It was some 14 years ago when “Tinig Filipino in Woodcroft” was launched. It was a small publication that catered to some 500 Filipino residents in Woodcroft NSW. The name of the paper was changed to Woodcroft Tribune to distinguish itself from “Tinig Filipino,” another Filipino magazine in Hong Kong.
As its popularity grew, many residents clamoured for the name to be changed into something more representative of a Filipino publication in New South Wales. It paved the way for the birth of Philippine Tribune which was actually the same publication with a new twist — “a no-holds-barred reporting of what people want to know.”
Even as of now, many of the articles printed are controversial, making the paper as the most-sought-after Philippine publication in Australia.
Philippine Tribune survived for many years — thanks to the support of sponsors who have advertised continuously since inception. But in 2008, the paper was sued for defamation, prompting another change of name — Philippine Sentinel — registered under a different publisher.
If I were in the Philippines, I would have long been shot to death. Such is the risk faced by reporters who expose misdeeds committed by people. In a short while, I will be a septuagenarian. At this point in my life, I no longer fear death and will continue my crusade against wrongdoers.
I never claimed to have taken any course in journalism. I owe my ability to write from the American Jesuits who taught the fundamentals of correct grammar at one of the best learning institutions in the world. I must admit that I am still in the learning process in the practice of journalism. Knowledge about Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information, Right of Reply, and the Concept of Defamation can be gained through reading but proficiency can only be achieved through actual experience.
The editorial I wrote in the previous month was heavily criticized by a freelance writer who appears to have a “holier-than-thou” attitude. She published her article in the website of The Filipino Australian and the email loop of Filpress, proudly announcing to internet readers that “many errors were committed” in the editorial. She minced every phrase and every sentence, virtually making a public declaration that her ability to report was far superior than the editor of Philippine Sentinel. She even maliciously labelled the title of the editorial as “corny.” The public bullying and attack made is definitely unacceptable.
She obviously failed to realize that her remarks were defamatory and damaging. Philippine Sentinel reserves the right to seek legal advice and legal action if necessary, to preserve its integrity and defend the interest of several thousands of readers and hundreds of advertisers who have continuously supported the paper for many years. — Dino Crescini