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Journalism conference highlights disinformation, press freedom attacks under Duterte

The top awards went to stories on press freedom and the effects of the war on drugs.

May 11, 2018

Celine Samson


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The winners of the Philippine Journalism Research Conference 2018. (Photo by Alex Tamayo)

Disinformation and attacks against the media under the Rodrigo Duterte administration were the highlight of this year’s Philippine Journalism Research Conference, with the top awards going to stories on press freedom and the effects of the war on drugs.

Doing journalism now “means countering the brazen lies about journalism, press freedom, and free speech that President Duterte and his subordinates propagate,” said John Nery, editor in chief, in his keynote speech.

“It means fighting back against ‘fake news’ and other forms of disinformation. It means doing journalism at a time of hyped-up hostility against journalists,” he told the audience of students, academics and journalists May 3 at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

The following students received this year’s Chit Estella Student Journalism Awards:

  • UP Diliman’s Rogelio Tubije II, best news analysis in Academic Research category, for his study on how Manny V. Pangilinan’s newly acquired ownership of the Philippine Star affected its coverage of his subsidiaries
  • University of Santo Tomas students Maria Isabelle Alamag and Krystal Gayle Digay, best journalism study in Academic Research category, for their study on the exposure of Filipino journalists to potentially traumatic events brought on by their work
  • Ateneo de Manila University students Janelle Kaela Malig and Kristine Taguines, Special Project, for their text-and-photo reports on children left behind by victims of alleged extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s war on drugs
  • UP Diliman’s Mark Kevin Reginio, Investigative Reporting category, for his story on the illegal operation of three Quezon City slaughterhouses

The award is named after UP professor, veteran journalist and VERA Files trustee Chit Estella-Simbulan, who died 2011 in a car crash along Commonwealth Avenue.

Started in 2013, the annual PJRC aims to foster research in journalism studies, and the development of investigative journalism among mass communication students.

Participants include students, faculty and media practitioners from journalism and communication schools all over the country.

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