Freedom of the editor

Should a paper present, in the national interest, only the shining aspects of the nation? Why concentrate on the ugly as the Philippine press seems to be doing? What sort of an image does the Philippines have abroad? Personally, I do not care how we look abroad; what is important is how we look to ourselves. Let us publish what’s wrong with us—perhaps, enough indignation may be aroused to right it. Expose the evils—to stop them. What do they thing? [sic, think?] We know what’s wrong with them. Never mind what they think. We must make democracy work here—or lose it. That’s what is vital. The freedom of an editor rests, ultimately, on the success of freedom.

~ Teodoro M. Locsin 10 April 1965


  1. GabbyD

    medyo confusing ang writing ni locsin. i think they used “they” to describe 2 different types of people, in successive sentences. is that good writing?

    “What do they thing? [sic, think?] We know what’s wrong with them.” i gues the “they/them” here are the filipino evildoers?

    ” Never mind what they think. ” this is a totally different “they”. these are the foreigners who look at us.

    is this good writing, i am asking purely as if i were going to show this in a classroom as an example of good rhetorical writing.

  2. Teddy Boy is talking nonsense. There is no government censorship of the press, and the editors are free to write anything they want to write. Enough said.

    • jojie

      @bert:-) Yes, i agree, no censorship plus the Supreme Court always flip-floppimg om crucial issues like libel, economic and security interest of the country.

  3. I needed four hands to respond to this one, so thanks for the anatomical stretch.

    1) He is right, the Philippines ought not act according to what outsiders think. She ought to d what is right, for the Philippines.
    2) He is wrong, because what outsiders think is crucial to whether they invest to increase the wealth of the Philippines.
    3) He is right, self-criticism plays an important role in pushing the Philippines forward.
    4) He would be wrong if he suggested criticism should be done at the exclusion of recognition of good aspects about the Philippines, or commendations when people do well. Discipline is one part stick and one part carrot.

    One of my main criticisms is that some Filipino bloggers find it easy to criticize the Philippines, its government and its people,and make that their main theme, leading their readers into a kind of self-flagellation that diminishes respect for the nation. That would be the opposite of what Locsin is striving for, I think. I personally am FOR respecting the Philippines.

    • GabbyD

      yeah. the point locsin (i think — his a rambly writer!) is that we should use freedom to do what is right.

      of course, what “right” means is a point of debate.

      and he doesnt stress what i thought he ought to have stressed — the idea is to make things better. whether you criticize or not is not the issue.

  4. GabbyD

    when i teach a class on persuasive writing, i’ll use this one. thanks angela!

    check out one of his tricks: the strawman. “Should a paper present, in the national interest, only the shining aspects of the nation?”

    notice that he sets up the premise, and notice how EXTREME the premise is. “ONLY” the shining aspects?

    as in, wala nang iba?

    but once you buy into the premise, you have no choice but to agree that the premise is wrong, so locsin effectively “persuades” you to reject the premise that he constructed with the sole goal to be crushed.

    amazing. i cant do this. i feel that i’m lying everytime i even try to write using strawmen arguments.