July 05, 2011
Twenty days before the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) marks its 80th anniversary, it is firmly maintaining its ground in the protection of Campus Press Freedom and the condemnation of threats thereof.
In its nearly 80 years of existence CEGP has been in the forefront in the struggle for the students’ and people’s right to information and free expression. With the informative and critical articles its hundreds of member publications nationwide have written in their publications, CEGP has ensured the continual flow of discourse that aims to keep its readers aware and involved in their surroundings. Upholding its motto, “To write is already to choose,” CEGP shatters the illusion of absolute objectivity in the practice of journalism and remains faithful in serving the interests of the students. This leads to consistent efforts to write about the most pressing issues such as Tuition increases, anti-student Admin policies and campus repression. However, this pro-student orientation of CEGP has also made it a perennial target of the Administration’s tactics to quell the potential of the studentry’s voice and mobilization.
Members of CEGP nationwide have been affected by Campus Press Freedom violations which come in various forms. For instance, the funds of the UP Diliman Philippine Collegian have been withheld from them during the heat of the campaign against the 300% Tuition and other fees increase (TOFI) last 2006. This prompted them to resort to fund raising just to publish their newspapers. The Tandem of University of Northern Philippines was forcibly closed by the Administration after the writers published articles that expose the anomalies in the school’s executive officers.
In the region, the school publications are prone to more discreet violations of campus press freedom. Also during the 300% TOFI issue, UP Baguio Outcrop was not allowed to hold its monthly three-days, two-night presswork. This forced the staff to work on its special issue regarding TOFI in a shorter period. Most of the pubs have to undergo the rigid, bureaucratic processes which the Administration requires in the usage of the publication’s funds. This is often interpreted as the Administration’s tactic to delay the funds and hamper the operation of the school paper. Some publications have to pass a final copy of the newspaper to the Administration for approval before they can give it to the printing press. Again, these only exemplify the ways by which the Administration stifles the operations of campus papers, which are in essence, papers of, by, and most importantly, for the students.
With this, and as our 80th anniversary comes forth, CEGP Baguio-Benguet remains more firm and determined than before in calling on not just campus journalists but all students to struggle for Campus press freedom and condemn all forms by which the Administration violates this freedom. CEGP Baguio-Benguet believes that campus journalism is a key factor in nourishing the discourse among students about their school, their communities and their society and that eventually, in making them act regarding the issues in them. Lastly, CEGP Baguio-Benguet believes that the campus writer is not confined in front of her monitor or in the face of a blank paper, she immerses herself in the society where she lives and which she writes about and constantly strives to make that society better. Only through this involvement can the campus writer be a genuine writer for students and the people.
COLLEGE EDITOR’S GUILD OF THE PHILIPPINES BAGUIO-BENGUET