CEGP denounces crackdown on PUP college pubs

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines denounces the apparent
“crackdown” to college publications in the Polytechnic University of
the Philippines amid the implementation of the Free Education policy.

After a dialogue with PUP VP for Administration Adam Ramilo, the Business
Torch, student paper of the College of Business Administration, reported
on its notice of eviction and return of equipment and publication office
to the university administration.

Mr. Ramilo “categorically stated” that only The Catalyst, the official
student publication of PUP, was accredited and requested for continued
funding from the Commission of Higher Education, and all other campus
publications will have to be reaccredited.

This is a blatant attack to the practice of independent and free journalism
of the campus press, while the Duterte regime is boasting of its free education
policy. Without state funding, the campus publications will have to shelf out
funds to continue their operations. But it seems that the PUP administration is
sympathetic to the tyrannical regime to gag the free press.

Since publishing exposés from the recent Commission on Audit reports on the
salaries and allowances of the higher university officials and “inequitable utilization” of the fiduciary fund collected from the PUP students last 2017, the Business Torch is facing eviction to surrender its office to the Student’s Publications Office. While all other campus publications in PUP seized operation due to lack of funding.

While there is free tuition, the university officials seem to pit the campus publications against each other in getting funds. But this should not be the case if free education also means the recognition of the student’s right to organize. Rather, the campus publications must stand in solidarity in defending press freedom.

Furthermore, the provision of free education should not trample upon the independence of the campus press. The case of repression and censorship threat to Himati, the official student paper of the University of the Philippines — Mindanao, reflects as well the desparate attempt to silence the campus press on its rightful role to uncover social ills and hold the state authorities accountable for its injustices.

These incidences of campus press crackdown is a challenge to all campus journalists to be vigilant, get organized, and uphold the might of an undaunted pen to persistently uncover the true state of our communities and society, especially now under a new dictatorship.

The oldest, broadest, and only-existing intercollegiate alliance of student publications in the Asia-Pacific | Est. 1931 #DefendPressFreedom #EndStateFascism

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