what does it say about philippine journalism when one of its top icons, a multi-awarded veteran broadcast journalist, producer, educator, and talkshow host (also maria ressa’s idol) says that art for art’s sake is secondary to the will of the man with the purse, and that artists give up freedom of expression when commissioned to do a work of art.
or something to that effect. cheche lazaro’s scripted wrap-up in the last 15 (10?) seconds of media in focus last thursday was so rushed, i may have heard wrong, i hope i heard wrong, because how could she be so okay about censorship?
says john silva, senior consultant to the national museum:
“The cavalier and contemptible manner by which the National Press Club blithely desecrated a work of art is evidence enough that these so-called journalists haven’t a clue about freedom of expression. In a free society, contending thoughts, contending works of art are allowed and respected despite its inherent inclinations and viewpoints. The National Press Club’s actions has just put their profession to ridicule, painted themselves as cowards, and now insinuates itself as being in-the-pay of the powerful. Fellow journalists who abide in the freedom of expression should call for the immediate dismissal of the club officers.”
says raul pangalanan, dean of the u.p. college of law:
“The National Press Club (NPC) apparently thinks that just because it paid for the mural, it has the power to alter it as it wishes. The NPC must realize that ownership of the thing does not mean ownership of the copyright. Granting that the work was commissioned by the NPC for P910,000 and assuming that there was no other agreement, ownership of the thing itself would belong to the NPC but copyright remains with the artists. The ownership of the NPC is limited to the physical thing, which it may sell like any other property — but only the artists, as copyright owners, have the right to transform their art work. The owner may only keep the work ‘as is.’ Transforming it is an exclusive ‘economic right’ of the artist.
“In addition, the artist has ‘moral rights’ to maintain the integrity of his work and oppose ‘any distortion, mutilation or other modification of … his work … prejudicial to his honor or reputation.’ Indeed, moral rights may not be waived entirely, especially if the effect is ‘to use the name of the author with respect to a work he did not create.’ The NPC may be liable for damages, criminal penalties and fines for the infringement of their intellectual property rights.”
says luis teodoro, former dean of the u.p. college of mass communication:
“The NPC leadership was not being ‘apolitical.’ It was being crudely, brazenly political – first, when it asked press freedom’s worst foe since Ferdinand Marcos to inaugurate the mural, and second, when it censored it. What’s even worse, what the NPC did was not to expunge ‘leftist’ elements from the mural, but to deface it so as to hide the truth.
“Truth-telling is the fundamental value and responsibility of journalism. But here’s the NPC suppressing such truths as that Jonas Burgos was indeed abducted by military agents, and that the anti-terrorism law, deliberately misnamed the Human Security Act, has grim implications for press freedom. These are neither leftist nor rightist claims, but facts – the very stuff of which competent practice and ethical journalism are made. Has the NPC leadership even heard of either? Anyone engaged in the suppression of facts has no business calling himself or herself a journalist, the appropriate word being ‘hack’ – preferably with the words ‘bought and paid for’ attached to it. ‘Quack’ also applies.”
ah, how i wish we had writers like john silva, raul pangalangan, and luis teodoro hosting tv public affairs talkshows, thinkers who as a matter of course go beyond he-said-she-said, truly probe into issues, and dare take a stand, no matter how anti-establishment.
but it ain’t gonna happen. they’re not pretty enough or popular enough, and they are neither hacks nor quacks.