UST journalism professor latest target of red-tagging spree
MANILA, Philippines — A University of Santo Tomas (UST) journalism professor, who has been vocal on press freedom issues under the Duterte administration, is now the latest target of what appears to be an orchestrated red-tagging spree of dissidents and progressives online.
In a blind-item post, a right-wing Facebook page called “The Right Thomasian” alluded to UST journalism professor and former Manila Times editor Felipe Salvosa II as a covert recruiter for the “countryside (CS)”—meaning, guerrilla forces.
While Salvosa is not named, the subsequent comments referred to a “journ professor who released a statement” after the shutdown of broadcasting company ABS-CBN, and “The Second Hokage.”
“Whoever is running this page is spreading a malicious and unfounded accusation via a seemingly innocuous blind item. The author of the post however dropped a hint in the comments section, which was why I felt alluded to,” Salvosa said in a series of tweets.
The post accused the professor of being a former editor in chief for the alternative media outlet Bulatlat.com, which Salvosa denied.
“I was never a part of the staff—I was editor in chief of the Varsitarian, the official student paper of UST, not Bulatlat.com,” Salvosa said.
He was also accused of having tried to recruit a Thomasian student who wanted to join the rebels before s/he was “eventually sent abroad” by his parents.
Salvosa also denied this, saying he has not and will not ever recruit students to the communist rebellion.
“As a faculty member and journalism program head of UST, I am fully committed to the rules and regulations of the University, its vision and mission, its Catholic identity, and to the molding of committed, compassionate and competent Thomasians.
“The owners of this page should show evidence that I recruited for the armed rebellion, not hide behind anonymity and blind items. I reserve my right to any legal recourse to protect my reputation,” he added.
Several of Salvosa’s students expressed alarm that a prominent UST member can be red-tagged online. The journalism professor also made the headlines after resigning from the Manila Times following the publication of the controversial “Oust-Duterte matrix.”
But Danilo Arao, University of the Philippines-College of Mass Communication professor, said that had the administrators of the page only “done their homework, they would know that I am the only one at Bulatlat who teaches journalism at UPD and PUP.”
“To red-tag a UST journalism professor is illogical even if this FB page claims to be pontifical,” he said.
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