Today marks the 29th year of a milestone significant to campus journalists—the enactment of Republic Act 7079 or the “Campus Journalism Act of 1991.”
Aimed to ratify and protect press freedom at the campus level, this Act strengthens the ink of student journalists. Not only does it promote the development of campus journalism in our country, but also preserves the integrity of all student publications.
However, the loopholes in the Act fail to protect student journalists from state repression and hinders genuine campus press freedom. The Campus Journalism Act of 1991 holds a tight grip in publications financial-wise and in releases they deem ‘libelous’, among other provisions. This prevents some publications to become critical of their own academic institutions and anti-student policies, defeating the purpose of the press to serve as check and balance.
As we celebrate this day, The Angelite advocates for the passage of House Bill 319, or the Campus Press Freedom (CPF) Act, which seeks to address the flaws of the existing CJA of 1991. Sponsored by Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago, this bill will safeguard student journalists from the administration who weaponize their authority and penalize violations against campus press freedom.
Let us make this day both a commemoration and a call to always side with the truth and write not only for the sake of our fellow students but also for every marginalized sector in the society. Especially during this time of the pandemic, this day reminds us how important it is to voice-out what is right and just in the spirit of journalism.
Campus publications will strive to uphold the highest ethical standards in journalism while fulfilling the obligation of speaking up in times of tyranny and injustice.