|Bastardized mural reflects dark side of journalism|
|Written by Ellen Tordesillas|
|Wednesday, 07 November 2007 09:56|
I'm glad I'm no longer a member of the National Press Club.
I used to be a member of NPC in the late 80's when the likes of Tony Nieva were trying to assert their leadership in the club. But eventually they were eased out by the more entrepreneurial kind of journalists.
I got out of the NPC after the Rolito Go scandal in 1991. One of its directors, Bobby Capco, then of the Philippine Star, was exposed to have served as public relations guy of the convicted criminal. (Go shot to death La Salle student Eldon Maguan over a traffic incident). In a press conference by the lawyers of Go at the NPC, a reporter revealed that Capco handed her money to "kill" a story not favorable to Go.
Capco went on to become Gloria Arroyo's press undersecretary. I don't know where he is now but I can imagine still at the service of the No. 1 Cheat in the country.
The latest controversy on the bastardization by the NPC of the freedom mural done by the Neo-Angono Artists Collective is just an indication of the kind of journalists that compose the NPC.
Last July , the NPC commissioned the Neo-Angono Artists Collective for P900,000 to do a mural on the history of press freedom in the Philippines.
The concept, as explained by the artists in their website (http://neo-angono.com), tells about the pressures that journalists have to deal with. Logically, it featured assaults to press freedom being experienced by journalists today.
The concept was explained thus:
"It becomes axiomatic that an attack on journalists – through laws contrary to the exercise of press freedom, libel suits, or shooting them with bullets just to threaten and silence them – is also an attack on the people's right to free access to information and freedom of expression.
"This is also the message of the mural: to keep the flame of press freedom burning everyday and forever despite the threats and hazards surrounding this advocacy called journalism," the artists said showing their admirable sensitivity to the situation on the ground.
Gloria Arroyo was to inaugurate the mural and the Presidential Security Group inspected it. They wanted alterations and these were made without the permission of the artists. NPC president Roy Mabasa denies kowtowing to Malacañang. But his reasons merely show his distorted sense of journalism. "We don't want a mural that has an inverted Philippine flag on it and various signs and ideologies of the
One of the regular participants in my blog that goes by the name Tongue-Twisted suggests to let the mural, with all the alterations, intact.
He said: "Let the obra, commissioned to depict the history of Philippine Press, stay as it is - a living monument to the unabated abuse of our society in one of the country's darkest days.
"What better evidence would have been available to depict the same wanton disregard, not only for civil rights in general but towards press freedom in particular, as this despicable act of 'defacing history' right in its own walls?
"Succeeding generations will see for themselves the blatant perversion of the Fourth Estate from the Guardians of the Truth to its decadence as mercenaries and prostitutes of liars, thieves, cheats, and murderers.
"This portrait does paint a thousand words."