MANILA — Veteran journalist and ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) anchor Christian Esguerra on Friday was named this year’s Marshall McLuhan fellow by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).
Esguerra received the fellowship at the conclusion of the Jaime V. Ongpin (JVO) Journalism Seminar, where he also served as a panelist.
The JVO is an annual seminar organized by the CMFR that gathers journalists who did important work in the preceding year to discuss pressing issues in journalism and the country.
This year’s JVO panelists included Esguerra, his fellow ABS-CBN journalists Chiara Zambrano and Mike Navallo, GMA7’s Raffy Tima, Philstar.com’s Camille Diola and Rappler’s Lian Buan.
Unlike previous years, the panel was conducted online given restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, the journalists discussed how the global pandemic has affected news coverage as well as press freedom in the Philippines, given the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN and the weaponization of the law in the country.
Esguerra received the McLuhan fellowship from Canada’s Ambassador to the Philippines Peter MacArthur.
MacArthur lauded Esguerra for “consistency in providing the public outstanding coverage of the most pressing stories of the day; knowledge of a wide range of issues, deftness in adapting to the changing platforms of the industry, and a desire to mold the next generation of media professionals“ as well as his “passion for the craft (that) transcends news platforms, and whose proficient mastery to discover and explain the facts restricts the space for disinformation to thrive.”
Philstar.com’s Diola meanwhile received the 2020 award of distinction.
Diola received the award for “going beyond the surface of news online” and for her “innovative spirit on cyberspace.”
The CMFR award is given to journalists who “provide a model for journalism, enhancing the relevance of news and revitalizing the values of truth and freedom in its practice.”
Established in 1997, the prestigious Marshall McLuhan Fellowship is awarded yearly by the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines to a recipient "embodying outstanding qualities in the field of investigative journalism."
The fellow will travel to universities across Canada and the Philippines to deliver lectures on a chosen topic in journalism.
Previous McLuhan fellows include Patricia Evangelista (2019), Jeff Canoy (2018), Manny Mogato (2017), Gigi Grande (2016), Joseph Morong (2015), Cheche Lazaro (2014), Eileen Mangubat (2013), Lynda Jumilla (2012), Carol Arguillas (2011), Ed Lingao (2010), Diosa Labiste (2009), Glenda Gloria (2008), Inday Varona (2007), Gerry Lirio (2006), Yvonne Chua (2000, 2005), Tess Bacalla (2004), Luz Rimban (2003), Miriam Grace Go (2002), Vinia Datinguinoo (2001), Ellen Tordesillas (1999) and Sheila Coronel (1998).