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Breaking Asia

Press Freedom Under Fire: An Interview with Joel Pablo Salud

Journalists in the Philippines continue to battle for their lives — and their right to defend the nation’s democracy. To say that journalism in the Philippines is “under heavy fire” would be a gross understatement.

Joel Pablo Salud — Editor in Chief @ Philippines Graphics

As a journalist, what is always on your mind when you write something that goes against any form of power, but bears the truth?

Does it ever cross your mind that someone might go after you, physically or otherwise, after writing news that paints people in a truer light?

Maria Ressa’s case has created ripples in the international community and the PH government has found it necessary to spend resources to reassure the said community that press freedom is alive and well in the country. What’s your message to the people behind the press freedom caravan?

There are a lot of stories of journalists who eventually exhaust themselves either in the process or because of how they are treated in general by media companies. Was there ever a time in your career as a journalist that you felt like putting the pen down permanently?

One of the brightest moments of PH journalism is when the Marcos dictatorship was toppled — because, despite the fact that writers and artists were being summarily jailed and even killed by the dictatorship, journalists continued working for the people. Can you tell us about a time in your career when you felt that the work of journalists helped create concrete change and action?

What was your most memorable assignment as a journalist? Why?

If you could interview any personage, alive or otherwise, who would that be and what questions would you ask this person?

Campus journalism is alive and well, but for the most part, students across the nation are being trained to be competitive, to win the contests, but not exactly to position themselves as bearers of truth and democracy. What are your thoughts about the current state of campus journalism in the PH?

How strongly do you believe that journalism in the PH can help balance and control power? What changes do you want to hopefully see in the future?

Moving beyond the Philippine situation, what are your thoughts about China’s direction with regard to its own journalists?

What is your parting message to people and groups who want to silence writers and journalists?