Vol. XCI No. 7
Sept. 13, 2019
On Aug. 28, President Duterte signed the Republic Act No.11440 entitled the National Campus Press Freedom Day Act. The copy of the law was released publicly on Sept. 10. Many assume that it was used by the Duterte administration to fend off accusations of intimidating or bearing down on campus journalists and student publications as a part of their hunt for communists. However despite the enactment of this law, together with the Republic Act of 7079, also known as the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, many student publications and young journalists still experience acts that threaten their freedom.
tWS believes that the law was released publicly on Sept. 10 as damage control for the heavy incidents that have piled up for the administration to handle. Going backwards, The Pillar, the official student publication of the University of Eastern Philippines, was allegedly intimidated by state forces last Aug. 21 after holding a candle lighting ceremony for the victims of the killings in Negros Island. On July 24, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) filed a complaint before the Commission on Higher Education seeking for an investigation regarding the documented issues of nearly 200 student publications from different state universities and colleges. “Issues of censorship, defunding, and harassment against campus journalists are also rampant in today’s regime. More so, the continuous attacks against alternative and mainstream media outlets coupled with incongruous policies further worsen the current state of the press,” said CEGP National President Daryl Angelo Baybado.
As a guild member of the CEGP, tWS stands with our brothers and sisters throughout the nation, in fighting back against the unconstitutional and unreasonable red-tagging, withholding of funds or defunding, and blatant, outright attacks against both student and professional publications.
tWS believes that the Silliman community should be made aware of these violations against campus press freedom and should be enjoined to help fight for other student publications whenever and wherever an incident occurs by contacting the CEGP. We are lucky that we have not experienced any violations since the Martial Law era.
To write is already to choose. Defend campus press freedom.