The NUJP pointed out that 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.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – A student journalist who attempted to cover a forum organized by a government agency was barred by local policemen and supporters of Liberal Party, Feb. 17.
Kryten Mariann Boado, reporter of Tinig ng Plaridel, the student publication of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication tried to enter the Bahay ng Alumni to cover a forum of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). Outside the venue, activists held a picket condemning the use of public funds for the campaign of Liberal Party (LP) candidates. LP presidential bet Mar Roxas and vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo attended the forum.
When Boada asserted her right to cover the event, two of the LP partisans jeered at her, calling her “bastos” (boorish) and “just an activist.” Boado said the LP partisans and campus police pushed her away while reporters and news crews from mainstream media were allowed to enter.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the harassment by LP partisans and the UP police.
The NUJP noted that the event was billed as a forum of the NAPC, a government agency and thus, “it should, by right, be open to anyone interested in attending it, not just journalists.”
The NUJP further pointed out that 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.
In a statement posted at its Facebook page, Tinig ng Plaridel condemned the LP for “restricting the rights of campus press and the access of the public to information.”
“If it was an LP pep rally disguised as a government-sponsored forum, it stands to reason that any journalist worth their salt would seek to get to the bottom of the matter and assert their right to do so, as Ms. Boado did,” the NUJP said.
The NUJP said “it is only proper that the LP clarify this incident to Ms. Boado and Tinig Plaridel and
apologize to them.”
The group called on the UP administration to investigate the personnel of the UP police assigned to the Bayan ng Alumni on that day and impose the necessary disciplinary actions on those involved in the harassment of Boado.