What the World Needs: Journalism for Social Justice
I felt so honored in this journey of bringing my voice, the voices of the ordinary men, women and children to the world. Over the years of living in the world of social activism, I always admired journalists and writers taking courage in bringing light to the dark social realities of our times. Such beautiful articles always move me to higher heights of my advocacy work for social justice.
My admirations for socially engaged journalists resonated in my heart at all times wishing I could be one of them. But I just smiled and said NO because I felt I’m not capable of being one… I’m not equipped with words and language that can touch readers… my writing is only for my personal journal… I don’t have much time to write… So many limiting beliefs I kept to myself.
But, I’m always confronted and challenged by the need of journalists who truly speak and write for the people who are at the base of our pyramidal society. Thanks for World Pulse for helping me to be one! It is a continuing life changing experience for me being an award winning Voices of Our Future citizen’s journalist. It gives me the opportunity to speak to the world in person and had met countless women who are inspired by my story. I am also so much inspired now that finally I belong to the world of journalism.
The mainstream media institutions are so powerful of controlling and molding public opinion. Most of the times, they served as mouthpiece and instruments of promoting decadent culture of sex and violence and perpetuating culture of social passivity and colonial mentality. They promote the interests of the huge global corporate world and bigwig bureaucrats as highly paid journalists at the expense of Juan, Pedro and Maria.
We can only count by our fingers media institutions and journalists compassionate to the people’s cry for justice and social change. Sadly, they are met by strict censorship, charges of libel cases or killed. The Philippines surpassed Iraq as the most dangerous country for journalists in 2006. The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) documented one hundred seven journalists killed under the government of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
President Benigno Aquino III failed in stopping media killings and rendering justice to the victims and their families such as the Ampatuan massacre in 2009. In one year time under Aquino’s governance, forty-nine activists and journalist were killed. One journalist was killed, one wounded and two are under threat. The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) reported in June of this year that the Philippines is one of the worst countries in the world in solving media killings. The country ranks 3rd, Somalia ranks 2nd and Iraq ranks 1st in CPJ’s 2011 Impunity Index. CPJ is a US based media organization that monitors and assists journalists at risks.
Media repression is manifested in glossing over the real issues of poverty and war. Media brutalities are enforced to maintain political and economic power. Even in the global realities, we usually hear the voices of the prominent people like big businesses, big politicians and powerful governments and institutions telling their own versions of stories about the worsening economic crisis, the war in Afghanistan, the growing resistance in the Arab world and many more.
They are armed with media personnel and journalists in full battle gears trumpeting their victories and masking their losses. The world seldom hear true stories of ordinary women and men who are the victims of the economic crisis caused by the globalization policies of GATT-WTO and the countless bodies of women and children as collateral damage by the global war on terror. The global empowering voices of the people’s movements rising to heavens crying No to Global War on Terror, NO to Oil Price Hikes, NO to Violence against Women and Children, NO to GATT/WTO are being downplayed and hyped as threats to international and national security issues.
This global media landscape greatly influenced our own media culture and structures here in the Philippines as well as other countries in the South. These are some of the reasons I believed we need journalism that does not reports, analyzes, interprets events on the framework of dominant world beliefs and powers but journalism that speaks the tales of the downtrodden. We yearn for journalism that enlightens people as weavers of history and inspires women to stand firm and act for social equality and justice. We need journalism that echoes the heartbeats and pulses of struggling people who bear the brunt of poverty and hunger. Journalists who have the passion and art of bringing women and people together, trumpeting their silent voices and weaving their dreams and hopes to reality are what the world needs now.