"We should carry on. Dictatorship is knocking at our doors. Tyranny lurks in the corner."
Asia’s first and largest Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Manila, has awarded BizNewsAsia a prestigious prize in these trying times, the RCM Pro Patria Journalism Award 2021.
The Pro Patria Journalism plum was also given to 18 other media institutions – the major daily newspapers, television channels, and radio stations.
A major awardee is my favorite daily newspaper, The Manila Standard where I write a column twice a week, every Wednesday and Friday.
At an elegant and, should I say overwhelming awarding ceremony by Zoom yesterday, the 19 awardees received an exquisitely designed trophy and a specially framed certificate with the Rotary Club of Manila zeal and a color picture of the trophy itself.
The Pro Patria award, RCM said, is given BizNewsAsia:
“For its commitment of valuable resources for the protection of free expression and its resilience in disseminating fair and truthful information resulting in an informed and enlightened citizenry;
“By its fearless and selfless use of platform and facilities for constructive criticism of government policies and actions, and encouraging adequate and competent scrutiny of private enterprise, and
“By promoting public and private collaboration in building a strong nation of healthy, peaceful, confident and dynamic people.”
Here is my acceptance speech during yesterday’s broadcast via zoom, during RCM’s regular weekly meeting:
“Thank you for this prestigious prize, the Pro Patria Journalism award of the Rotary Club of Manila.
“It is fitting that this award is called Pro Patria—Pro Country. BizNewsAsia is pro Philippines.
“BizNewsAsia is pro-business. BizNewsAsia is pro economy. BizNewsAsia is pro-country.
“Some publications focus on simple news. Some others focus on fashion and lifestyles of the rich and famous. A few focus on scandals. Not us.
“For BizNewsAsia takes the road not usually travelled. Business. The economy. The Philippines.
“With this guiding faith, BizNewsAsia has become the largest and most influential weekly business and news magazine in the Philippines. In fact, I believe BizNewsAsia is the only surviving weekly business and news magazine in the Philippines today.
“Other newspapers and publications, and broadcast stations, have weakened or withered away with the pandemic. Not BizNewsAsia.
“In 2020, BizNewsAsia had its best year in its 20-year history – in terms of readership, circulation, reach, revenues—and, modesty aside, profits.
“In 2019, BizNewsAsia received from the Rotary Club of Manila, three major awards – BizNewsAsia as publication of the year. And myself, Tony Lopez, as the Rotary Club of Manila Journalist of the Year 2019 and the Rotary Club of Centennial Journalist of the Year 2019, on the occasion of RCM’s 100th year. The Journalist of the Year of the last 100 years.
“For this and the previous awards given by RCM to BizNewsAsia, I am eternally grateful.
“Your recognition is our guiding light and inspiration to carry on for the next 20 years, if not longer, and hopefully, strive to remain No. 1, as always.
“I want to thank my family, my children, my grandchildren, and my colleagues in BizNewsAsia, for helping put out BizNewsAsia week after week, without letup, without respite, for the last 20 years.
“I also want to congratulate my colleagues in the journalism profession. Our profession is one of the most dangerous in the Philippines. And in the rest of the world. We are an endangered species.
“Scores of journalists have died in the last 20 years; in fact, hundreds in the last 50 years that I have been in this profession.
“But we should carry on. Dictatorship is knocking at our doors. Tyranny lurks in the corner.
“We should continue fighting for free speech, our freedom, our democracy, our Philippines.”