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CMMA@40 – Judges’ forum

Jurors praised, renew commitment to Christian values in fight against fake news

Members of the the CMMA Secretariat staff at the Judges’ Forum, together with (8th from left to rightmost) Rev. Fr. Rufino C. Sescon, Jr., CMMA trustee and executive director; Atty. Patricia A.O. Bunye, trustee; Mr. Enriquez, Ms. Sharon Tan, D. Edgard A. Cabangon, chairman of the board of trustees; Benjamin V. Ramos, assistant to the chairman; Rev. Fr. Joselito L. Buenafe, trustee and chairman of CMMA Production; and Rev. Fr. Hans D. Magdurulang, judges coordinator.

 The judges of the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) won praise and recognition for their role in promoting human and Christian values at the CMMA Judges Forum held July 5. Thursday, as part of the awards-giving body’s 40th anniversary celebration this year.

More than 30 of them – media and communication professionals, academicians, civic leaders, members of the clergy, lay leaders and media observers – attended the event at the Lay Formation Center of San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati, along with CMMA officers, trustees and Secretariat personnel.

Rev. Fr. Jerome Secillano

They also heard insights and ideas shared by television and radio broadcaster Mike Enriquez, president of RGMA, and Rev. Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, on the 40th CMMA’s theme ”The truth will set you free” (Jn 8.32) Fake news and journalism for peace.”

Rev. Fr. Hans Magdurulang, CMMA judges coordinator, said the Judges’ Forum was held “as a way for CMMA judges to update and renew their commitment to serve the Lord by acknowledging the true and positive image of the mass media.”

The Judges’ Forum began with a holy mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Anton Pascual, president of Radio Veritas.

Acknowledging the challenges posed by fake news, Father Pascual said even this could serve as an opportunity for the faithful to strengthen their faith.

“We are in challenging times, but it is also a very good situation. It is an opportunity for us to witness to the kingdom and experience the healing and restoration of Jesus Christ,” Pascual said in his homily.

The Caritas Manila executive director said people can rise to the challenge by reaffirming the truth as they know it. The CMMA panel of judges and board of trustees are now in the forefront of this challenge, he said.

Media, after all, greatly influences the mind of its audience, Pascual said.

“The challenge is [to] feed your mind with truth everyday. Free your mind when you start your talks and focus always on prayers.”

For his part, D. Edgard A. Cabangon, CMMA chairman, said he is confident the CMMA judges will be able to fulfill their role of picking the deserving winners.

“They are professionals in their own work. Their competence and impartiality as communication professionals make the CMMA the most valued award for mass-media workers,” Cabangon said.

“I am sure they will keep alive the CMMA ideal of promoting Christian values through the mass media,” he added.

Television and radio broadcaster Mike Enriquez, president of RGMA

Enriquez called on media practitioners and Church people not to be afraid in telling the truth in a time of rampant misinformation. He stressed the importance of promoting truth today amid the numerous “purveyors of ‘fake news’” in society. “For me, personally and professionally, the best weapon against fake news starts with faith in the truth,” he said, adding “With faith, the fight against fake news will succeed.”

Enriquez said both the media and Church could combat the spread of misinformation by going back to the source of truth.

For Secillano, the source of truth is Jesus, whose words provide guidelines on what is good, transcending practicality and sometimes even reason. “We are having a crisis of truth because [there are] so many people who try to question the legitimacy of these biblical, theological truths of our faith,” he added.

Established in 1978 by the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, the CMMA is one of the longest existing local awards for the press, television, radio and film.

Ambassador Antonio L. Cabangon Chua, founder of the ALC Group of Companies named after his initials, served as president and chairman of the CMMA since 1999, when he was appointed by Cardinal Sin, until he passed away in March 2016.

A CMMA@40 photo exhibit has also been mounted to commemorate the 40th year of the CMMA. Here are two of the panels highlighting winners including the movie “Himala” that was Cinema winner in 1982 and Freddie Aguilar with his song “Anak” awarded as Best Song in 1980.

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