February 27, 2006. A special emergency general assembly was called at the College of Mass Communication this afternoon despite the suspension of classes. And despite the fact that the information was passed only through text messaging, quite a number of students and faculty turned up. The auditorium was packed.
A short discussion on Gloria Arroyo’s Proclamation No. 1017 came ahead. Then the assembly came up with a collective statement regarding the matter. Basically, the college insists that it will continue fighting the administration’s efforts to suppress the freedom of the press and demands that the President lift the ‘decree’ that only aims to protect the President from hounds of legitimate grievances and to strengthen and lengthen her stay in power.
There was also some sort of talks about forming a CMC crisis committee just in case some students and faculty of the college or of the university suddenly disappear amidst the government’s intensifying crackdown on Gloria Arroyo’s dissenters. The University Council will apparently meet tomorrow to further discuss how the university will collectively react to this crisis.
Rescind Proclamation No. 1017
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.