Deeds better than words
The law, signed on Aug. 28 and made public this week, states that safeguarding campus journalism is part of the government’s role to protect the constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression, speech, and the press. “As part of media, the campus press is an important institution in promoting and protecting the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression,” the law states. These are noble principles, of course, but campus and professional journalists alike would no doubt prefer to see them upheld by the government every day as a matter of course, and not merely observed once a year. Just last month, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemned the police harassment of the official student publication of the University of Eastern Philippines, The Pillar, when four men visited the publication’s office and interrogated the editor in chief about a candle-lighting ceremony it had organized for the victims of recent Negros Island killings. Later, police told university officials that the ceremony had been “infiltrated” and posed a threat to campus security. In the same month, officials of the Philippine National Police and several universities met to discuss the proposed presence of security forces on campuses and its effects on academic freedom. The police push into campuses is purportedly aimed at stopping communist groups from recruiting members into their ranks—but has also been denounced as part of government efforts to red-tag leftist groups.