MANILA, Philippines -- I got asked by a reporter last week if Mike Arroyo’s decision to drop the charges against 46 journalists was something to be glad about in light of that day being Press Freedom Day.
My answer was: Why on Earth should anyone be thankful for something like that? Why on earth should we see that as a boon to press freedom? Press freedom is not something we owe to him. It is not his to give or take, proffer or withdraw, as he pleases. Press freedom is a right. It is something to be enjoyed and exercised as a matter of course. It is not a gift that may be freely bestowed by the First Gentleman or his wife, especially since neither one of them has any rightful claim to the positions they occupy. It is part of the condition of our being as citizens who live in a democracy. Or who like to think we do.
Yeah, for the journalists to thank Pidal for dropping the libel suit is like expecting falsely accused whistleblower Acsa Ramirez to be grateful to GMA and Reynaldo Wycoco for not tormenting her any further.