THE CANADIAN Embassy in the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) on Oct. 9 named Artlets professor Christian Esguerra as the 2020 Marshall McLuhan Fellow.

The Marshall McLuhan Award is given annually to a Filipino journalist who exhibited excellent work in the preceding year.

Esguerra, an anchor for the ABS-CBN News Channel, received the award at the end of the virtual Jaime V. Ongpin Journalism Seminar (JVOJS), an annual event organized by the CMFR.

Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur lauded Esguerra’s “passion for the craft [that] transcends new platforms and whose proficient mastery to discover and explain the facts restricts the space for disinformation to thrive.”

The award is named after the Canadian communication scholar and Catholic intellectual Marshall McLuhan, who coined the phrase “the medium is the message” and predicted the rise of the “global village” because of electronic media. Editor in Chief Camille Diola was the recipient of the 2020 Award of Distinction from CMFR.

Aside from Esguerra and Diola, this year’s JVOJS panelists included ABS-CBN journalists Chiara Zambrano and Mike Navallo, GMA News’ Raffy Tima and Rappler’s Lian Buan.

In March, Esguerra will travel to universities across Canada and the Philippines to deliver lectures.

Last year, Esguerra received the award of distinction from CMFR.

Esguerra, a two-time editor in chief of the Varsitarian and a cum laude journalism graduate of UST, is also a researcher at the UST Research Center for Culture, Arts and the Humanities.

No meekness in journalism

In the panel discussion, Esguerra highlighted how “people in power” had used the pandemic to control the flow of information.

Esguerra said efforts by the news media to clarify issues and hold public officials to account were evident, but some practitioners were meek and tended to “fall for the spin of people in government.”

“Cowardice and timidity have no place in journalism, especially today,” Esguerra told the Varsitarian. 

Esguerra said journalism schools should “instill the right DNA in future journalists so that pushback won’t be optional but a default reaction.”

The Marshall McLuhan Fellowship was first awarded in 1997. At least 21 journalists have been named fellows, including Sheila S. Coronel (Columbia Journalism School and Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism), Yvonne T. Chua (VERA Files), Ed Lingao (TV5), Carolyn O. Arguillas (MindaNews), Cheche Lazaro (ProbeTV), Rappler multimedia journalist Patricia Evangelista, and Rappler editors Glenda M. Gloria and Miriam Grace A. Go.


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