By Anne Ednalyn Dela Cruz
May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day. On that day, journalists, both professionals and students, gathered together to celebrate the freedom of the press, and to remind the people of its essence in society.
In the morning, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) flew kites at the Sunken Garden of the University of the Philippines – Diliman campus to protest campus press repression and killings of journalists. During the activity, CEGP National President Trina Melissa Federis said, “In a so-called democracy, everyday should be press freedom day. Obviously, this is not the case. The number of journalists killed, harassed, or threatened continues to increase.”
In the evening, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, together with other media practitioners, held a cultural night where they dedicated songs and poems to fellow journalists who were killed, and harassed in the fight for press freedom.
NUJP Vice Chairman Nonoy Espina said the Arroyo government is the only administration that tried to suppress the media. “Today is World Press Freedom Day. It is also our ninth year under this regime. This is the only administration, ever since the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, that tried to suppress the media when it declared a State of National Emergency in 2006. It is also only under this administration where the spouse of the president filed numerous libel charges against journalists.”
To conclude the program, journalists lighted candles for victims of journalist killings and vowed to continue to uphold press freedom.