NOVEMBER 22, 2011
Spokesperson, HAU Speak Now Alliance
A day before the second anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre
Students, journalists slam ‘state fascism’ and ‘campus press freedom violations’
Democratic rights in Holy Angel University (HAU) and the right to free speech in the country should be respected, said students from Holy Angel University (HAU), campus publication members and journalists.
“For many years, students had not been able to articulate most of their concerns because of the culture of silence in the university. Many of them were afraid of registering their demands because they fear that the school administration might retaliate. This chilling effect, which is similar to what many journalists are experiencing now, is a huge obstacle in the development of critical thinking in the university,” said Jayvee Pangan, spokesperson of HAU Speak Now, an alliance of organizations, councils, publications and class presidents. The alliance will be formally launched after the press conference.
“In the convenors’ meeting of the alliance, the students raised their grievances which they had never been able to articulate because there is no venue for these. The students, through the alliance, crafted a list of demands, one of which is that censorship should not be tolerated and freedom of expression must be exercised in the university,” said Pangan, adding that students want transparency in the breakdown of miscellaneous fees and the “healthy dialogue or consultations” before any school policy is passed.
Pangan also mentioned the case of the HAU publications, which had difficulties in their operations after the administration imposed a “disciplinary action” that made the collection of funds “non-mandatory.”
“Like the students in HAU, many journalists had been afraid to expose the truth and write articles critical of the state because of incidences such as the Ampatuan Massacre. We can see that such brutal acts are committed by the state itself to suppress the freedom of expression. It has been hostile to people who were brave enough to criticize what should be criticized,” said Pauline Gidget Estella, national deputy secretary general of College Editors Guild of the Philippines, alliance of student publications in the country. CEGP is also conducting today its national coordinated action against impunity.