Posts Tagged ‘UP Baguio Outcrop’

CEGP’s 82nd Anniversary Statement: 82 Years of Choosing for the Students and the People


 

Adam David, writer and champion of indie publishing in the Philippines, in an on/offline conversation* with Miguel Syjuco, author of the prize-winning Ilustrado, said something about the conceitedness of writers; that writers, “should make claims;” that they “should assume the right of making others think” (2010).

As we celebrate the 82nd anniversary of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines, the oldest and widest alliance of school publications in the Asia-Pacific, we shall continue doing an engaged kind of writing that is born out of our concrete experiences in our immediate communities and shall be useful in molding these communities for the better.

CEGP’s 82 years of history is a testament not only of its relevance but also of its potency. From the Guild’s positioned documentation of the Japanese occupation during the World War II, the massive uprisings popularly tagged as the First Quarter Storm antedating the Martial Law that tried desperately to quell these displays of dissent, the ruinous passing of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, every instance of Tuition and Other Fees Increase in schools and every instance of the violation of the freedom of the Campus Press, the Guild has shown that writing is an act of making choices, that writing is an act of taking sides.

At the present, we continue being conceited and through our pen, provoke others; if not make them act on certain issues. From the issues of Cybercrime Law, the achievements of our schools, Tuition and Other Fees increases, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey among others, we continued writing and in the process of choosing our topics, angling and delivering them, we took sides and advance certain positions ideally for the interests of the students who are our primary publishers.

This we have done despite the generally uninviting and challenging setting where we operate. During the Guild’s National Convention at Cebu last April, there were 230 documented cases of Campus Press Freedom Violations, with administrative intervention and withholding of funds as the principal cases.

In Baguio-Benguet, the case of Loquitur’s adviser being terminated in her position is the most recent effect of a repressive system that spoils the students’ interests. Without properly consulting the staff members of the Loquitur, the official student publication of the King’s College of the Philippines, the Administration of the school informed the adviser that her “position as adviser will expire on May 30, 2013.” Installing a new adviser without the recommendations of the Loquitur staff, the Administration is also now requiring the student publication to submit to them the final draft of their newspapers before these can be printed.

The libel case of the former Editor-in-Chief of UPB Outcrop continues up to now and gives distress to the former EIC who is also still a student. Most of the school publications in Baguio-Benguet also need to undergo the process of accreditation every year whereas as student institutions, this should not be required of them. Aside from that, all student publications except the ones in Benguet State University do not take hold of their own funds and instead have to abide by the rigid and extremely bureaucratic process of paperworks needed to make use of their funds when needed.

The repressive system, explicit or otherwise, where the campus press resides is a result of the conflicting interests found in this setting. As the mouthpiece of the students and protectors of their interests, the campus press needs to be silenced by powers-that-be in the academic institution most of the time. These violations of campus press freedom are only the most convenient ways by which those in power hinder the potentials of the campus press to record facts, document events and shape the opinion of the students. It is also not rare that the campus press has goaded its readers to act and oppose the existing order of things. This is the worst scenario the powers-that-be try to stave off by limiting the campus press.

But we are far from being deterred. The choice is wide open for us and we know the conditions that should guide this choice. We are members of the campus press, mainly funded by the studentry to which we also belong. We should be working for the interest, welfare of and discursive engagement with the students. Returning to David and Syjuco, we should make them think, we should make them listen to us in the same way that what we should write is relevant and useful to them. No amount of repression could be tantamount to stopping the campus press from fulfilling its duties – that is, choosing for the students, its main publisher, choosing for the students’ interests and concerns.

A long standing 82 years of history only shows how formidable the campus press has become. Together, we can look forward to more years of continued struggle for genuine campus press freedom and the welfare of the students and the Filipino people.

*this ‘conversation’ appeared in the 15th issue of Kritika Kultura, Ateneo de Manila Univesity’s refereed journal (254-276)

 

 

UPHOLD CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM!

SCRAP JOURNALISM ACT OF 1991!

JUNK CYBERCRIME LAW!

PASS THE CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM BILL!

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With the approval of Cybercrime Law: Libel, now “redundantly excessive” in the Philippines


Statement

Last year, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) asserted that the criminal sanction for libel in the country is “excessive.” Libel being a criminal case in the Philippines is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in which the country is a signatory.

While the campaign to decriminalize (diminish from being a criminal to a civil case) libel in the country continues, CEGP Baguio-Benguet sees the approval of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Law as a backward step in the campaign to decriminalize libel. With the inclusion of online libel in the punishable acts under the content-related offenses, the limit to freedom of expression and the public’s right to information already caused by the criminal libel can now take effect in the internet as well. To put it satirically, it seems like libel has become “redundantly excessive” in the Philippines.

In the past, criminal libel cases were filed against journalists, mostly from the community or alternative press, who expose the anomalies of and criticize influential people.  For instance, Alexander Adonis of Bombo Radyo Davao was accused of committing criminal libel by then Congressman and eventual House Speaker Prospero Nograles and convicted after failing to defend himself in court due to financial concerns. This came about after Adonis reported of an incident where the Congressman was caught with a mistress in a Manila Hotel.

At present, a member of the Guild, the former Editor-in-Chief of UP Baguio Outcrop is facing a libel case in the Regional Trial Court. The case ensued from a section of a lampoon article criticizing acts of powerplay in the university.

With the approval of the Cybercrime Law, the Guild is wary of it posing a limitation to the freedom of expression and free flow of discourse in the internet. Undeniably, the online medium has proven to be one of the more efficient ways of disseminating information and participating in the discourses in the society especially among the youth. The possible implementation of the Cybercrime Law can only curb the potentials of the online medium for sharing information and shaping public opinion. With numerous campus publications setting up online version of their newspapers, any content that can be deemed “libelous” by authorities can lead to undue penalties.

In the end, CEGP Baguio-Benguet perceives the approval of the Cybercrime Law to be another manifestation of the Aquino regime’s stifling of the rights of its people.  With its continued blundering in addressing the issues confronting the basic people such as access to basic social services, employment, land distribution among others and the resulting outcry from more and more of its constituents, the Aquino regime seeks to systematically repress their expression of dissent through various means. The Cybercrime Law is clearly one of these tactics. To this, the Guild sees nothing more apt a response than continuing dissent. Silence cannot be condoned when it is the rights of the people that are at stake.

THE BUTTRESS’ SUPPORT STATEMENT FOR OUTCROP LIBEL CASE


 

The Buttress, the official student publication of the School of Engineering and Architecture, Saint Louis University, affirms its full support for Ms. Jesusa Paquibot, former Editor-in-chief of Outcrop, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines-Baguio, who is reproached with libel by a certain faculty member of UP-Baguio.

The Buttress recognizes the role of student publications as a medium for fair, honest and fearless news and views and as an agent for better relations among the students, faculty members, school administration, and the employees of the school they belong through responsible ethical journalism.  In this regard, as campus journalists, The Buttress believes that campus press freedom is essential for student publications to accomplish their roles for the welfare of the institution they serve.

 

The Buttress believes that the withholding of the right of student publications to freedom of expression, deterring them from informing the public of the truth, is a violation of the freedom of the press, speech and expression as stated in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article III, Section 4.

The Buttress recognizes that student journalists must always write responsibly and pursue only the truth.

The Buttress is certain that the UPB Outcrop’s lampoon section ‘Yupiang Yupi’ does not intend to defame a specific person and has no malice on the part of the editorial staff.

The Buttress is in one with Ms. Paquibot’s struggle in defending and upholding campus press freedom. The Buttress hopes that justice must be served where it is due, in all fairness to the opposing sides.

Decriminalize libel!

Uphold campus press freedom and student rights!

 

Llayd Asim

Editor-in-chief, The Buttress

An update on the libel case against Jesusa Paquibot, former Outcrop Editor-in-Chief (3)


August 28, 2012

As of now, the libel case against Jesusa Paquibot, former Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of the UP Baguio Outcrop is put into halt as it awaits the next scheduled hearing which will be on the third of September 2012. In this hearing, the defense will get the turn to present its witnesses.

At this stage of the legal battle faced by one of the members of the Guild in her work as a campus journalist, CEGP Baguio-Benguet maintains its support to the former Outcrop EIC. We continue our call to decriminalize libel as this criminal case proves to be commonly used by powers-that-be to stifle the journalistic practice of the mainstream, local and campus press alike. We echo the call of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines to diminish the status of libel as a case from the present criminal to a civil one. We acknowledge the importance of having a libel case that can contribute in guarding against the irresponsible practice of journalism but this must not be a criminal case. We believe that our journalists, from mainstream to campus, do not play with the press freedom attributed to them. Moreover, we believe that the public’s right to know is much more important to our journalists for them to practice their profession responsibly and NOT “abuse” their press freedom as often charged against them.

We continue egging on our fellow members of the campus press and of the mainstream media to show their support for a fellow journalists’ battle. We reiterate that taken on a larger level, this is not just the battle of Paquibot; this is also the battle of the entire press for their press freedom and most importantly, a battle of the entire populace for their right to know.

 

UPHOLD CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM!

DECRIMINALIZE LIBEL!

 

College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet

 

For related articles on the Decriminalization of Libel, check out these links:

http://www.philpressinstitute.com/2012/03/22/decriminalize-libel-now/

http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2012/02/17/decriminalizing-libel-un-declares-ph-libel-law-excessive/

http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationsubcategoryid=65&articleid=790639

BSU Mountain Collegian Support Statement on the Outcrop Libel case


The Mountain Collegian, the official student publication of Benguet State University (BSU), confirms its support for Jesusa Paquibot, editor-in-chief of the Outcrop, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines-Baguio (UPB), who is charged with a libel case filed against her by a certain teacher from UPB.

The Mountain Collegian accepts that campus journalists must not write afar from what is true because campus journalists have a pledge towards responsible journalism.

The Mountain Collegian recognizes the significance of campus press freedom in bringing to the student body the social task of telling the truth and expressing the ideals of the studentry. As campus journalists, The Mountain Collegian deems that campus press freedom is the heart of campus journalism. The denial of such, partly or in full and in whatever mode, is equivalent to hindering campus journalists from bringing the truth to the studentry. Furthermore, such repression is clearly violating the Constitution and the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.

The Mountain Collegian stands in the belief that the article “YupiangYupi” does not mean to insult or criticize the nature, name, and honor of anyone in particular. Moreover, the article addresses certain issues of the students, such as embarrassing campus journalists who are just doing their duties.

The Mountain Collegian hopes that justice may be served where it is due and that fairness must prevail. Lastly, all sides must be given the opportunity to be heard and the safeguard of the greatest good must be always maintained.

 

Support Statement for Outcrop Libel Case: CEGP Kalinga Chapter


A campus paper writer is an artistic activist and partisan in some struggle for power. Like an artist, he molds, paints, draws and sketches words about what is happening around her in the school or in the community where he lives. Like a partisan, he is often mistaken as a shrewd oppositionist who writes or comments against the faculty or administration of the school he is connected. It is just but natural and perhaps even healthier that some divergence of view sets in.

Every student journalist has the right to express her feelings, ideas and observations but has to be responsible enough to seek and present only the truth for journalism should be promoted as a way literature that is not one-sided and baseless.  Press freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution of the Philippines, where it is enshrined in Article III, Section 4.

Hence, we, the members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Kalinga Chapter, affirm our support for Ms. Jesusa Paquibot, Editor-in-Chief of the Outcrop, and the official student publication of the University of the Philippines-Baguio, who is facing a libel case filed against her by a faculty member of UP Baguio.

 

DECRIMINALIZE LIBEL

FIGHT FOR CAMPUS PRESS FREEDOM!

UPHOLD STUDENT’S DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM!

 

Nineteen year-old campus journalist facing possible conviction for charges of libel: an update on the libel case against Jesusa Paquibot, former Outcrop Editor-in-Chief (2)


The task of the journalist, be it mainstream or campus-based, is to write the truth. Whether it is the rising prices of commodities, the poverty in urban areas, the latest gadgets, the movies that everyone is watching at the moment, a teacher rebuking someone who merely does her job as an event documentor or a new infrastructure in town, as long as it is grounded on reality and backed up by facts, the journalist must write what he or she thinks is most relevant to the readers.

Due to limitations in the space of a newspaper or time slot for audio-visual programs, journalists can only choose some of what they deem to be most relevant and most significant among the numerous events happening around which they can write about. Moreover, given a democratic space that is being limited by factors like legislations, editorial policies leaning towards private interests and most severely, security threats, the journalists have to be more careful and creative in delivering the issues in the community and influencing the thinking of the people. One of the ways by which these limitations can be undermined is through types of writing that can vary tones and writing styles, explore linguistic forms and generally go outside the rigidities of structure usually found in more traditional types of journalism articles like news and features. One example here is lampoon writing. Without bypassing the principles of responsible journalism and in the case of Outcrop, without digression from its pro-student and pro-people orientation, lampoon writing can be effectively used to tackle issues which otherwise cannot be tackled in a setting abounding with repressive codes and regulations. Sadly, even this tapping of alternative forms to deliver truthful events is being attacked especially if they threaten those who cling to and benefit with their power. This is what happened to a lampoon article, entitled Yupiang Yupi, which is published in Outcrop, the official student publication of UP Baguio.

Around November last year, upon arriving at her boarding house, the Editor-in-Chief of UPB Outcrop received a subpoena requiring her to submit a counter-affidavit in defense of the complaint that a Professor in UP Baguio filed at the City Prosecutor’s Office on August 25, 2011. On November 25, together with her legal adviser, Paquibot filed her counter-affidavit at the City Prosecutor’s Office. Four days after, The City Prosecutor’s Office filed a resolution stating that the article was not libelous due to the lack of the element of specificity.

On December 19, 2011, the private complainant filed a motion for reconsideration. The case was then considered libelous after a student and a professor from the CAC officially declared that they think the fictional character in the said Yupiang Yupi article to be professor. However, the Outcrop was not able to respond to this since it was the period of Christmas break when most of the staffers come back to their homes.

January of this year when Outcrop, the official student publication of UP Baguio and member of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines, received a notice from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) prosecutor indicating its decision to continue the libel case filed by a professor of UP Baguio to Jesusa Paquibot as Editor-in-Chief of Outcrop. This was after the earlier charge of libel was dismissed on November 2011 by a different prosecutor.

On January 19, 2012, Outcrop filed cash bond to recall or set aside the warrant of arrest. The original amount of ten thousand was reduced to five thousand five hundred after a motion to reduce bail was made. The amount of money raised and used for bail was garnered overnight through donations from the UP Baguio students, Outcrop alumni and others.

On February 07, 2012, in the scheduled arraignment, the respondent pleaded not guilty.

On March 07, 2012, the pre-trial was held.

On March 08 and 09, 2012, the defense requested the Court for a mediation process with the complainant. While the process went on, the complainant and the respondent were not able to settle the terms of mediation. The complainant wished that the respondent apologizes for the lampoon article it approved of publishing and which intends to defame her. The respondent and her legal advisers disagreed to these terms for they find it to be self-incriminating and similar to a guilty plea.

With the failure of the mediation process to settle the case, the initial trial was set on April 23 where the Professor testified as the private offended party.

On May 15 and 16, 2012, Professor Anna Christie, now Dean of the College of Arts and Communication of UP Baguio, testified as a witness.

On May 22 Joshua Anne Therese Tan, a Communication student at UP Baguio testified as a witness. The next day, May 23, Ms. Tan was cross-examined by the defense then the side of the private complainant presented another witness, Nelly Rae Castro, also a Communication student at UP Baguio.

On June 19, Amer Amor, an instructor at UP Baguio was presented as the last witness of the private complainant. The side of the private complainant was given ten days to a summation of its evidences to which the defense will have seven days afterwards to make comments on.

As of now, the defense planned to return the case to the Judicial Dispute Resolution where again it will try to settle the case with the complainant by agreeing on the terms of the public letter. Ms. Paquibot of Outcrop and CEGP together with her legal advisers and confreres are open to apologizing to the Professor but only for the distress the lampoon article caused her and nothing else. However, the legal adviser of Outcrop clarified that instead of a “mediation” with the complainant, a “settlement” seems more likely to happen. Whereas in the case of a mediation, the two parties can meet on mutually agreeable terms, a settlement would allow the complainant to compel the respondent (Ms. Paquibot) to abide by the conditions she will demand. Considering the heavy toll a conviction on libel would generate – at least six months of imprisonment and a fine of up to 500 thousand pesos – the Editorial Board of Outcrop is now considering to abide by whatever demands the private complainant will make if a case of settlement takes place. Similar to the plight of the mainstream media, particularly from community papers, who are also prone to charges of libel, Outcrop is being daunted by the possible consequences of a conviction. Lacking the financial capability to shoulder such fines and to miss a period of their work in the case of imprisonment, many mediamen charged of libel are forced to succumb to the conditions given by the complainants just for the case to be dismissed. In the case of Paquibot, the situation appears even bleaker as she is only a student, who unfortunately, was charged of a criminal case by a professor in the university.

To clarify this further, while this scenario is being explored by the Editorial Board of Outcrop and its confreres, it is still very open on pursuing the case. Since it is now the turn of the defense to present its witnesses, Outcrop is already preparing for this stage. It already has its line of witnesses that shall present the other side of the case. Hence, while it already looks at the possibility of conviction of one among its ranks, the defense’ determination to continue the trial is not even slightly dampened. It is in this relation that CEGP Baguio-Benguet keeps on gathering support from fellow campus journalists, mainstream media practitioners and other concerned groups for our victory in this case.

This is when the unity not just of the members of the press but of everyone who cares to know the things happening around them is being urgently called for.  We are seeking the support of the mainstream media which is likewise prone to the threats of powerplay in the current system where libel is only one manifestation. We are also uniting with the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in its call to Decriminalize Libel and prevent this from limiting the freedom of expression of the media, and as a consequence, limiting as well the public’s freedom of information.

In the final note, CEGP Baguio-Benguet reiterates that this is not just Outcrop’s battle. This is a battle for the entire press – be it campus or mainstream. This is a battle against the various elements – state institutions and policies, powerful and influential figures – that stifle not only the right of media practitioners to freedom of expression but more importantly, the right to information of the public.

 

For other related materials, check on these links:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/up-baguio-outcrop/rootcrop-anatomy-of-the-libel-case-against-outcrop/256939927708783

https://www.facebook.com/notes/up-baguio-outcrop/no-backing-down-a-statement-for-jesusa-paquibot-current-outcrop-editor-in-chief-/255314551204654

https://cegpcordillera.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/loquitor-statement-regarding-the-libel-case-against-outcrop/

https://cegpcordillera.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/support-statement-for-jesusa-paquibot/

 

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