UP student pubs to assert rights to coverage, information and funding

The UP Systemwide Alliance of Student Publications and Writers’ Organizations (UP Solidaridad) passed a resolution that enjoins campus publications, with the help of student councils and the Office of the Student Regent (OSR), to assert their rights to cover “administrative-level events, such as student events, board meetings and press conferences.”

Resolution authors Himati and Tug-ani are both duly recognized as official student publications of UP Mindanao and UP Cebu, respectively. However, they still recently experienced restrictions from covering events in their campuses.

Himati cited that, last June, their news editor was blocked by guards from entering the administration building to cover the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT). The publication was also “initially prohibited” from covering the graduation ceremonies of their university.

Outcrop of UP Baguio were also denied entrance to the Oblation grounds during the UPCAT and the Baguio Country Club during the graduation ceremonies.

Ang sinabi sa amin noong kinausap namin yung OSA [Office of Student Affairs] ay meron na daw na media partner ‘yung graduation namin. So para saan pa’t naging official publication kami ng UP Baguio?,” Outcrop said.

Tug-ani also decried their lack of access to information when the UP Cebu administration failed to communicate the conduct of the ROTC Games Orientation in their campus.

As such, the resolution implores the members of UP Solidaridad to call for transparency in the processes and decisions of the UP administration, especially those concerned with disseminating information to its constituents.

In terms of finances, the resolution stated that establishing relationships between the university administration and the publications should catalyze access to funding.

University-wide publications such as Himati, Tug-ani, Outcrop and the Philippine Collegian of UP Diliman (UPD) have been hurdling similar challenges in accessing their funds due to bureaucratic processes.

In the previous Solidaridad congress held in January, they also called to “streamline” the process of requesting funds.

READ: Amid persisting attacks, student journos urge UP to streamline processes for funding

Outcrop stated that they almost failed to attend the UP Solidaridad congress and cover the 55th General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) in-person due to budget issues.

Meanwhile, the Union of Journalists of the Philippines (UJP) – UP Diliman raised the case of KALASAG, the publication of UPD College of Arts and Letters (CAL), which did not have any representative for this week’s events.

The CAL administration has yet to reimburse the funds shelled out by KALASAG staffers during the previous GASC held in Cebu last February, UJP – UP Diliman claimed.

The resolution also urged the university administration to provide legal support for campus publications amid threats and attacks of red-tagging and harassment, both on-ground and online.

Other resolutions passed by UP Solidaridad include the responsible use of artificial intelligence in campus journalism, demand for agrarian reform through reportage, revival of inactive campus publications and calls to junk the Anti-Terror Act of 2020. 

With reports from Pilar Fernandez and Julienne Espinosa