Snail-paced proceedings and continuing reign of impunity

AMPATUANThe College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), the oldest and broadest intercollegiate alliance of student publications in the Philippines and Asia-Pacific, assails the snail-paced proceedings of the case of Ampatuan Massacre; the continuing media killings and violations to campus press freedom and press freedom; and the intensifying reign of impunity under the Aquino regime.

Attacks to press freedom since Aquino sat in Malacañang are increasing. According to the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), 25 work-related media killings have been documented since July 2010, with the recent murder of Nilo Baculo Sr. in Calapan City in the province of Oriental Mindoro. Also, 145 Filipino journalists have been killed since 1986, only 14 cases with convictions.

Aside from the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and the delays on the passage of a genuine legistlation on the Right of Information, the allies of Aquino in the Lower House are lobbying for Right of Reply, another threat to press freedom in the Philippines.

In the campus press, CEGP has documented 250 campus press freedom violations in 2013 which included censorship, unsolicited administrative intervention, withholding or looting of fund, non-mandatory collection of student publication fee, harassment and surveillance, among others.

The campus press has been continuing its battle with these violations, such as the inresolved murder case of Benjaline Hernandez of Atenews of Ateneo de Davao University, the libel case of the former Editor-in-chief of The Outcrop of University of the Philippines-Baguio on the grounds of a blind item article, the removal of scholarships of two campus journalists from The National of National University for filing a complaint on the Commission on Higher Education against tuition increase, and the blacklisting of the Editor-in-chief of The EARIST Technozette of Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology for taking part in the campaign against Developmental Fee.

With these blatant violations to the constitutional guarantee of a free press, campus journalists are in solidarity with all the victims of violations to their freedom of expression and of speech, whether it be members of the media or of the masses.

The Guild continues to be steadfast in its commitment and advocacy for genuine press freedom in the country.###