‘Mosquito press’ cited in NAM rites
MANILA, Philippines—Big names in the Marcos-era “mosquito press” were among those conferred the Ninoy Aquino Medal of Valor on Sunday during ceremonies marking the 30th death anniversary of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
The event, organized by the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM), was held on the tarmac of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 where Aquino was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983.
NAM said these journalists were among the “freedom fighters” who “provided outstanding service to the cause of freedom, justice, peace and democracy.”
Eggie Apostol and Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, Inquirer founder and editor in chief, respectively, were among the awardees. Apostol was then publisher of Mr. & Ms magazine and Magsanoc, its editor.
“Armed only with their indomitable spirit to expose the truth, they disclosed Marcos’ abuses, human rights violations and corruption amid extreme danger,” said NAM founding chair and former Sen. Heherson T. Alvarez.
“Mosquito press” refers to the anti-dictatorship newspapers during the martial law era.
A posthumous award was given to Jose Burgos, publisher-editor of We Forum, in recognition of the weekly’s effort to link the democratic opposition with the press network.
The other awardees were: Japanese journalist Kiyoshi Wakamiya, who covered the opposition’s struggles against the dictatorship and witnessed Aquino’s assassination; Charlie Avila, who helped in the investigation of the Marcos’ stolen wealth in the United States and coordinated the exile forces and the Philippine opposition; Rolando Montiel, who led the April 6 Movement and organized marginal sectors; and Ivo Sieber of the Swiss Embassy, who set in motion the repatriation of stolen assets to the Philippines.
The San Jose Mercury News, an American newspaper that won a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for a series of exposés on the dictator’s hidden wealth, was also a special honoree, together with human rights advocates Volunteer Lawyers for Human Rights led by former Sen. Rene Saguisag and the Association of Major Religious Superiors and Corps of Jesuits.
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