PHILIPPINES: Violation of Press Freedom? You decide.

Bobby Nalzaro, columnist of the Sun.Star, the first Filipino community newspaper to go online, has recently returned from his “sabbatical”.

Approximately a month ago, the Sun Star board of directors suspended Nalzaro and discontinued his 15-year-old column because he wrote critically about the suspended governor of the Philippine province of Cebu. Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was suspended by the Office of the President for “grave misconduct and abuse of authority” in December 2012. It just so happens that the top management and board members of the Sun Star are Garcia’s family members. How coincidental!

In his most current column, Nalzaro reiterates his respect for the decision of Sun Star management, yet he resonates with the late legendary writer H.L Mecken’s saying: “Freedom of press is limited to those who own one”. More importantly, Nalzaro leaves the question up to the public to judge whether there was there a violation of the freedom of the press. Nalzaro confidently assures his readers of his authenticity and promises that he will not succumb to the coercion of media owners, editors, advertisers or the government.

This is just plain and simple evidence that so-called-freedom is indefinitely susceptible to the pressures of those in control. Media owners grant the privilege to the journalist or broadcaster and thus, any conflict in this dominant-submissive relationship will never equate to a fair fight.

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Sun. Star suspends columns of broadcaster Nalzaro

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