At this lecture, speaker David Celdran used a comparative study of the media experience in selected Southeast Asian countries to show how deregulated media environments and unbridled commercialisation of the press threatened to trivialise public discourse and exacerbate political and ethnic conflict. The experience of democratic transition in Asia and Europe show a similar contradiction of political underdevelopment despite the presence of a newly assertive and free press.
– Why is more freedom of the press creating less meaningful political engagement among citizens and less accountability among their leaders?
– How can we continue to guard our free and independent press while instituting reforms that enable it to credibly assert itself in the public sphere?
– How can the press serve as a watchdog to the powerful in an environment where the pressures of the marketplace are compounded by political and economic under-development?
Mr. David Celdran, Senior Anchorperson, ABS-CBN News Channel, the Philippines