De Lima seeks protection of campus journos against harassment, intimidation

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SEN. Leila de Lima wants the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 repealed to protect campus journalists against harassment and intimidation for their critical stances on school and national issues.

In a statement, the detained lawmaker said she had filed Senate Bill 1868 to amend Republic Act 7079 or the Campus Journalism Act for its “serious flaws and deficiencies.”

“The campus press is expected to uphold the interest of the students and the Filipino people, such as the incessant and unabated tuition and other fee increases, repressive student policies, human rights violations, disregard for national sovereignty, corruption in government, and various assaults to the rights of the people,” de Lima said.

De Lima, a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, said some student journalists had been subjected to harassment and intimidation for protesting school programs or policies “at the expense of the best interest of the studentry.”

De Lima’s bill wants programs and projects that will empower student journalists, to provide them with a “consistent and reliable source of funds” and in-depth training to help campus journalists assess the content of their campus papers.

“By repealing the present law, and replacing it with a law that genuinely upholds campus press freedom, we can once again reclaim campus journalism as it once were – an unbiased, untainted avenue of self-expression, critical and creative thinking, and a beacon of nationalism and democracy,” de Lima said.

In April, the Bedan Roar, the official student publication of the Senior High School of San Beda University in Manila, said its school administration halted the release of 1,700 copies of its magazine for “not passing the school’s standards” and for being “too negative” for the school community.

The magazine’s cover showed President Duterte sitting atop the victims of his war on drugs, against a red backdrop of newspaper headlines on illegal drug-related killings.

“The students of The Bedan Roar did what any true Bedan would do. Nay, what a true Filipino patriot would do. They called out the threat of a tyrant. They let him know they are here and that they will not stand for his abuses,” de Lima said in her dispatch letter from Camp Crame in April.

 

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