The challenge of
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
November 23, 2020
WE cannot deny the very
important and crucial role journalism plays in our life. It is
supposed to bring us relevant pieces of news and information daily
or in some regular fashion.
tremendous influence in forming and shaping public opinion which is
always a very dynamic thing, marked by many different and even
conflicting views. It definitely is a necessity in any given
society, let alone, the whole world. That is why it has to be
practiced with a lot of care and sensitivity.
Given its fast-moving and
delicate character, it behooves everyone engaged in it to really
find the proper spirit that should animate his journalism. It should
not just be at the mercy of first impressions, knee-jerk reactions,
off-the-cuff comments or shooting from the hips. It requires a lot
of study and research.
Neither should journalism
be at the mercy of mere common sense and the possession of some
so-called facts and data. These things, while having their
legitimate value, can hardly capture the whole or global
significance of any event that journalism is supposed to report on.
Facts and data need to be
carefully verified. And more than that, they need to have the
motives, reason, if not the spirit behind them probed thoroughly.
Just citing facts and data is not a standard of objectivity, and
much less, of fairness. A lot more than merely presenting them is
We need to realize that
facts and data are not purely inert things that would simply tell us
the whole truth. They spring from our human condition that would
necessarily involve spiritual and even supernatural realities. Thus,
they depend also on how we select them, how we present them, how we
understand them, etc. Given this condition, facts and data can
indeed come up with a great variety of consequences.
And neither should
journalism be inspired merely by some ideological mindset. Again,
ideologies can offer some help in analyzing and explaining certain
events. But they do not and cannot capture the whole significance of
the things reported.
Sad to say, because of
this ideological flavoring of todayís journalism, we end up very
divided and confused, as people become too partisan, biased and with
deep prejudices. News items and commentaries can give out completely
different and contradicting reports and views.
As a result, we are now
fragmented into liberals or conservatives, progressives or
traditional, capitalist, socialist or communist, etc. We do not
anymore would know which is right. And this, of course, is no good
news for all of us!
There is now a crying need
for everyone engaged in journalism to return to God, to have a good,
healthy relation with God, for only then can journalism be in its
best condition. Itís amazing that this fundamental requirement for
journalism, as in any other human endeavor, is often flouted by
so-called professional and veteran journalists.
With God as the beginning
and end of journalism, one would know how to be a good journalist,
having a clear understanding of what his contribution to the common
good is, what means, resources and possibilities he can make use of,
as well as the limitations he has to contend with.
He would present things
with great tact and delicacy. He would avoid absolutizing what only
has a relative value, dogmatizing what only is an opinion, etc. In
the end, he should do journalism such that God is brought to the
people in the different issues of the times.