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                                First ecumenical Jury of 2018

First ecumenical Jury of 2018

Brussels, January 22nd, 2018 (SIGNIS). Since 2015, Interfilm and SIGNIS, represented by the Catholic Film Commission of the Bishops' Conference in Germany, are presenting an award at the Ecumenical Jury at the Max Ophüls Festival in Saarbrücken, which starts today. This festival is the first of the year in which SIGNIS participates. The € 2,500 ecumenical prize offered by the Catholic and Evangelical Adult Education Associations is awarded to a feature film of the official competition that expresses human, spiritual or social values. For the 39th Max Ophuls Festival, the members of the Ecumenical Jury are: Gerhard Alt (Germany): He studied German philology, philosophy and Catholic theology in Saarbrücken. Since 2008, he has been a teaching assistant of Catholic Adult Education (KEB) in the district of Saarlouis eV, and is in charge of the program of the seminar. Since 1998, he has been the moderator of the monthly event "Cave Philo" and since 1989, he has also been a freelance journalist. Martin Oostermann (Germany): Born in Essen, he studied theology, philosophy and German in Bochum with a doctorate in fundamental theology. From 2003 to 2012, he worked in the field of dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. From September 2012 to August 2014, he was an education consultant in the Diocese of Erfurt at the Bildungshaus (Training House) St. Ursula, where he supervised "Theology in the Distance Course" and the "Basic Course of the Bible ". Since September 2014, he is responsible for the course of religious catechesis as director of the course of theology. His fields of activity are didactics, contemporary cultural phenomena, narratology and anthropology, and media education, with particular emphasis on film work, especially in a theological perspective. Bernadette Meier (Switzerland): Since 1971 she has been a documentalist in different archives (TV- and Press archives) and since 1992 she has been working for the film magazine ZOOM and for the Swiss Film Archive (Cinémathèque suisse, Zweigstelle Zürich).  She has participated in several ecumenical juries. Waltraud Verlaguet (France): Waltraud is a doctor of medicine and theology. She studied medicine in Germany and Switzerland from 1968 to 1974. From 1978 to 1993, she practiced general medicine in France. She then studied theology at the University of Montpellier (France) before completing her PhD in 2003. She is a member of INTERFILM and PRO-FIL, as well as the editor-in-chief of Vu de Pro-fil magazine. She is the author of numerous publications on mysticism and cinema. She is also the founder and president of the film festival "Ciné festival in Pays de Fayence" (France) and has already been a member of several ecumenical juries.
<strong>Philippine church leaders warn against media repression</strong>

Philippine church leaders warn against media repression

Manila ,Philippines, January 19, 2018 (Mark Saludes and Inday Espina-Varona/Ucan). Several church leaders in the Philippines have joined a growing protest against what they called a state attempt to suppress the media following the license revocation of an online news website critical of the government.   Father Edwin Gariguez of the social action secretariat of the Catholic bishops' conference said the government "found a convenient way to harass and silence its perceived critics" with the withdrawal of the license for the Rappler news site. Rappler is known for its critical coverage of President Rodrigo Duterte's policies, especially his anti-illegal drugs campaign that has reportedly resulted in the death of at least 13,000 suspected drug users and peddlers. "This is clearly suppression of the press and freedom of expression," Father Gariguez said. On Jan. 16 Duterte accused the site of spreading fake news. "You can stop your suspicious mind from roaming somewhere else. But since you are a fake news outlet then I am not surprised that your articles are also fake," Duterte told a Rappler reporter at a press conference in Pasay City. "You went overboard, you are not only throwing toilet paper, you are throwing shit at us," he said. The Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked Rappler's license this week after accusing the news site of violating the constitution with regard to foreign ownership of media outlet.   Rappler denied the allegation, asserting that shares granted to investors "do not indicate ownership." The site maintained that its shareholders have signed an agreement giving full editorial and management control to the Filipino journalists and editors running the company. Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said, "there is something fishy" about the regulatory body's decision. He did not elaborate. Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro said that instead of silencing Rappler, it should be supported because it is "well known for good investigative reporting." Father Raymond Montero Ambray of Tandag Diocese in the southern Philippines said the move to revoke Rappler's license is "undeniably a form of harassment." "If the Duterte administration succeeds in this, then it has the complete recipe for authoritarianism," said the priest, adding that the government "might be cooking something sinister." Father Dan Vicente Cancino, executive secretary of the bishops' Episcopal Commission on Health Care, said Rappler should "continue to be the voice of the voiceless." Media and activist groups announced they will hold protests later this week in response to what they described as a government crackdown on the media. While the president insisted that he had no hand in the decision on the Rappler case, the complaint was lodged by the solicitor-general, who also called on the Justice Department to investigate the news outlet. In a statement, the National Press Club of the Philippines said, "the exercise of press freedom in particular, and the freedom of expression in general, have not been affected nor threatened" with the SEC decision on Rappler. "In the broader Philippine media industry, Rappler is just one among the thousands of media entities whose operations have remained free," said Paul Gutierrez, president of the club. "To say that the fate of one media entity found to have run afoul of the law translates to media repression in the country is stretching the argument a bit too much," said Gutierrez. He said the country has 436 television stations, 411 AM radio stations, over 1,000 FM radio stations, and more than 400 newspapers "operating freely in the country."