/ 24 August 2021

STUDENT journalists from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines expressed alarm over the death threats received by members of the PUP College of Engineering publication.

On August 16, The Engineering Spectrum received threats after posting an editorial cartoon about the state auditors’ report of the Department of Health’s mishandling of pandemic funds.

The campus paper condemned the threats and personal attack, saying that “they have sufficient evidence that will support their editorial stand.”

“Despite having several reports to support our editorial stand, it still received appalling feedback, accusations, and threats toward the page, unfairly red-tagging our editorial board and staff, and attributing our post to a political agenda,” it said in a statement.

“These accusations are unjust, inaccurate, false, and unfair to us, both as campus journalists and students of the PUP College of Engineering,” it added.

The Engineering Spectrum pledged to remain steadfast in delivering unbiased information, writing stories, and drawing fact-based opinions with courage and responsibility.

Meanwhile, the Alyansa ng Kabataang Mamamahayag ng PUP pointed out that threats against Engineering Spectrum “should serve as an eye-opener that there is no genuine press freedom under Duterte’s regime.”

“Attacks on the press, particularly on campus journalists, are not new. Everyday, student journalists suffer from constant red-tagging and threats to personal safety due to their critical stand on various social issues, may it be in the local or national situation,” PUP-AKM said.

“These attacks against press freedom will not prevail, as it is the fight for truth and information that will set us free,” it added.

The group called on the PUP administration to help investigate the incident.

“Even if it is only the campus journalists bearing the brunt of these threats in this instance, there is no mistake that it could have very easily been the general studentry and public. Therefore, we should not be passive, nor wait for these cases of red-tagging to be served with impunity,” it said.

“We urge the PUP Admin, the thousands of Iskolar ng Bayan, and the whole nation to support House Bill 319 or the Campus Press Freedom Bill, as we stand in unison to architect a thriving democracy,” it added.