SUPPORT STATEMENT FOR JESUSA PAQUIBOT from Saint Louis University White & Blue


We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, the official student publication of Saint Louis University, affirm our support for Jesusa Paquibot, Editor-in-Chief of the Outcrop, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines-Baguio, who is besieged with a libel case slapped against her by a certain teacher from the university.

We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, recognize the importance of campus press freedom in order for us to deliver to the student body the social responsibility of spreading the truth and letting the voices of the students be heard. Being campus journalists ourselves, we believe that campus press freedom is the core of campus journalism and being deprived of such, partly or in full and in whatever manner, is tantamount to preventing us from delivering the truth and consequently preventing the student body whom we serve from exercising the right to know.

We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, believe that any repression of such freedom, without due reason, violates the right of students to freedom of speech and the freedom of the press which is protected by the Constitution and the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.

We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, acknowledge that student journalists must not write afar from the truth because we have an oath towards responsible journalism.

We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, believe that the article ‘Yupiang Yupi” does not intend to defame or malign the character, reputation and integrity of anyone in particular. It seeks to tackle pressing issues concerning students in a satirical manner, which is covered by the artistic license of the writer. Pressing issues include the repression of campus press freedom, which may include shaming student journalists who are performing their responsibilities.

We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, deem that the letter if apology from the Outcrop was very noble and sincere towards anybody who was unintentionally distressed because of the article. The Outcrop took on the humble course of actions as contrary to what is alleged against the Editor-in-Chief.

We, the Editorial Board and Staff of White & Blue, stand that justice must be served where it is due and that fairness must be observed at all times. All sides must be given the chance to be heard and the protection of the greatest good must be upheld at all times above the advance personal benefits.

In behalf of the Editorial Board and Staff of White and Blue, we stand on the protection of campus press freedom.

(Sgd.)GRELLYN PAOAD

Editor-in-Chief, White & Blue

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lorenzo Von Matterhorn on February 6, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Were you informed of the ‘incident’ between the teacher and a correspondent of the paper before the article was published? There may be intent on the part of the paper to malign the teacher because of what happened between the teacher and a reporter of the paper. The part of the article ‘pertaining’ to the teacher, some of us think, was made to seek revenge against the teacher. Campus journalism and press freedom it is, but what about the rights of other people? the practice of good and responsible journalism? There’s more to this story than the lampoon article.

    Reply

    • CEGP Baguio-Benguet knows about this issue and we are sort of glad that you brought that up as it broadens the context by which we try to make a stand regarding this issue. Indeed, before the lampoon article was published, the faculty embarrassed (this is our point of view, of course) one of Outcrop’s staff who was merely doing his duty as photographer during the July 19 Nationally-coordinated action against education budget cuts where UP Baguio participated. After inviting the students of the professor’s class to join the walkout, the staff took a picture if the classroom and this mainly angered the professor. She then interrogated the staff asking what is her name and what course is she taking and ordering her to erase the picture. The staff then said that she has the right to remain silent which the professors then jeered at and even asked for her students’ collusion in the ridicule of the staff. She particularly asked one of her students to give the staff a lecture on ethical journalism. Eventually, the staff deleted the picture taken earlier. It should be noted that the faculty filed a complaint against the Outcrop staff on the Student Disciplinary Tribunal of UP Baguio but the case was dismissed apparently for its pettiness.

      That part which you said is of course questionable: :The part of the article ‘pertaining’ to the teacher, some of us think, was made to seek revenge against the teacher. ” To begin with, it is not definite that the article “pertains” to a particular person. So it altogether undermines the “was made to seek revenge against the teacher” and the “but what about the rights of other people” arguments. For the second, whose right was violated? These are questions that we ought to answer with definiteness before proceeding with our arguments. :)
      Thank you for the comment! :)

      Reply

      • Posted by Lorenzo Von Matterhorn on February 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

        The teacher asked the reporter to delete the picture, which the reporter did not comply with immediately. What the teacher was trying to point out was that should reporters be taking pictures of people who doesn’t to be photographed? She was asking if her right to privacy, of not being photographed, was in any way violated? That’s why she asked her class if what the reporter was doing was correct. And should a reporter be barging in in a class were no one was clearly going to join the said rally?

        In the libel suit filed against Ms. Paquibot, you are questioning the identification and malice part, right? Isn’t it a little too convenient for the Outcrop to come out with an article in the publication immediately following the incident? And that it describes a person whose actions were the same to that of the professor? That initials used in the article clearly links it to the professor, and that the name used in the article was the name of a relative of the professor? Yes, other people could have those initials but the timing of the article, the description of the person and that person’s actions described in the article clearly, at least for some, refers to the professor. And, if I remember correctly, if at least one person identified a person from a description or a caricature, then the identification part of a libel case has been established. Malice can pertain to the timing of the article with the recent incident of a reporter with the professor.

        Libel was created to limit the freedom of the press so that they may not step out of bounds and on other people’s freedom and rights.

        I’m not here to defend either side, I just want to clear up some things about the case, which I wasn’t able to follow. Thank you too for giving us the side of the paper.

  2. But should that be a case, the Outcrop staff deleting the picture immediately or not; the issue must he whether she deleted the picture OR not, which she did. And how were you able to make those assertions: first, that the Outcrop staff barged in the classroom, were you there? According to her when we were asking her to recall what happened, she did not barge in, someone else just opened the room and she only happened to take a picture while the room was open. And second, that “no one was clearly going to join the said rally?” Again, were you there to infer that? And even if you were there, how could you tell that no one intended to join the rally, “what if” the professor had her ways to terrorize the students and prevent them from attending the rally, from “walking out” of their classes to join the mobilization?

    And on the identification arguments that you are saying should solidify the libel case against Outcrop, are not they self-defeating for they only evince that the Professor is crying of what is being described in the column which at the onset was a spoof one that satirizes relevant issues and pertains not to particular personalities but to general incidents that where anyone can be involved. Why are the producers and makers of blind items and of gag shows not charged with libel? Will “malice” continue to exist if the statements tagged as “malicious” are true to begin with. If someone says “Mayor A deposited ill-gotten amount from the people’s money” and was able to prove it, is the statement malicious, or just plainly accurate and painful to admit? But that is beside the point, because again, Yupiang Yupi pertains to and satirizes acts of individuals and not the individuals themselves.

    And is your name really “Lorenzo Matterhorn?” Are you some foreigner/exchange student who happened to be at UP Baguio and very interested and passionate about this issue? Where is credibility in your statements, who are you, really? Very important questions. :)

    Reply

  3. Posted by gatbuhaydiwa on February 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    I hope Lorenzo Matterhorn is a student journalist so that he knows and understands the plight of student journalists. May I just highlight the fact that the Outcrop apologized to whoever was hurt by the article though it was not incumbent upon them. Was there malice or not is a question that only the court can answer. However, it shows that the subsequent act of the Outcrop proves somehow that malice was not intended by the article.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Decriminalizing Libel for Journalists! on February 7, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Again, the Yupiang Yupi is a lampoon article. Fiction. Batu-bato sa langit ang tamaan, nasaktan. Need I say more?
    And really? The complaint really says that she is that teacher- a teacher who is irritated to noise, a teacher who does not allow other students to talk in her class like joining mass actions for a cause, a teacher who is clearly abusive of her authority!
    The staff was covering a nationally coordinated event, a walkout. Whether the event is successful or not, it does not stop the staff from doing its duty of covering the event. Its is a public setting, a class was happening. The teacher is not eating, or checking papers, or having coffee. It is not a private moment. Definitely it is not an invasion of privacy.
    As for other teachers: Is that how you teach your students how to cover events? What if they are thrown to the outside world? What if they are not covering Panagbenga anymore but a high profile murder case or a mutiny, or god forbid a filling of candidacy similar to the Maguindanao Massacre? Will they be able to defend themselves?
    If that’s the case then, the teacher should be thankful to Outcrop staff for the staff deleted the picture. The whole university failed to see how anti-student she really is! If the professor is really determined to be that person, then I say she should be the one to be accused in court.

    Reply

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