Philippines

Announcement surprises media community

Analysis 

By Teodoro Alcuitas

Editor, philippinecanadiannews.com

In a terse one-sentence notice in his Facebook page today (yesterday in the Phiippines), long-time editor-in-chief Joel Pablo Salud of the Philippines Graphic caught everybody by surprise as they woke up this morning.

“I regret to inform everyone that as of today, I am no longer the editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic.”

The loss of Salud was mourned like a ‘death in the family’ by friends and admirers, coming on the heels of the conviction for cyber libel of Rappler’s Maria Reesa and Rey Santos barely a month ago and the closure of ABS-CBN.

“Just getting warmed up…” the 57-year old father of three,  assured commenters to his post. Salud has been at the helm of the Philippines’ most celebrated magazine for 11 years. 

Salud and the staff at Philippines Graphic. (Photo: Breaking Asia.com)

Salud is reticent on the reasons of his departure but there is no doubt that he is just another ‘nail in the coffin’ in Duterte’s war on his media critics.

During the Marcos years, there was a popular saying attributed to Gen.Fabian Ver that goes – “Isa-isahin ko kayo lahat,” meaning “I will get you one by one ”.

The prolific book author is a fierce critic of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in his Facebook page albeit maintaining an independent stanch in his editorial capacity at the magazine.

Graphic is published by the Philippine Graphic Publication Inc., who is owned by Aliw Media Group. Aliw is part of a media conglomerate founded by the late Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua. It’s assets include CNN Philippines and state-owned Radio Philippines Network among others.

The spate of media closures and retrenching bodes ill for Philippine journalism, once considered the “freest in Asia” before it was brought to its knees by the Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos 48 years ago.

Like other Philippine journalists, Salud is not immune to the threats, either by social media or physically, on his life.

“It’s quite an understatement to say it’s a difficult profession. The job puts you at risk with some of the most powerful people who would not think twice to either charge you with libel or have a bullet pumped through the back of your head,” he told Breaking Asia (www.breakingasia.com) in an interview last year.

Still, he stands steadfast in his profession.

“ Journalism is not for the faint of heart.”

And there’s no way he’ll put his pen down.

Not even today’s loss of the editor-in-chief’s chair.