Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Responsible Journalism of Conrado de Quiros

All of a sudden he is Mr. Sensitive, the champion of "responsible journalism." His enemies will think he has reformed. His friends will think he has mellowed or lost it. But they won't exchange places. There is hardly a writer in the Main Stream Media more militant a practitioner of Freedom of Speech or more eloquently protective of the rights of the Free Press than PDI Columnist Conrado de Quiros. But not today, for Choy writes a Valentine's Day piece entitled "Hate" on the Danish Cartoon Controversy in which he DENIES that Press Freedom has anything to do with a major global development involving journalists and newspapers in Denmark, France and Germany, in which Death to Journalists and Cartoonists have been demanded by rioters for something they have done purely in the same line of work as Conrado de Quiros himself. Think about all the marvelous controversies of Press Freedom that he's lent his powerful pen to, (like the Toro controversy over Joey Reyes pornography and many, many others) and tell me this is still the same Conrado de Quiros:
Jyllands-Posten has already apologized for offending Muslim sensibilities but refused to go beyond that. It defends its right to publish them as part of freedom of the press. Says its cultural editor, Flemming Rose: “These [cartoons] were not directed against Muslims but against people in cultural life in Europe who are submitting themselves to self-censorship when dealing with Islam.”

Is this sufficient justification? I think not. I’ve seen the cartoons and read many of the commentaries on them, many of them thoughtful ones by journalists themselves, and I join those who say this is not an issue of freedom of the press at all, it is one of basic decency and respect...

...That is so because blasphemy no longer carries as much weight to Christians today as it did during the Inquisition, when to blaspheme was to invite oneself to a roasting in the square. To appreciate the gravity of the provocation, one has to find a comparable core belief or value in Western society, one attended by the same passionate, intense, life-and-death commitments.
Gee, Choy, I thought you knew...Capital Blasphemy was obsoleted with the adoption of a democratic Constitution. It's Liberty that has become our core belief, to which we commit our lives and passions. I thought you were on board with that!

MUSLIM JOURNALISTS JAILED FOR PUBLISHING CARTOONS, NEWSPAPERS CLOSED! How can anyone claim that Press Freedom has nothing to do with this? Reporters Without Borders reports from Yemen --

Reporters Without Borders expressed dismay at the arrest, on 10 February 2006, of Abdel Halim Akram Sabra, editor of the independent weekly Al-Hurriya, journalist Yahya Al Aabed and editor of the Yemen Observer Mohammed Al Asaadi, for publishing the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

Al Hurriya and two other newspapers that published the cartoons, the Yemen Observer and the Al Raî Al Aam have been closed.

Hat Tip: MM
Knowing how things work around here, Choy's column today will surely become the template of talking points, for the many who use him as a substitute for thinking in the Main and Blog Stream media. I have to congratulate him though for being brave enough to even comment on this controversial issue. Most editorials and columnists have studiously bit their tongue so far and kept a safe but contemptible silence. And how to explain all the stuff CDQ's been writing for years, including when he opposed tougher libel laws for journalists last year --

CDQ: It's a vicious thought, and one we may not let pass. They are not alone to suggest so. Only a few weeks ago, several representatives proposed that tougher libel bills be passed to stop the killings. "The murders of the journalists," they opined, "could be due to Filipinos being sensitive to criticisms and the country's libel laws being ineffective." Tougher libel laws would make media more responsible and therefore reduce the killings. I am glad that Anakpawis Party-List Rep. Rafael Mariano spoke out against it, saying it was a move to curtail press freedom in this country. But it's clearly more than that. It is a move to curtail sanity in this country. Can any idea be more idiotic? If we Filipinos are sensitive to criticism, then we shouldn't have a democracy at all. We shouldn't have a free press, we should have a PR press, or the kind that flourished during martial law, where the Daily Express and other newspapers routinely dished out narcotic praises to government officials.
So why in the world would Choy defend the rights of Muslim rioters to call for the death of journalists, the burning of their embassies and the boycotting of totally innocent food and dairy companies but would side with the leftists and the communists in blaming the government for the death of journalists in the Philippines. Could it have something to do with "the enemy of your enemy is your friend?"

"RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM" And what about this Petition for Press Freedom from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, opposing the insertion of the phrase "responsible journalism" into the proposed Constitution. I suppose I should publish the Petition and the names of the signatories since I expect many of them will be following Conrado de Quiros into the land of moral and logical consistency. It would be interesting to find out what position on the Danish cartoon controversy each of the signatories below will publicly take. It would be a calibration point for the strength of Philippine democracy... (I support the following statement by the way...)
Proposed amendment to Bill of Rights: A menace to Philippine democracy

We, the undersigned journalists and media organizations, oppose the move to amend the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution and condemn government efforts to curtail the democratic space.

The Malacanang-appointed Constitutional Commission has proposed amending Section 4 of the Philippine Constitution’s Bill of Rights, to wit: “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances.”

The addition of the phrase “responsible exercise” undermines these basic rights and raises the specter of whimsical and capricious interpretation by administrations that seek to curb legitimate dissent.

A free press is a cornerstone of a democracy. To qualify its exercise, to put parameters around it, makes it vulnerable to abuse and misuse.

The Arroyo administration has shown a penchant for blaming journalists for its political woes. Whether faced with corruption scandals or anti-insurgency efforts that go awry, it has tried to wriggle out of trouble by using the press as scapegoat. Its often hostile stance toward the Philippine media has exacerbated the dangers faced by journalists in this country.

With 10 journalists murdered in 2005, the Philippines is second only to Iraq as the world’s most dangerous country to practice the profession. To say this government does not inspire confidence in the realm of interpreting “responsible exercise” of press freedom would be an understatement.

Philippine media is not infallible. Journalists in the country have had to struggle with a dearth in opportunities for skills improvement, not to mention harsh and unjust work conditions. There have been many instances of irresponsible, unethical practice of the profession.

These, however, are not sufficient grounds to tamper with a basic democratic right. There are enough laws to ensure a system of redress for those who see themselves wronged by an irresponsible press. Journalists who use their profession to commit crimes are not exempt from the country’s laws.

We believe the media situation reflects the national state of affairs. Philippine media is bedeviled by corruption, by economic injustice, and now by the growing threat of authoritarianism.

The proposed amendment to the Bill of Rights spits on the spirit of that hallowed document. It is not merely the press that is threatened. All Filipinos risk curtailment of their most basic rights by administrations desperate to hold on to power. Certainly, the Arroyo government has shown a dangerous bent to push the limits of executive power in its bid to counter political disenchantment.

The exercise of rights has never endangered Philippine democracy. On the contrary, the Filipino people’s vigorous defense of the freedom of the press, of speech, of expression, and of the right to assembly has served the cause of democracy by holding leaders accountable for their actions. The real menace lies in the curbing of these rights. There lies the road to national perdition.

Signed:
National Union Of Journalists Of The Philippines... Inday Espina-Varona... Arthur Allad-Iw... Carlos H. Conde... Ma. Cristina V. Rodriguez... Rowena Carranza-Paraan... Jose Torres, Jr.... Ares Gutierrez... Leticia Boniol... Ma. Diosa Labiste... Nestor Burgos, Jr.... Joey Natividad... Grace Albasin... Maureen Japzon... Ayishah Marie S. Muallam... Center For Media Freedom And Responsibility... Zamboanga Journal... Jonathan Mayuga Business Mirror... Jojo Taduran... Romy Zetazate... Davaotoday.Com... Bulatlat... Perfecto Caparas... Rolando Quilaton St. Radio Natin Biñan, Laguna... Raymund Villanueva Kodao Productions... Danilo Arao Up Department Of Journalism Chair, Bulatlat And Ngayon Na, Bayan!-Dzrj... Voltaire F. Domingo Next Pictures Photo Agency... Pinoyweekly... Alexander Martin Remollino Bulatlat... Jojo Lamaria Daily Tribune... Bet Marcelo Freelance Journalist... John L. Silva... Julie S. Alipala Philippine Daily Inquirer... Iris Cecilia Gonzales Businessworld... Mon Acacio Philippine Graphic / Philippine Center For Photojournalism... Elina V. Ramo Nordis Weekly... Kimberlie Quitasol Nordis Weekly... Noel Godinez Nordis Weekly... Desiree Caluza Philippine Daily Inquirer... Zumel Center For Press Freedom... Jun Tarroza West Leyte Express... Alejandrino F. Cirera The Filipino-American Community Builder... Elizabeth Manalo... Aquiles Zonio Philippine Daily Inquirer... Daisy C. Gonzales... Cheryll D. Fiel... Germelina A. Lacorte... Bejay C. Absin... Marilou M. Aguirre... Jetty Ayop-Ohaylan... Marieta Baste-Hernani... Grace S. Uddin... Gilbert L. Pacificar... Rolando Pinsoy... Keith Bacongco... Medel Hernani... Barry Ohaylan... Kathleen Okubo Baguio Midland Courier... Rod Tajon Nordis Weekly... Carmelito Q. Francisco Mindanao Times/Businessworld... Sonia Capio Ngayon Na, Bayan!... Manuel Cayon Business Mirror... A. Mangampo-Ociones Gitnang Luson News Service... Dennis Espada... Peterson Bergado... Leo Palo Iii... Ely Suyom... Pinoyweekly... Bayani S. Abadilla... D’jay Lazaro... Leo Esclanda... Ilang-Ilang Quijano... Ariel Dim Borlongan Balita... Ronald Dizon... Knight Publication , Letran-Calamba... Dabet Castañeda... Pampanga Press Club... Ashley Manabat... Joel M. Sy Egco... Association Of Responsible Media Armed... Isagani Yambot Philippine Daily Inquirer... Juan Sarmiento, Jr. Philippine Daily Inquirer... Bill Formoso Philippine Daily Inquirer... Julie M. Aurelio Philippine Daily Inquirer... College Editors Guild Of The Philippines... Rowell D. Madula Cegp... Jose Cosido Cegp... Gerg Anrol Cahiles Kalasag, Up Diliman... Vijae Alquisola Earist Technozette, Earist... Heide Sarno Heraldo Filipino, Dlsu-Dasmariñas... Michael Pante Matanglawin, Ateneo... Lourdes Molina-Fernandez Editor-In-Chief, Business Mirror... Ma. Aleta Nieva People’s Taliba... Jo M. Clemente... Pokus Gitnang Luson... Jay Torres... Lorena Rivera-Villareal... Fred Villareal... Ryan Rosauro... Gina V. Rodriguez Philippine Daily Inquirer-Southern Luzon Bureau... Ester G. Dipasupil Philippine Daily Inquirer-Metro Section... Stephanie N. Asuncion Philippine Daily Inquirer-Metro Section... Carlos V. Jugo... Aubrey Makilan Bulatlat, Silangan Shimbun... Jose Medhina Awad... Florfina Marcelino The Philippine Times, Canada... Philippine Press Council... A. Luis Miguel Toledo Philippine Graphic... Francis Capistrano Businessworld... Tj Burgonio Philippine Daily Inquirer... Louie Jon Sanchez Philippine Graphic... Angel Tesorero Pinoy Weekly... Priam Nepomuceno Malaya... Jhong Dela Cruz Malaya... Ruelle Albert Castro Malaya... Liliana Candelaria Malaya... Alena Flores Manila Standard-Today... Kerlyn Bautista Businessworld... Darwin Amojelar Manila Times... Paul Anthony Isla Businessmirror... Luis Teodoro...

Why would Conrad take this position on the Danish cartoons that so patently contradicts his stated beliefs and those of many of his colleagues, not least the newspaper that he works for? Why would take an inconsistent position so contrary to their natural impulses and demonstrated beliefs? It's leftist political correctness. The answer is in the title of his article (I just have to add 2 words of explanation): HATE for America -- even if she has nothing to do with these Danish cartoons at all! Here's the tip-off from CDQ --
The protest has already gone past Denmark to the United States, some Arab protesters saying it’s the US’s role as chief infidel that’s encouraging anti-Muslim attacks of this sort.
When the Press begins to play politics like this, we have real reason to worry, I think. My position has been clearly stated in --

Freedom of Religion IS Freedom of Expression
The basic democratic principles that govern this situaation, IMHO, are discussed here.
Danish Cartoons Broke the Muslim Taboo On Idolatry
This is why the Muslims have rioted.
It's Capital Blasphemy Just To Describe the Cartoons

By the way, the editorial cartoon at the top of this post was published in the Los Angeles Times and was in reference to Jews, who did not riot over the "irresponsible journalism" that was blaspheming their famous "Wailing Wall." I adopted it to explain why Conrado de Quiros has become a moral and logical contortionist in this matter, and I predict a flurry of people agreeing with him, because they feel the same way.

23 comments:

Major Tom said...

Hi djb...I have read the Conrado de Quiros article and I believe that he didn't really defended the muslim rioters or their violent ways. I guess he was just calling to a more responsible manner of reporting or broadcasting, where sensibilities towards racial and religious communities are still a consideration to take. Maybe I am wrong in the way I read it, maybe you could expound further on this...Thanks and more power to you...

Rizalist said...

It's the inconsistency of his stand on the Danish cartoons relative to the big controversy over the phrase "responsible exercise of freedom of expression" that Joe Abueva's Concom wanted to introduce into the Bill of Rights, that struck me. Also he says he is concerned that journalists are being killed left and right and that is an assault on Press Freedom itself. Yet, when mobs call for the death of journalists for being journalists, he doesn't think it has anything to do with Press Freedom. That's a revealing inconsistency. My point here way WHY he can be such a sophist about it.

Econblogger said...

It cuts both ways. If Muslims object against Westerners "imposing" their values, then by golly Muslims may not impose their values on Westerners. Condemning a mistake is not the same as demanding that the mistake be rectified or prevented by force.

His MLK analogy is false. I would draw the line of press freedom at calling or inciting to violence (though the line is blurry, if done so satirically). However if his analogy was a newspaper claiming that MLK thought black men were inherently inferior, criminal, depraved, prone to rape, etc., then that would be a perfect analogy. Such a newspaper has done a deplorable thing. We would do well - nay we must - condemn such a newspaper. But never call for, not even hint, applying the force of the State to bear against this mistake. Press freedom is a magnificent Western value we dare not compromise, even to prevent hate-mongering.

Without Borders said...

i agree with econblogger. press freedom is non-negotiable. its our last defense against despotism, tyranny, and authoritarianism. nothing should should be sacrosanct; that's the only was we could push the frontiers of human civilization.

Without Borders said...

gee, i wonder had galileo not revolted against the earth-as-center-of-universe theory, we would still be living in the darkness of ignorance today. to question that theory then was blasphemous and would merit death. ha ha.

Rizalist said...

welcome without borders. Still we must uphold the right of all the believe in anything or nothing at all. I do so for all faiths and their various apostasies. But the only peace that is possible is the peace of toleration. thanks for visiting.

Without Borders said...

i agree with you. but i believe in the idea that we should always extend the frontiers to expand human freedom and all the possibilities that come with it.

manuelbuencamino said...

Is freedom of speech incompatible with basic decency and respect?

Are basic decency and respect incompatible with freedom of speech?

HILLBLOGGER said...

DJB,

Here's one for the road:

I believe that decency and respect are not incompatible with freedom of scpeech and basic decency should be a backbone in any undertaking.

Nobody really likes to be carricatured because carricatures are a grotesque illustration of a person and a gross deformation of reality. Christ has been carricatured in the most grotesque forms and published in many newspapers, magazines, publications as grossly as could be, but Christians didn't burn down buildings or threatened governments with violent retaliatory moves.

Imagine Bush, Chirac, Gloria (yuck), Blair, etc. carricatured as badly as those Danish cartoons as Mohammed yet their supporters don't go around pelting newspapers with bullets or bombs!

Having said that, I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that those Danish cartoons were published several months ago (3 or 4 months ago?) yet when they first appeared, there wasn't a squeak heard from Muslims in the Middle East or anywhere else, save perhaps from the muslims in Denmark.

Then, out of the blue or a few months later (when the editorial cartoons were no longer technically 'news'), there were simultaneous cries and verbal stampedes from Muslims in key cities of the globe.

Why the delayed reaction? It's all a bit suspicious - my guess is that this public outcry took months to happen because some organization (dunno who or which) had to ORCHESTRATE a worldwide Islamic move against the Danes and by extension, against the Christian West.

Anyway, these things are a bit too difficult to comprehend for a simple sailor like me.

Rizalist said...

MB--Not at all. But Freedom of Religion is really a special form of freedom of expression. Just as Freedom of the Press is a special form of freedom of expression. As such all acts that seek to be covered under EITHER freedom of religion OR freedom of the press, must be judged worthy or not of such protection by whether they conform to the lawful requirements on the exercise of free speech.

Religions as such have no rights under democracy to have their beliefs enforced at the expense of the rights of others. A lack of "respect" should be prosecuted under libel laws.

But one thing I know, there is no CRIME in the Revised Penal Code called "blasphemy".

If we don't hold the line here on what is RIGHT by Allah's and Mohammed's best lights, and not the false glare of political correctnes, we will only sheepisly realize the error of our ways in some, grimmer context. I'm only glad I don't work for MSM any more -- where they are constrained from saying this.

Rizalist said...

Major Tom -- Look up the Brussels Journal or the Belmont Club. They have the full skinny on how this whole thing got going months after initial obscure publication. Radical Danish imams carried copies of them to a conference in Egypt...etc...talk about putting pork rinds in a Vegan's breakfast.

AmericanPainter said...

We really didn’t need the Danish Cartoons to get the message of hate coming from the Muslim world. They will use anything to get that message out over and over again.

The idea of some that we should in any way alter freedom of the press to suit them fails to merit thought. The Muslims are free to depict the Danes or anyone else in any way that suits them. Appeasement is not the answer.

As Edward Abbey said, “Freedom begins between the ears.” What a pity for Conrado de Quiros.

blogtrasher said...

Agree. There got to be a reason for his inconsistency. Could it be that Quiros values is in conflict, to a point where his religious beliefs had overrule his love for press freedom? That blasphemy of Mohammad would also encourage same acts against Jesus Christ?

Amadeo said...

Could it have something to do with "the enemy of your enemy is your friend?"

For me, the above statement about sums up why the sudden strategic "enlightenment" on responsibilities and press freedom.

And if one is good enough with words, one can present a rather good enough thesis to make it believable.

In both academic debates and the debates in real life, most able participants are able to argue convincingly both sides to any issue.

I am afraid knowing the political sentiments of Mr. Quiros, this may be one instance where arguing the opposing side may serve a personal purpose.

Though Mr. Quiros has been known to visit the land of the beast and enjoy its decadent amenities.

Rizalist said...

Amadeo -- The most ironic thing is that that is the same place he got his ideology from. I've been studying the early 20th century and discovering that our Leftists are direct descendants of the US Anti Imperialist League in far more direct ways than one might think The ironic and funny result is that even our Leftists are the one really guilty of a "colonial mentality"!

Without Borders said...

im happy that this cartoon thing has happened for it forces us to confront the issues real hard and know where we stand. i realized im for press freedom.

Major Tom said...

Yeah I sort of knew about this thing that has gone around for months now. What I read is that the Jyllands Postens initially published the controversial cartoons about September of last year but what really exploded into this whole mess was the reprintings done by other European newspapers.

The riotings does not seem to abate. Just about this morning, I heard from CNN how the protesters in Pakistan got so violent that buildings were set afire. In my mind, I just hope that all this must end well. To be sure, violence in the streets shouldn't be condoned, or anywhere else for that matter...

Rizalist said...

Major Tom,
Violence is always regrettable. But it wasn't really the RECENT reprintings that got it going. It was Danish imams who carried the cartoons into Egypt, and TWO cartoons were inserted, the most offensive ones, that were never originally published! Check the Belmont Club for the full skinny.

Econblogger said...

Is free speech incompatible with decency and respect?

Well if there are indecent and disrepectful people around, sure.

Problem is, decency and respect are not values to be legislated. Nor should violent acts aimed at imposing somebody's notion of decency and respect be tolerated.

Rizalist said...

econblogger,
I like to think that it is because of free speech that societies increase the mutual understanding among people. And that is what breeds "respect" and "decency".

Amadeo said...

Quite an unintended Gotcha on the editorial cartoon. HaHa.

Sometimes, when issues, such as the one at the bar, have razor-sharp edges or hair-line distinctions, proponents get confused which side they are arguing from and appear to argue from both sides of the issue.

Issues such as respect, decency, sensibilities, freedom, values,etc.

Who or what is the grand arbiter for all?

Recall the definition of porn? There is none.

So far the most acceptable: I know porn when I see one.

Thus very subjective.

Remember: beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

Why not evil is in the eye of the beholder, too?

Rizalist said...

Its a case of the writing hand not knowing what the drawing hand is doing.

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