Campus press slams threat on publication closure, press freedom violations

NEWS RELEASE

August 23, 2011

Campus press slams threat on publication closure, press freedom violations

Reference: Romina Astudillo, CEGP-NCR Secretary General [0915.898.2964]

Alongside student publications across the metro, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-National Capital Region (CEGP-NCR) today staged a protest action condemning the imminent closure of The Warden, the official student publication of Pamantasan Lunsgod ng Muntinlupa.

CEGP-NCR received a report yesterday from the members of the said publication that the PLMun administration will be releasing a memorandum ordering the closure of The Warden within the week for being ‘subversive’. Accusations of the publication being subversive came from the recently published issue that tackled the paper’s critique over the second State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III.

“We highly condemn the desperate move of the PLMun administration to silence the campus press by closing The Warden. It is an outright act that doesn’t just violate but kills press freedom,” said CEGP-NCR Secretary General Romina Astudillo, “By threatening to close the publication, the administration is already guilty of murder.”

“Since when did writing that the government should spend more budget on education, health and other basic social services became subversive? School administrators should know better. Teachers in college and high school require students to write reaction papers on important matters such as SONA,” she added.

Further, “CEGP believes that it is the obligation of journalists to give criticism and opinion over issues that are matters of national concern and Aquino’s SONA is one of it. We criticize based on hard facts and principles as alternative press.”

Apart from the threat of closure, editorial board members of The Warden were previously intimidated by the administration that they will replace them using the flawed Campus Journalism Act of 1991. CEGP being the oldest and widest alliance of tertiary student publications across the country and in Asia has already gathered more than 350 campus press freedom violations in the country including censorship, meddling of adviser and administration, harassment, campus militarization, suspension, closure among others.

“We intend to gather more cases and incident reports on campus press freedom violations and other forms of repression in schools. Accumulated cases will be presented to the Senate committee hearing on tertiary education to amplify our calls to end all forms of repression and pass pro-people bills such as the Campus Press Freedom Act,” said Astudillo.

Campus papers across the country have also experienced the same “acts of murder” like that of The Warden such as St. Paul College of Quezon City, Adamson University, Bulacan State University, Manuel L. Quezon University, Makati Collegian and the National University which has been closed since Martial Law.

“Our fight for press freedom continues. After all, it’s a matter of national interest,” she ended. ###

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