Information hero

Rowena Paraan

Rowena Paraan has been a journalist for more than 25 years. Formerly the head of research at the Philippines Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), she is now the chairwoman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines where for a long time she has been running the journalists’ safety program. This is a major issue in a country where 32 journalists were massacred in Ampatuan in Maguindanao province in November 2009, a scar on the national psyche which is unlikely to heal. Paraan subsequently led a fact-finding mission to try to establish the circumstances of the massacre. She has constantly pressed the authorities for justice for the victims and their families and an end to impunity. She now faces a charge of contempt as a result of her commitment. More committed than ever to freedom of information, Paraan now runs Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo, a citizen journalism outlet that encourages Filipinos to get involved in disclosing instances of corruption and shortcomings of society that they are aware of.