NUJP: Campus press just as legitimate as mainstream media
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on Friday condemned the alleged harassment of Liberal Party supporters of a student journalist of the University of the Philippines Diliman who was supposed to cover a government forum inside the university.
“We note that the event was billed as a forum of the NAPC, a government agency. Thus, it should, by rights, be open to anyone interested in attending it, not just journalists,” the NUJP said in a statement on Friday.
Krysten Mariann Boado, reporter of Tinig ng Plaridel, said she was trying to cover the forum of the National Anti-Poverty Commission at the Bahay ng Alumni when LP partisans and even personnel of the UP Police Department harassed and physically barred her from entering the event.
“When she asserted her right as a journalist to cover the event, two of the LP partisans jeered at her, calling her ‘bastos’ (boorish) and ‘just an activist’ as they hurled curses and other insults at her. Then, when two LP vehicles drove up to the building, Ms. Boado said the LP partisans and campus police pushed her away even as they allowed reporters and news crews from mainstream media to enter,” NUJP said, quoting Boado.
NUJP said “campus journalists are no less legitimate than those who work for the mainstream media and therefore have all the right to cover events of public interest such as an NAPC forum.”
“While we concede that the LP can invoke the right to allow or refuse admission to anyone to an event clearly announced as exclusive to its membership, this was not the case with the UP forum,” the media group said.
NUJP said the LP should apologize to Boado and to the Tinig ng Plaridel.
“It is only proper that the LP clarify this incident to Ms. Boado and Tinig ng Plaridel and apologize to them. We further demand that the party ensure that no such incident happens again and inform its campaigners, supporters and partisans about the legitimacy of the campus press,” it said.
The group also called on the UP administration to probe the members of the UP police assigned on the event.
“We call on the UP administration to investigate the personnel of the UPDP assigned to the to the Bahay ng Alumni on that day and impose the necessary disciplinary actions on and those involved in the harassment of Ms. Boado,” the group said.
NUJP reminded “candidates and political parties to respect the rights of all journalists, whether from the mainstream media, the community press, freelancers and campus publications.”
On Thursday, 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. CDG
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