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For the sake of truth, freedom and democracy
« on: February 05, 2018, 02:54:31 PM »
For the sake of truth, freedom and democracy (Editorial of the Bohol Sunday Post)

The crowning glory of a newspaper’s life is when it experiences suppression, opposition, prosecution or persecution for standing for truth and defending public interest.

Libel, as a form of suppression against the freedom of the press, is again, as what we already pointed out last week, a final confirmation that we are doing the right thing. And doing the right thing does not mean that all will be pleased.

Not all will be pleased when a newspaper is in search for truth. It has been said that if we know the truth, the truth will set us free. And such freedom has a price that the Sunday Post has to pay.
This paper, since its birth in 1986, has set many free as it always points out the path of truth for those who have wrongly chosen the world of darkness and ignorance.

The public cannot stay in ignorance forever. Boholanos cannot be shackled in darkness and ignorance forever. We have chosen the heroic decision of setting the captives free. That has been our mission. That has been our sole motivation.

Let it be known to everyone that the purity of our noble purpose, as one of Bohol’s crusading newspapers, cannot be defeated by libel charges. We can never be shaken. We can never be threatened. But we will face politely all court summons and stand bravely in all trial proceedings, if it is necessary.
But we believe that the prosecutor’s office is also aware of the right of the press and the right of the citizenry to be informed of the lives and conduct of their leaders, both public and private. We know for a fact that our courts must also uphold truth, justice, fairness, freedom in order for our democracy to survive.

The libel case filed by Carmen Mayor Che Delos Reyes, a gubernatorial bet, against this Paper, the Bohol Chronicle, and Ven Arigo, who was branded as Bohol’s fire-eating journalist by no less than the founding father of Bohol journalism, the pillar of the Bohol Chronicle, may his soul rest in peace, is just a part of the hazard of the profession.

One who decides to join the military must have admitted the fact he is going to engage in warfare, sometimes against weapons of mass destruction. In our case, as mediamen and women, we are engage in daily warfare against ignorance, misinformation, corruption, and injustice.

And if, in our crusade to promote truth and freedom, we end up without scratches and bruises, there is something wrong in what we are doing. It can be understood as cowardice, or call it sleeping with the enemies of truth.

The libel charge stemmed from a testimony of Richelyn Tecson who has linked Delos Reyes to alleged illegal drug trade and drug addiction. The oral testimony was heard over the radio and saw print in all newspapers the following Sunday.

We are not going to defend or justify our position here. Let the city prosecutor’s office do its task of separating fact and fiction, real and imaginary.

Now with feelings. That in a landmark case filed against the publisher and founder of this Paper which was decided by the Supreme Court in 2005, the highest court of the land, citing the New York Times, writes:

“Even assuming that the contents of the articles are false, mere error, inaccuracy or even falsity alone does not prove actual malice. Errors or misstatements are inevitable in any scheme of truly free expression and debate. Consistent with good faith and reasonable care, the press should not be held to account, to a point of suppression, for honest mistakes or imperfections in the choice of language. There must be some room for misstatement of fact as well as for misjudgment. Only by giving them much leeway and tolerance can they courageously and effectively function as critical agencies in our democracy.”

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Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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Editorial: The Price of Democracy

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