Brandsma, Defender of Press Freedom
"Truth can never be neutral. It must be imbued with mystical dimensions" - these were the words of the Blessed Titus Brandsma, according to Dr. Inigo M.K. Bocken who explained Titus Brandsma's concept of truth. This should be the guiding principle for journalists in the neo-liberal environment that has fomented so much cynicism, Dr. Bocken, director of the Titus Bransdma Institue in the Netherlands, added. The former was guest speaker at the 6th Titus Brandsma Award for Leadership in journalism and community media held recently in Manila.
A Carmelite friar, Brandsma was a renowned university professor and scholar who became an outspoken opponent of Nazi policies . Labelled a "most dangerous man" by the Nazis, he is regarded as one of the most courageous defenders of human rights, specifically freedom of the press, the right to education, and a just society for all. He was arrested for his writings and speeches against the powers and was eventually executed. Guided by his passionate search for the truth, Brandsma found the confines of the academe and the monastery limiting. Thus, he ventured into journalism as spiritual director of he Catholic Journalists Association. This provided him the venue for counseling journalists and for fighting the forces of media censorship.
The two Titus Brandsma awardees for 2013 - Red Batario for Leadership in Journalism, and the Philippine Educational Theater Association or PETA, for Leadership in Communication and Culture and Arts, were recognized for the significant contribution they have made in our society. As a journalist for 30 years, Red has been at the forefront in efforts to promote public journalism or community media. …