CEGP troops to CHR, files complaint against ‘oppression of campus papers’
MANILA, Philippines — The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) trooped to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to file complaints against numerous alleged instances where school papers are oppressed and harassed.
According to CEGP, the country’s oldest campus newspaper organization, there have been several incidents where CEGP and affiliated campus papers were wrongly red-tagged or identified as part of the armed communist insurgency.
CEGP members went to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), but its office was supposedly closed due to its employees being subjected to COVID-19 testing.
“The blatant attacks on journalism should never be permitted! Now, more than ever, we are in need of responsible and transparent journalism; if we are to eradicate them at an early stage, what good would it bring us?” CEGP deputy secretary general Regina Tolentino said in a statement.
“With that, let us unite and chant our rights to defend press freedom!” she added.
CEGP was referring to various spates of alleged red-tagging, including statements from the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) member and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade.
Parlade said last May that CEGP and other media organizations linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) have been using the ABS-CBN shutdown issue to gain sympathy.
While CEGP and other groups have denied it — with CHR even cautioning government that the Constitution protects criticism — NTF-ELCAC and Parlade have long maintained that they have evidence to back up their allegations.
CEGP also previously slammed the red-tagging of a University of the East campus editor who was supposedly forced to retract his statement criticizing the government’s response to the pandemic. However, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) insisted that they have no hand in the campus editor’s retraction.
Recently, CEGP also chided Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia for allegedly threatening a campus paper which published an editorial saying that governors — like her — are not above the law.
CEGP said that they would continue to fight attacks on press freedom.
“Duterte’s administration has tried so far to silence the mouth of the critics. From the railroaded unconstitutional terror law until the non-prioritization for journalists’ rights amidst attacks show an evident manifestation of a ‘leader’s’ desperate call to throw out dissenters,” Tolentino claimed. [ac]
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