By YFUR PORSCHE P. FERNANDEZ
MANILA, Philippines --- Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim on Tuesday emphasized the importance and role of media in social development and nation-building during the opening ceremonies of the two-day 2nd Philippine Print Media Congress (PrintCon 2012) at the historic landmark Manila Hotel.
“The role of media is to foster unity among people, to develop friendship, so as to be united as a people,” Lim said in his keynote address before hundreds of delegates.
Lim stressed that the media industry should be an “inspiration of the people,” and not “an avenue for negative and derogatory utterances.”
“You can shoot or kill the one who writes the idea, but you can never, never kill the idea,” Lim said. [more]
Highlighting the “power of the press,” Lim cited Kalayaan, the newspaper of the revolutionary movement Katipunan in the late 1800s, which, he said, advanced the aspirations of the anti-colonial movements in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period.
Lim honored propagandists, among them the nation’s heroes Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Antonio Luna, who sought reforms to attain an independent, self-reliant and progressive national identity.
The Manila Mayor appealed to all media practitioners to continue the “noble objective” of the profession despite occupational hazards.
The mayor sponsored a bill decriminalizing libel against journalists.
Media practitioners are “heroes in their own rights,” yet “unsung heroes,” in terms of fighting corruption, Lim said.
Organized by the United Print Media Group (UPMG), PrintCon 2012 opened with ribbon-cutting rites; a trade presentation; two songs from pop idol Christian Bautista, who performed “You Raised Me Up” and “Beautiful To Me”; and UPMG Vice President and Congress Chairman Barbie Atienza’s formally declaring the opening of the Congress.
UPMG President and AdBoard Chairman Ricky Alegre delivered the welcome remarks, where he pointed out the significance of the print medium despite the changing times.
“Our world today has become entirely information-based. This information helps put our lives together and provides us with the wisdom as we cope with the drastic changes of technology,” Alegre told the delegates, whom he thanked later in his speech.
Alegre said the print medium has become one of the vital components of disseminating information, which can influence people’s lives to the fullest, emphasizing that “print connects.”
“The print medium connects because it informs and communicates,” Alegre said. “Indeed, it remains significant because it is in touch with people on current happenings, trends and developments. It connects us to the world of show business, and even to sports and entertainment, which continue to stir influence among readers.”
PrintCon 2012 carries the theme “Print Connects!”
Aside from Lim’s speech, a roster of speakers from prominent academic, media and marketing organizations also tackled the print media’s development, current condition, trends and challenges.
“One of the things that we sometimes forget is how important newspapers and magazines are in changing and forming opinion,” Jamieson said. “Newspapers and magazines need to localize, to stop competing and start playing, to integrate measurement, and to engage.”
“Don’t be afraid of the digital world. Embrace it; find a way to make sure that your brand looks and feels exactly the same online as it is offline,” Jamieson suggested.
“If you want to understand Philippine media at present, you have to know its history and its past in order for you to see the future,” said Maslog in an interview before he delivered his speech.
Maslog, author of “Philippine Mass Communication: A Mini-history,” added that the roots of print media in the Philippines can be described using the Western-oriented style of journalism.
Meanwhile, Ipsos, Inc. Carole Sarthou and Nielsen managing directors Stuart Jamieson, presented the current status of print media as compared to television, radio and digital platforms.
Jamieson said that not all is doom and gloom for newspapers and the rest of the print industry. "As long as print continues to reinvent… by evolving with the landscape and the audience, cultivating the practice of reading, and leveraging on its strength… it will remain significant, Sarthou said.”(With reports from Leo O. Laparan II and Carlos Dave B. Garcia)