The primary website for TNP’s election coverage has crashed. Please check this site instead for further updates on the election.
Candidates for Broadcast Communication department representatives Sherwin Ian Su (above) and Randolph Longjas (below) of the Interdependent Student-Centered Activism Party (ISA) expound their views on the different college-based issues to the TNP staff. The interviews were conducted on Wednesday, Feb. 20. (Photos by Neil Jerome C. Morales)
Please click on the link above to download the list.
[List courtesy of the Office of Student Activities (OSA), Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, UP Diliman; Released by the University Student Electoral Board (USEB) on February 11, 2008]
By Mark Anthony B. Gubagaras
The College Student Electoral Board (CSEB) of the UP College of Mass Communication released the first official list of candidates for this year’s local student council elections this afternoon, minutes after the members of the board deliberated on the students who filed their candidacy.
The list was posted at around 5:45 PM in the CMC administration bulletin board by Cynthia Firme, staff member of the Office of the College Secretary.
Originally, students aiming for elective seats in the CMC SC were given until the afternoon of February 5 to file their candidacy, but the CSEB extended the deadline to 12 noon today. The first official candidates list was supposed to be released on February 7.
The board is headed by its chairperson, College Secretary Jane Vinculado. Journalism Prof. Lourdes Simbulan and Broadcast Communication Prof. Melba Estonilo serve as faculty representatives, while Noreen Ann Lindo and Melissa Angela Peñafiel represent the students in the board.
Just like last year, the upcoming SC elections will see the fight between the college chapter of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP) and the Interdependent Student-Centered Activism Party (ISA) Party.
Following are the names of candidates aiming for the elective positions in the CMC Student Council:
Kindly click on the icon above to view the list.
By Mae A. Hernandez
Just this semester, the UP administration implemented a stricter smoking ban in all its systems throughout the country. For the administration, it aims to promote awareness about the health risks that can be gotten from smoking tobacco.
In the memorandum distributed among all colleges of the UP system, the policy is in accordance with the three “legal obligations:” 1) the Constitution declares states universities to “instill health consciousness among the people,” 2) in response to the WHO Framework convention on Tobacco control where the Philippines is a state party, and 3) to implement R.A. 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.
The new policy has given the Chancellors, deans, heads of offices, faculty administrators and security personnel the authority to fully implement and observe total smoking ban. It also forbids business concessionaires, big and small, in selling and advertising any tobacco product within 100 meters of the campus’ outer perimeter.
Given these restrictions imposed by the administration, it still gave consideration on the part of those who smoke. However, the deal is conditional. Based on the memorandum, one is free to smoke outside the building except from “entrances, exits or close to any place where non-smokers will pass.” Even waiting sheds, sidewalks, parking spaces, parks and similar places were prohibited for smoking. Proper signs are also emphasized to ensure if the objectives of the policy are met.
Sacrifice has to be made
This situation is what every student is experiencing as they face a day in the campus. Mina (not her real name) is a 3rd year Communication Research student. She admits she had gained addiction to smoking.
“I officially started smoking last sem dahil sa pressure sa school, mga personal problems, at exposure sa smokers,” she said.
In a day, she takes only five to seven sticks. But she already considers herself as a person addicted to smoking. She personally buys a pack of her favorite cigarette than getting or sharing a stick from someone. For her, the policy on smoking ban has motives or hidden agenda that have to be disclosed.
“Although naglagay sila ng smoking area, inconvenient siya kasi di ka naman makakaupo, so yung comfortability of smoking wala. Smoking kasi it’s a personal choice. We should not impose total smoking ban and say to someone to stop smoking. So in a way it is propaganda—to forcefully stop the students to smoke,” Mina said.
The kind of behavior that Mina is showcasing can be traced through our sociological roots. Filomin Gutierrez, a professor in Department of Sociology in UP Diliman believes that smoking has become pervasive in the Philippine society because it is a solitary habit. She said since humans are naturally social, they want to fit in any group. The pressure to appear “cool’ to other people sends a sense of belongingness and affirmation of being part of a particular group.
Furthermore, history has detailed accounts on how addiction of smoking propagated in Filipinos’ social and cultural being. In the 19th century, tobacco was a key product of the
“We can treat [smoking] as an indigenous practice kasi marami talaga ang nagssmoke ng tobacco pero nareinforce ito nang nagkaroon na ng commercialization ng tobacco as a product,” Prof. Gutierrez said.
The commercialization of tobacco began in
At present, tobacco seems to maintain its position as one of the most wanted commodity of the Filipinos. Based on the WHO report, tobacco companies are among the top 10 advertisers in
Tobacco smoking has really altered the way people live their lives. Approximately, about 60 percent of Filipino men smoke according to the 2002 WHO report. This number undermines the potential risks that the addiction of smoking can bring to their health. As for the UP administration, it is a responsible action for them to implement total smoking ban.
Gutierrez echoed this standpoint. “I think the administration has seen the general trend in science through the reality of lung cancer and the harmful effects that smoking brings to the passive smokers,” she said.
The administration reasons thatthe no smoking ban is in compliance with the national objectives. However, it keeps mum about the questions that have arisen with the policy’s implementation. Uncertainties will continue to linger throughout the university.
World Health Organization’s Smoking Statistics http://www.wpro.who.int/media_centre/fact_sheets/fs_20020528.htm
Sa gitna ng mga kasalukuyang pangyayari na sunud-sunod na kinaharap ng ating lipunan, ng Unibersidad at ng kolehiyo, nararapat lamang na nararamdaman din ang presensiya ng pahayagang pampaaralan upang siyang mag-ulat ng mga ito sa mga mag-aaral at maghayag ng mga saloobin tungkol sa mga ito. Tangan ninyo ngayon ang isang kopya ng inyong pahayagan–sagot sa mga katanungan sa isipan ng mga mag-aaral ng pangmadlang komunikasyon kung nasaan na ang Tinig ng Plaridel.
Nitong mga nagdaang buwan ay nagtataka ang karamihan sa mga mag-aaral sa umano’y tila pananahimik ng pahayagang ito–sa gitna ng pagkakabuwag sa mga tambayan ng mga organisasyong nakabase sa kolehiyo, sa laban ng mga mag-aaral laban sa pagtaas ng matrikula sa Unibersidad, at sa umano’y paglago ng ekonomiya na ipinagmamayabang ng kasalukuyang pamahalaan (na kontra naman sa mga datos na inilabas nang sumunod na araw tungkol sa pagtaas ng mga insidente ng pagkagutom ng mga mamamayan). Nangalahati na ang kasalukuyang taong akademiko ay hindi pa rin nakapaglalabas ng kahit iisang isyu man lamang ang TNP upang talakayin at ipahayag ang saloobin ng mahigit sanlibong mga mag-aaral na nasa kolehiyong ito.
Dalawang dahilan ang maiuugnay sa pagkakaantala ng paglabas ng inyong pahayagan.
Una, nakakalungkot, at higit pa’y nakakainis, na malamang walang tumutugon sa tawag ng Konseho ng mga Mag-aaral sa mga interesadong kumuha ng editoryal na pagsusulit para sa TNP–isang problemang nagtagal ng halos isang semestre. Aapat na mag-aaral ang sumagot sa panawagang pamunuan ang isang pangkat ng mga mag-aaral na patuloy na mag-uulat ng mga pangyayari at magpapahayag ng mga saloobin tungkol sa mga suliraning hinaharap sa kasalukuyang panahon.
Ikalawa, kahit na nagamit na ang lahat ng paraan–pakikipag-usap, text messages sa mga mobile phone, at maging ang e-mail sa Internet–upang malaman na naghahanap ng mga interesadong gumawa para sa pahayagan, nagtetengang-kawali pa rin ang mga mag-aaral–mga taong magiging bahagi ng isang industriyang ang pangunahing papel ay maging tagapagpamulat at tagapagbuklod ng sambayanan.
Sa huli, nagtapos ang unang semestre ng kasalukuyang taong panuruan nang walang nangyari–kung kailan kabubuo pa lamang ng pangkat na mamamahala sa TNP. At sa ngayon, lalabing-isang mag-aaral ang magtutuloy sa tradisyon ng matapang at responsableng pamamahayag. Kung tutuusin, maswerte na ang kasalukuyang pangkat dahil mas malaki ito kaysa nagdaang pamunuan na aanim lamang ang kasapi at dumepende sa mga kontribusyon mula sa ibang mga mag-aaral.
Oo at may pagkukulang rin ang mga bumubuo sa pahayagan ngayon. Hindi ito naging maagap sa pagkilos nito, at hindi nagamit ang iba pang paraan upang maipahatid sa mas nakararami ang tungkol sa TNP. Ngunit mas nakatulong kung mulat lamang ang mga mag-aaral tungkol sa pahayagang kanilang inaasahang lalabas nang regular. Kung sila ay tila inosente tungkol mismo sa TNP, paano pa kaya ang mas malalaking problemang panlipunan na haharapin ng mga mag-aaral?
Nakakabanas na isiping ganito na ang hitsura ng kolehiyong bantog sa pagiging ‘maalam, may pakialam.’ Naglalaho na nga bang unti-unti ang sinasabing ‘Tatak CMC’? Repleksyon na nga ba ito ng isang kolehiyong binubuo ng mga mag-aaral na pababa na nang pababa ang antas ng kamalayan sa mga nangyayari sa kanilang kapaligiran? Nasaan na ang aktibong pakikisangkot ng mga mag-aaral sa bawat pangyayaring makakaapekto sa buhay ng kolehiyo, ng Unibersidad, at higit sa lahat, ng bayan? Ang mga estudyante ng pangmadlang komunikasyon ay wala na nga bang pakiramdam? Manhid? Apatetiko? O sadyang nagbibingi-bingihan lamang?
Ito ang mga bagay na nagsisilbing hamon sa mga bumubuo ng lupong editoryal at mga kawani ng Tinig ng Plaridel. At ang kasalukuyang pamunuan ay gagabayan ng isang layunin: ang muling pagpapabalik ng karakter ng mga mag-aaral ng CMC – na maging maalam at may pakialam.
Bawat pahina ng bawat isyu ng TNP na lalabas ay maglalaman ng mga balitang masusing kinalap at sinuri ng mga kasapi nito. Iuulat nito ang mga pangyayaring nakakaapekto sa mga mag-aaral–sa lebel ng kolehiyo, ng UP, o pambansa man. Kalakip nito ang mga lathalaing patungkol sa mga isyu sa ating ginagalawang kapaligiran, at ang mga suliraning hinaharap ng industriyang kahahantungan ng mga estudyante–ang mass media. Ang mga pitak ng opinyon sa pahayagan ay lalakipan ng matapang na pag-aanalisa ng mga kasalukuyang isyu at suliranin. At upang mabalanse ang mga ito, magkakaroon ng mga seksyon na kung saan ay hindi lamang matututong bumuo ng kanilang sariling opinyon ang mga mag-aaral, kundi ang sila’y malibang at matuwa sa positibong paraan. Ang lahat ng mga ito ay nais maisagawa ng mga bumubuo sa TNP upang ibalik ang malaya, mapagpalaya at mapanuring kaisipan at karakter ng mga mag-aaral ng UP CMC.
At bilang tugon sa mga pagbabago ng kasalukuyang panahon, hindi lamang makikita ang Tinig ng Plaridel sa nakagisnan nitong anyo. Sapagkat ang dikta ng bagong henerasyon sa larangan ng midya ay ang konsepto ng pagsasaisa o convergence, magiging aktibo rin ang presensya ng pahayagan sa Internet. Inaayos na rin ang mga plano upang magkaroon ang pahayagan ng palatuntunan sa DZUP, ang opisyal na himpilan ng radyo ng Unibersidad. Palalawakin pa ng mga inisyatibong ito ang hangarin ng pahayagan na magsilbing instrumento ng malayang pagpapalitan ng mga kuru-kuro ng mga mag-aaral at maging ng mga guro at kawani ng kolehiyo na nais makisangkot sa usapang pampubliko.
Ngunit alam din ng kasalukuyang pamunuan ang mahalagang papel nito upang ituro ang responsableng paggamit ng midya bilang instrumento ng malayang pakikipagtalastasan. Dahil ang bawat pagkilos ay may kaakibat na responsibilidad na dapat gampanan, dapat na gabayan ang mga bumubuo sa TNP ng Philippine Journalists’ Code of Ethics, at ng sarili nitong kodigo ng mga etikal na katungkulan na bubuuin sa taong ito. Ang mga ito ay ipapakalat din sa mga mag-aaral upang kanila ring masuri kung nagagawa nang mahusay ng pahayagan ang mga tungkulin nito. Higit pa rito, walang sinusunod na saligang-batas ang publikasyon, at ito ay balangkasin at ayusin sa taong ito upang maging lalong maayos ang pagkilos ng mga kasapi ng TNP sa pagtupad sa kanilang mga responsibilidad.
Nagsisimula pa lamang ang laban para sa kasalukuyang pamunuan ng Tinig ng Plaridel. At hangad nito na mahubog ang mga mag-aaral ng Kolehiyo ng Pangmadlang Komunikasyon upang sila ay maging tunay na maalam at may pakialam. Sa ganitong paraan lamang mas lalong mapapalakas ang tinig–tinig ng isang matalino at matapang na bantay na tututol sa mga kamalian at kabulukang nangyayari sa kapaligirang kanyang ginagalawan.
By Camille P. De Jesus
The RSF website reported that the recent ranking was based on questionnaires distributed to 15 freedom-of-expression organizations, 130 correspondents, and journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists all over the world. The questionnaires contained 50 questions about the press freedom of 169 countries.
The country’s improved standing, said the RSF, was because of fewer journalist killings and less cases filed against media men. It was cited as one of the “unexpected improvements” in the ranking.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) recorded five murder incidents which the organization said was the lowest tally since 2002. However, the number pertains only to “reported” cases of murder. It does not include victims of enforced disappearances and other unreported harassments.
RSF also said there were “fewer defamation (libel) cases against journalists and news media.” Seven months ago, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo withdrew the multiple libel suits against more than 40 journalists. The threat, however, lingers.
The president received recently a “medallia de oro” from
Just recently, the National Press Club defaced a press freedom mural created by the Neo-Angono Artists Collective depicting the current situation of press freedom in the
NPC, which commissioned the mural for 900,000 pesos, altered the art and its symbolisms to make it less “anti-government,” according to Richard Gappi, president of the artists’ collective.
The mural, officially titled “Sangandaan sa Kasaysayan ng Malayang Pamamahayag sa Pilipinas” (Crossroads of History of the Free Press in the Philippines) shows a street scene which Gappi said connotes the idea of upholding press freedom as “everybody’s concern since this is the right of the people in a democratic society and an integral part of the freedom of expression which the Constitution guarantees.”
Jerome Aning of the Philippine Daily Inquirer described in an article the original mural and the symbolisms in it.
He wrote, “The center image shows a man reading the editorial page of a newspaper that tackles the latest killings of journalists. In the man’s immediate background is the NPC building, which, according to the artists, also serves as a sort of rotunda and suggests ‘the intersection and meeting point of the past and the present.’
“The left side of the mural is a street scene ‘culled for an idyllic community’ while on the right is a busy
The painting features a cartoon of Joaquin “
Andres Bonifacio is illustrated as a cigarette vendor with a tattoo–a character in the alibata used by the Magdalo soldiers in 2005–on his arm.
Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino is also shown with Dr. Jose Rizal reading a news article on abduction and the desaparecidos.
The original mural was copied to an 8-by-32-feet tarpaulin and was presented in the 4th Neo-Angono Public Arts Festival, an exhibit of art pieces by local artists. The copy was turned over to the College of Mass Communication on Dec. 18.
“If the NPC officials would just hide the defaced mural and would not restore it to its original beauty, then the painting would just suffer the same fate as the desaparecidos,” Gappi said.
Culture of impunity
Of the innumerable reported and unreported harassments, disappearances and murders of journalists, there have been very few investigations done, if there is truly any. Hiring killers and gunmen have become easy solutions in terminating explosive mouths and pens. Consequently, justice hardly surfaces. It finds the hired assassins difficultly, even more so the big men who hire them.
After the Radyo Cagayano incident, Jose Torres, Jr., NUJP spokesperson appealed to the government to punish the persons behind the crime, even if their group blames the incident and other attacks on the press to the present administration.
According to NUJP, 54 journalists have been killed under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), on the other hand, counted 33 killings since 2001.
Of these 33 reported crimes, only those of Edgar Damalerio and Marlene Esperat have convicted the killers. Aside from the two, only five cases are in court.
Luis Teodoro, CMFR deputy director, said the resolution of crimes against journalists is made arduous by lack of witness and because of the Philippine National Police’s idea that cases filed in court are cases “solved.”
Atmosphere of fear
The present administration has undoubtedly created an atmosphere wherein people, especially those in the media, feel intimidation in knowing and expressing truth. There have been plenty of violations to our Constitution and even to the universal notion of right to freedom of expression.
The current government, according to activist groups and human rights parties, is undoubtedly far worse than a declared martial law. It has desperately made moves to suppress all kinds of resistance from students, farmers, workers and other sectors.
Malacañang announced on September 2005 the implementation of the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR) policy which bans rallies without prior permits and authorizes police to disperse opposing parties accordingly.
The policy clearly violates the provision in the Section 15 of Batas Pambansa 880 which reads:
“Every city and municipality in the country shall within six months after the effectivity of this Act establish or designate at least one suitable ‘freedom park’ or mall in their respective jurisdictions which, as far as practicable, shall be centrally located within the poblacion where demonstrations and meetings may be held at any time without the need of any prior permit.”
As if this wasn’t enough, months later, the president declared a National State of Emergency through Presidential Decree 1017 which enabled her to “command the Armed Forces of the Philippines to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”
This happened shortly after the explosion of Gloriagate controversies and the filing of a presidential impeachment case which Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo described as “a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people.”
On July 2, 2006, the station of DWRC Radyo Cagayano, a community radio station in Baggao, Cagayan, was burned by eight armed men wearing masks.
The station blamed the soldiers of the 17th Infantry Battalion whose unit was only one kilometer away from the fire. Susan Mapa, DWRC station manager, also questioned the late reaction of the Philippine National Police (PNP), which was only 300 meters away. The investigators went to the site seven hours after the incident which started at around 2 a.m.
Mapa said the suspects, some of whom were in camouflage, combat boots, and M-16 armalite rifles, called their leader “Sir.”
On November 29 this year, the government’s arms proved their disrespect to media. During the coverage of the standoff at The Manila Peninsula hotel in Makati City, the police arrested, cuffed, and charged them with obstruction of justice.
Ellen Tordesillas, chief of reporter of Malaya, was one of the 30 reporters brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan for “processing” – a euphemism which means arrest.
Tordesillas said in a talk for a journalism class that it was the first time in more than 30 years of practice that she was brought to a precinct for mere coverage.
“Endangered talaga ‘yung press freedom natin,” she said.
Needless to say, the government’s efforts to repress, instead of uphold, the freedom of the press continues. Although the RSF proclaims that conditions have improved, the climate of repression proves otherwise.
By Neil Jerome C. Morales
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was a land reform law mandated by Republic Act No. 6657, signed by President Corazon Aquino on
According to RA 6657, CARP aims “for a more equitable distribution and ownership of land.” It meant to distribute lands to farmers in a span of 10 years, but was extended by the 11th Congress due to delays in land distribution and lack of budget allocation.
Section 3 of RA 6657 defined agrarian reform as the “redistribution of lands, regardless of crops or fruits produced, to farmers and regular farm workers who are landless” and “all other arrangements alternative to the physical redistribution of lands, such as production or profit-sharing, labor administration and the distribution of shares of stock which will allow beneficiaries to receive a just share of the fruits of the lands they work.”
Vast agricultural lands are distributed to the farmers tilling the land, whereas only a maximum of five hectares can be retained by the landlords, and three hectares for each of their children.
However, a common CARP loophole was that landlords escaped relinquishing their lands through land reclassifications. Lands classified by local zoning ordinances as residential, commercial and industrial lands are excluded from CARP.
Department of Agrarian Reform website, http://www.dar.gov.ph
By Neil Jerome C. Morales
The battle continues for the Sumilao farmers and their call for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The farmers reached
The Sumilao case
Higaonons were early settlers of a piece of agricultural land in Sumilao. In 1940, the Higaonons were forcibly evicted from a 243.885-hectare part of their ancestral land, which was converted into a cattle ranch by the Angeles family.
In the 1970s, Salvador Carlos owned
By 1988, the 144-hectare ancestral land was covered by the CARP and was set for distribution among 137 Mapadayonon Panaghiusa sa mga Lumad Alang sa Damlag (MAPALAD) Higaonon farmers.
Quisumbing and the Sangguniang Bayan of Sumilao conspired in 1994 to issue Resolution No. 24, converting the land of the Norberto Quisumbing, Sr. Management and Development Corporation from an agricultural to an industrial/institutional area.
However, the move ran contrary to 1993 Malacañang-issued Memorandum Circular No. 54 which gave guidelines for local governments converting agricultural lands for non-agricultural use. The circular stated that lands suitable for agricultural production were “non-negotiable for conversion.” Agriculturally suitable lands are those with irrigation or available for irrigation by the Department of Agriculture or the National Irrigation Administration.
The non-conversion rule was reversed by former Executive Secretary Ruben Torres, approving Quisumbing’s application for land conversion in 1996.
Torres said the land “would open great opportunities for employment and bring about real development in the area towards a sustained economic growth in the municipality.” However, he said giving out the land to non-tenant beneficiaries wouldn’t assure such benefits.”
President Fidel Ramos, through Deputy Executive Secretary Renato Corona, issued a “win-win solution” in 1998, where the farmers would get
According to the farmers, the Bukidnon Agro-Industrial Development Association (BAIDA) project that promised museums, libraries, and housing projects did not deliver at the end of the five-year conversion period.
Instead, Quisumbing sold the land in 2002 to San Miguel Foods, Inc., owned by businessman Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr., which converted it into a livestock farm for subsidiary Monterey Foods Corporation.
The Sumilao farmers are now petitioning for the cancellation of the 1996 conversion order. They said Quisumbing did not comply with the order’s conditions since he failed to begin development work in the land a year from the finality of the conversion order on
The charges violated provisions in the DAR Administrative Order No. 1 of 1990, or the “Revised Rules and Regulations Governing Conversion of Agricultural Lands to Non Agricultural Uses.”
The verdict for the Sumilao case is still pending under DAR. Until the case is solved, the Sumilao farmers will keep on airing their calls for their ancestral lands.
Amidst escalating repression, student publications remain undaunted
By Alaysa Tagumpay E. Escandor
The present is a time of suppression.
Exclamations of dissent are silenced in a climate of impunity. While top officials vow to “protect democracy,” the people’s democratic rights are snuffed out at every turn. The right to peaceably assemble is met with police and military brutality; the exercise of free speech and expression is marred by the continuing murder of journalists. Meanwhile, members of legitimate organizations, such as the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), are proclaimed “enemies of the state.”
Universities are not exempt from such repressive measures, which have become “normalized” in a supposedly “liberal environment.” As student publications boldly expose anti-student policies, school officials retaliate by attacking campus press freedom. Already, the number of campus press freedom violations (CPV’s) has increased at an alarming rate. Recent events show how student publications function in a constricted space, under the watchful gaze of the school administration. Campus papers must be monitored, the authorities reason.
Press freedom, however, cannot survive in an atmosphere of control – only its illusion.
Students’ rights above all
The existence of student publications is an affirmation of the students’ democratic rights.
The onset of the American period saw the creation of numerous universities and colleges under a colonial administration. The relative proliferation of academic institutions, and their emphasis on discussion and debate, was key to the formation of student publications. Founded on the ideals of democracy and the right to information, students saw the need to disseminate alternative narratives against the American-controlled media.
Students finance, manage and maintain the publication’s operations, usually without monetary compensation. Publication funds come solely from the collected student fund, making students its sole publisher. As such, the practice of campus journalism veers against the orientation of mainstream media, which are largely commercial and corporate-owned. Free from the attachment to profit accumulation, the students’ welfare and interests are the publication’s primary priority. On its pages, topics on repression, imperialism, capitalism and social taboos see print – a testament to its bold discussion of far-ranging, but nevertheless, critical issues. As vital agents of change, campus journalism continues to condemn the status quo’s deceptive illusions and contradictions, without fear or apology.
Thus, the nature of campus publications is necessarily antagonistic, never subservient. History is replete with instances when campus journalism faced assault from both the school administration and the national government.
The near absence of autonomous media during martial law drove campus publications to expose what the Marcos regime sought to hide: the unprecedented height of corruption and human rights violations. Among these publications were Philippine College of Commerce’s (now
Not a few student journalists were imprisoned, tortured and murdered. For instance, former Philippine Collegian editor-in-chief Abraham Sarmiento, Jr. was arrested by the military under the guise of “protective custody” and subsequently killed. The same occurred to Liliosa Hilao, former editor-in-chief of Hasik.
Decades after martial law, the same conditions prevail, if not worse. Human rights violations have claimed thousands of lives; corruption has never been more blatant. Militancy remains a valid call for student publications.
Yet, in a system that fosters acquiescence and breeds indifference, militancy is not without cost.
Student publications and school administrations often have contending concerns. While the former dedicates itself to the struggle for student rights, the latter often abides by the dictates of state abandonment. Thus, the administrations’ policies on commercialization and privatization are promptly condemned by student publications. In the ensuing debate, the administration is not unscathed.
Inside the academic institution, however, publications hold no administrative power. In contrast, school administrations can easily impose their authority upon the student paper. According to Vijae Alquisola, CEGP national deputy secretary-general, among the most common forms of CPV’s are non-mandatory collection of publication funds, appointment and intrusion of advisers and censorship. The publication staff may also suffer harassment, demotion, and academic persecution, such as dismissal, filing of disciplinary cases, rejection of enrolment, and non-entry to the university.
This year, 90 percent of recorded CPV’s involved student papers that openly campaigned against the administrations’ commercialization and privatization schemes. Among these are University of the
Meanwhile, the CEGP describes Republic Act No. 7079, or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 (CJA), as “seriously flawed.” For instance, the CJA permits the non-mandatory collection of publication fees, without which a student paper cannot operate. Further, the act does not contain any penalty clause, leaving erring administrations unpunished. While the CJA claims to protect campus press freedom, administrations can manipulate its provisions against student publications.
Student publications are unremitting in their task to uphold the students’ rights. On the other hand, students must also vigilantly protect the publications from the administrations’ repressive policies. An autonomous student publication is a mark of democracy, the absence of which can only mean a violation of the students’ rights.