Freedom of information

By Klaus Döring

Freedom of information is freedom of a person or people to publish and consume information. Access to information is the ability for an individual to seek, receive and impart information effectively.

Every Filipino shall have access to information, official records, public records and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development.

I have loved writing for almost 50 years now for several publications all around the world. I started my first simple article for a high school paper. In a recently published article I learned that the stark reality is, that everyone is a writer. In all likelihood, we face a blank sheet every single day – a new slat, so to speak, where we, good (?) writers, bad (?) writers, writers-by-heart or by profession, and non-writers jot down to our agendas, our goals, our itineraries, our repertoire, our life.

Of course, every new page marks a beginning, a fresh start. We have the choice of writing down what is expected of us or we can challenge ourselves to turn a new leaf and write down something that is completely new.

How is it in the Philippines? Here is the thing: the freedom of information and expression has indeed a thin line between maligning people’s reputation and extortion. Telling the truth sometimes throws one into hot water or lets one dance on eggs. When it comes to journalism, one sees the three “C”s, the fundamental factors: catastrophes, crime and crisis.

Apropos journalists: I enjoy reading the news, that journalism and mass communication graduates OR ANYONE who wants to join the media industry can do so if they will pass the examination to be given under the proposed “Magna Carta for Journalists”. Under the proposed magna carta, journalists will be classified as accredited and non-accredited.

Yes, writing with a wicked pen and having a sharp tongue doesn’t mean that a journalist should walk disrespectfully through others’ lives. On the other hand, it’s a journalist’s duty to uncover, disclose or reveal, what the public should know. Indeed, eternal vigilance is important, even with a wicked pen and a sharp tongue. Freedom of information and expression – but with borderlines.


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