan is suspected to be victim of the rampant extra-judicial killings of media men here in the country. (ADDU/PIA XI) [top]

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