The formation of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) addresses one of the critical concerns confronting the Philippines after People Power toppled the Marcos dictatorship in February 1986. That concern calls attention to the power of the media and the role of the free press in the development of Philippine democracy.
All over the world, press freedom has been essential to the democratic system. Effective participatory government is possible only when it can count on a well-informed society where individuals freely exchange ideas, and public debate and discussion arise from knowledge and understanding of national affairs.
That freedom involves not only media professionals, but also the public served by the media—public officials, the private sector, civil society groups, readers, viewers, and listeners—who receive information and are part of the cycle of public communication. But freedom of the press, like all liberties, has its limits, for the simple reason that it is vulnerable to abuse.
Democratic recovery confronts serious obstacles on the media front. The press and the media need to exert special efforts to measure up as a collective vehicle of information, and as an instrument for clarifying the complex issues and dilemmas of development that the public should understand.
Against this background, CMFR was organized in 1989 as a private, non-stock, non-profit organization involving the different sectors of society in the task of building up the press and news media as a pillar of democratic society. Its programs uphold press freedom, promote responsible journalism, and encourage journalistic excellence.