Gavianne Sommer Viar

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Union of Journalists of the Philippines - Diliman (UJP-UP), the organization conducted Media Report 2023 on September 14 at the 4th floor of the Student Union Building at the University of the Philippines Diliman with the theme, "Behind the Byline: Uncovering Challenges Faced by the Campus Press in a Post Lockdown Set-up." 

Photos by Edmund Jr. Pelingon/Explained PH

Tinig ng Plaridel (TNP) Associate Editor Guinevere Latoza emphasized the need for a watchdog in society, as she presented the issues that the Philippines faces regarding press freedom, stating that said term is multi-faceted. 

"Ang estado mismo, sila dapat ang nag-eempower sa atin pero ang ginagawa pa nila ay opposite [no'n]... Hindi lang ito sa usaping funding, usaping recognition. Usapin din ito sa kung binibigyan tayo ng information at freedom of expression," Latoza said. 

Justin Daduya, the Executive Vice Chairperson of UP Solidaridad, echoed these concerns by stating, "Patuloy ang pag-atake at pagtawag na terorista at bahagi ng propaganda ang mga student publication."  

Part of Daduya's discussion talks about the lack of accessible funding for student publications, providing no compensation for campus journalists, and the hurdles in procuring equipment. 

More of the issues were further addressed by National Deputy Secretary-General of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) John Ray Luciano, highlighting the “existential threat” that Philippine media faced during the regime of former president Rodrigo Duterte.

He also emphasized the continuous insidious attacks using modern technology and disinformation that plague the industry, akin to those employed during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s campaign. 

"Walang kongkretong tugon para sa tuluyang pagtigil sa pag-atake sa media," Luciano remarked.

Furthermore, Altermidya (People’s Alternative Media Network) presented an interview talking about Xerox journalism and Mosquito press - two types of media prevalent during the Martial Law. They also provided an update about Frenchie Mae Cumpio, a Tacloban Journalist and the Executive Director of Eastern Vista, who was detained for three years due to red tagging.

In response to these ongoing challenges and threats, Daduya emphasized the need to confront our fears head-on, stating "If we are afraid of something, that means it is something that we have to address as well.”

He further underscored that fear should not paralyze us, saying, “Di lang naman tayo tumatayo [o] tumatakbo kapag natatakot tayo sa bagay na iyon. These worsening attacks only tell us, [that, as I would say,] hold the line and strike back.” 

Throughout the event, the speakers stressed the importance of student publications standing strong and facing these challenges together while writing for the Filipino people in mind, telling and showcasing the stories of the marginalized sectors of the country.

Edited by Audrei Jeremy Mendador


Gavianne Sommer Viar is a 1st Year Film Student at De la Salle - College of St. Benilde. She is the former Associate Editor of Eugenio Lopez Jr. Center for Media Arts Senior High School’s English publication, The Vanguard, and the former Managing Editor of the QCA ECHO, the publication of Quezon City Academy Foundation Inc. She has won multiple awards in various press conferences for copyreading and column writing, and has now joined Explained PH as part of its volunteer program.