UP org: LP supporters, campus police harassed student journos
— Tinig ng Plaridel (@tinigngplaridel) February 17, 2016
A campus publication from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman condemned the alleged harassment suffered by some student journalists from Liberal Party supporters and the UP Police Department (UPPD) during a forum on Wednesday at the Bahay ng Alumni attended by presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and his running mate, Rep. Leni Robredo.
In a statement, Tinig ng Plaridel (TNP) campus publication, claimed that its “reporters were verbally abused, called out and jeered by the LP crowd.”
TNP said their student journalists were not allowed to cover the event sponsored by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).
Before the event, UP students, faculty and personnel protested outside the venue. Liberal Party supporters were also present in the area to cheer the LP candidates present in the forum.
TNP said that its reporter was live tweeting the updates regarding the protest. But in her line of duty, TNP said she and reporters from other student publications were harassed by the supporters of the LP and the UP police..
“At one point during the picket, when two LP vehicles approached the steps of the Bahay ng Alumni, the UPPD along with some LP supporters blocked and pushed away our reporter while it allowed members of the mainstream media to cover the news,” TNP said.
“When our reporter asserted her right as a campus journalist, she was met with violent comments from the LP supporters that have gone down to block her with the UPPD, and the UPPD pushed her back further, claiming that they were doing it for security reasons,” the publication added.
TNP said it “condemns the Liberal Party in restricting the rights of campus press and the access of the public to information.”
“The event was a government-organized function; therefore, it should welcome not only members of the press but also students and the public in an act of transparency,” it said.
TNP said the alleged harassment suffered by its reporter “only shows that the Liberal Party does not support the public’s right to free information and press freedom.”
Sought for comment, Liberal Party spokesman and Rep. Barry Gutierrez said he was not aware of that incident.
“I am not aware of any such incident. I was there and media from various networks and publications were present in full force. And to be clear, it was not an LP event. It was a NAPC event and LP had no hand in the arrangements,” Gutierrez told INQUIRER.net
He said Roxas and Robredo were merely invited as guests. IDL
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