As the crackdown on government critics continue with the filing of cases against more than 50 “communists” and the arrest of another activist lawmaker–Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador–the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication issued a statement calling on President Arroyo to “end the assault on press freedom and the media and immediately rescind Proclamation No. 1017.”
Below is the complete text of the statement from the website of UP CMC Prof. Danilo Arao:
N.B. – This statement titled “Rescind Proclamation No. 1017″ was signed by 124 students, faculty members and administrative staff of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) at its emergency assembly last February 27, 2006.
Statement of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) on the state of national emergency
Proclamation No. 1017 and General Order No. 5, both signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last February 24, have been used by the government to quell legitimate dissent as manifested by the arrests of demonstrators and so-called conspirators to bring down the President. We can conclude from the raid on the broadsheet The Daily Tribune and the tight watch by the military on other media agencies that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is savaging press freedom.
The suppression of mass media agencies and other organizations will continue unless we unite to fight for our rights and to oppose all measures aimed at curtailing our freedoms. As an academic institution, the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) is committed to the defense of free expression and press freedom.
We believe that press freedom is the cornerstone of a democratic society. It is crucial in providing the people the information they need to form enlightened opinion on matters of public interest especially in times of crisis. And yet, Proclamation No. 1017 condemns the media for “recklessly magnify(ing)” the claims of the political opposition.
The UP CMC is committed to oppose measures like Proclamation No. 1017 which clearly undermine the role of the free press in the country.
We demand that the President end the assault on press freedom and the media and immediately rescind Proclamation No. 1017.