THE NAME of campus journalist Marjohara Tucay was found in news articles this month not because of his byline, but because he was the subject of the articles themselves, thanks to the disruption he caused during the visit of United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

Tucay, the editor in chief of the Philippine Collegian, the official student publication of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, screamed and raised a protest calling for the abolition of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

His act showed that he himself is not confident with the power of the campus press.

This is not a question of his argument against the VFA or MDT. It is his right as a citizen to have an opinion of his own, but he made his protest in the middle of “A Conversation in Manila” last Nov. 16 at the National Museum, campaigning on the rights of others to have an honest to goodness discussion among themselves.

It is obvious that Tucay’s act was pre-meditated. It is also obvious that he is not confident with the Philippine Collegian and its staff because he would choose to make a scene in front of the public than use the strong medium he has full control of. So much for the 89 years of “talas, tapang, at tatag ng pamamahayag” of “Kule.”

As I read the story about Tucay, I started to tell myself: I didn’t know that the post-modern campus press in his point of view now has more than half of its elements from Student Activism 101. I used to think it was still about objectivity.

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Would Clinton even think of pulling out VFA or MDT with what he did? Not a chance. But looking at the positive light, his actions gave him temporary fame, at least in the campus press circle, Congratulations!

His actions destroyed his own credibility. Would the public still trust him to deliver balanced and objective report should he write a story about VFA or MDT? If he used the power of the pen and wrote an opinion column instead of protesting loudly like what he did, he would have made more credible point. He didn’t go to the public discussion to have an objective exchange of voices; he went there to heckle and rattle some.

Media bias is inevitable in news reporting, but objectivity of method is never impossible to achieve. Mr. Tucay should know that; he’s a broadcast communication major.

***

Since we’re already discussing freedom and activism, I might as well talk about the so-called “protests” happening in UST, and as I observe, these activities—though not all of them, I believe—are now turning into a show.

I hope that I’m wrong in thinking that certain political groups are taking advantage of the circumstances arising from the new enrollment policies to increase their publicity.

Last Nov. 18, some staff members of the Varsitarian told me that there were students rallying in Dapitan Street because of the stricter enrollment policies reported last issue, but what surprised me was not the fact that (I thought) student activism in UST is finding its way back on campus.

I chuckled after a ‘V’ writer told me: “…pero umalis din po sila (protesters) agad after lumabas ng ilang security guards.”

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There was also an announcement on Facebook this month inviting student leaders and students affected by the new enrolment policy, but while I was expecting for a discourse between the students and the administration, the news reporter, who was supposed to cover the event, said it was “nothing but a small meeting of student leaders.”

Another incident I anticipated was the “prayer vigil” in the Lovers’ Lane to stop the new enrollment policies, also announced on Facebook, but the same reporter told me that “nothing happened.”

A fellow editor of mine said in her column last issue: “Last na, wasak pa,” referring to the new enrollment policies in UST, but I say some of the student efforts to take action in this issue were also “wasak.”

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