R. McCULLOCH DICK, as founder and publisher of a journal that has recently marked its 50th anniversary, has played a pioneering role in establishing and maintaining the tradition of press freedom in the Philippines.
The Philippines Free Press has, from its beginning, lived up to its name. The staff has been encouraged to explore every event of significance, regardless of the influence of agencies or personalities that may have been affected. Despite repeated attempts to curtail publication of his journal, Mr. DICK has not wavered in his determination to give to the people of the Philippines a free press.
His weekly magazine has brought to public attention the unsung work of good citizens, prominent and unknown alike, as well as abuses that have not otherwise been reported. It has been, in a sense, a public prosecutor in the cause of fair elections, rule by law and morality in government service.
Consistent with the spirit of the late Ramon Magsaysay, the Free Press has taken up the defense of victims of injustice. And it attends to the concerns of the people who live in the barrios.
MOCHTAR LUBIS is today waging in Indonesia the battle for freedom of the press that R. McCULLOCH DICK has helped to win in the Philippines. As neither he nor Mrs. Lubis could be present, he has requested that Carlos Nivera, a former Filipino editor, should represent him.
MOCHTAR LUBIS, as editor-in-chief, and part-owner of the Indonesia Raya, has fought against government corruption, the violation of civil liberties by the military and against the inroads of totalitarianism in his country. Since December 1956, he has chosen incarceration over compromise in the interest of enhancing rather than diminishing the area of press freedom in Indonesia.
At a time when this basic freedom is being threatened in many parts of the world, his example gives strength to others who share the belief that free speech and a free press are essential if government is to reflect the will of the people.
In electing to divide the first Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts equally between R. McCULLOCH DICK and MOCHTAR LUBIS, the Board of Trustees recognizes the courageous and constructive contribution each has made in the profession of journalism as a power for the public good.
It is difficult for me to express my feelings after having been so highly honored. Knowing that others in my profession have accomplished more, I feel that the prize, the singular distinction that has been conferred upon me by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, should have been presented to someone more deserving.
When I started the Free Press 50 years ago, and during the years that have followed, I never entertained the thought of someday becoming the recipient of such a high honor as this. Since to reject the Award is out of the question, all I can do is to thank the members of the Board who rendered the decision.
In closing, I would like to make this acknowledgement: The Free Press is what it is today only because of Filipino wholehearted cooperation and support. Without such, there would be no Philippines Free Press, and there would be no award to me for "journalism for the public good." I thank you.