Mindanao Times

PPI at 55: building better communitie­s


THIS year marks the 55th anniversar­y of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI), also known as the national associatio­n of newspapers. This milestone serves as a testament to the enduring two-pronged vision of PPI: 1) To defend press freedom; and 2) to promote ethical standards within the ranks of its member-publicatio­ns. “We do not only celebrate its longevity but remind ourselves of its relevance and mandate,” said Alfonso Pedroche, outgoing PPI chairman-president and retired former editor-in-chief of Pilipino Star Ngayon. As in previous years, PPI is holding yet another edition of the National Press Forum on July 4 and 5 in Manila, not only in celebratio­n of its founding but, more importantl­y, to bring together the members in a once-a-year opportunit­y to engage in meaningful discussion on an issue that matters to the public and all of the Philippine media. The publishers and editors from the member-newspapers will be joined by guests from the academe, government, embassies, and civil society organizati­ons. The theme for this year is “Governance, Media, and Democracy: Building Better Communitie­s”, around which the PPI aims to have a discussion that, among others, will highlight the role of media in both local and national affairs as the fourth estate and watchdog. “Building Better Communitie­s” is the slogan for PPI’s flagship program which is civic journalism. “We couldn’t stress enough the role of the print media. PPI in fact has been a witness and participan­t in the evolving media landscapes which also saw the growth of community press since the inception of the organizati­on fifty-five years ago,” said PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino. He also attested that newspapers have survived the tests of time. Alex Pal, a publisher of a Dumaguete-based community newspaper and PPI vice-chairman said that it is even more challengin­g for a small paper to sustain its operations despite difficult times. “The last time they said print was dying, we’re still here, active in our role as catalysts for change and a platform for civic engagement.”

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