Monday, 25 June 2007

On Why Voice-Manila Cannot Be A Student-funded Publication

Second part

Another reason as to why the Voice would have a hard time becoming a student-funded publication is the school administration. Ever since I could remember, the school is not receptive to the idea of having a student-funded publication for fear that it might eventually be critical of the school’s policies. Even the past issues included in the archives of the publication showed little sign of being critical to the school administration, much less to national issues.

It seems that the school administration is afraid of activism and critical thinking taking seed in the student population and as the publication has a large reader base within the campus, it has been a target of constant oppression and censorship.

To monitor the publication, the school administration delegates faculties from the Humanities and Social Sciences Department as advisers to edit articles and supervise the Voice staff. Those delegated are often on the side of the school administration. Thus, certain articles in the newspaper are subjected to censorship or worse, excluded from being published whenever the advisers think that it is critical of the school.

Furthermore, the advisers (an English adviser and a Filipino adviser) have a knack for overruling the decisions of the senior staff. There were times that the senior staff was able to hold their ground and stand for the decision, but most of the time they had to succumb to the whims of the advisers.

Such actions go beyond the duty of an adviser as providing only “technical guidance” as stated in the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 (which by the way is flawed).

When a student becomes a trainee of the publication, he undergoes a series of interviews with the advisers, the head of the Student Personnel Services, the head of Security and the Administrative Officer (the senior staff interviews the student prior to being accepted in the publication). During interviews with school officials, a trainee is often asked regarding his affiliations and inclinations. Such questions are meant to determine if the trainee is affiliated with leftist organizations, is a Leftist, or a sympathizer of the Left.

An upcoming issue’s galley also goes through the office of the Vice-President for Administration and Student Services (VPASS) for editing prior to being delivered to the printing press. Thus an issue’s content gets screened twice: first is through the advisers, and then the VPASS.

In a meeting with the VPASS a couple of months ago (I think it was in January or February), she told us to focus our articles on student achievers, moral values and alumni who have contributed something great as opposed to articles regarding national events and those critical of the national government. That was the time when the publication released an article regarding the Registrar’s Office, which was misinterpreted as defamatory by the said office.

Despite all this, there are still employees who are helpful and sympathetic to the publication. Still, as long as there are members of the top brass who do not want the publication to make a great leap forward, then the chances of the Voice becoming a student-funded newspaper is slim. Very slim.


Fjordan Allego said...

Noong martes, nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataong makapanayam si Mam Salameda ng Student Accounting para sa isang artikulong magpapaliwanag sa mga bayaring nakasaad sa RegCard. Isang follow-up article din kung sakali ito sa news article ni Macs noong nakaraang sem. Pero dahil abala si Mam Salameda sa iba pang mga gawain, pinabalik niya ako kinabukasan para mas maging maayos kuno ang aming pag-uusap. Sa kasamaang palad, hindi ganito ang nangyari. Ang akala ko pa man din ay matino silang kausap pero inirefer nila kami kay Sir Vargas (na siyang sumundo sa amin sa opisinang yun) at saka kami kinausap. Hindi ko alam kung bakit kinakailangang matakot ng Student Accounting kung wala naman silang itinatago. Ang hinihingi lang namin ay ang maliwanag at klarong pagtalakay sa mga bayarin, iyon lang, tapos! Pero ipinagkakait pa nila ang impormasyong ito sa amin. Kung hindi man sila ang nasa posisyon para magsalita ukol dito, dapat sa una pa lang sinabi na nila sa amin. ANg lumalabas kasi, kami ang pabalik-balik at nangungulit sa kanila.

Dahil sa insidenteng ito, may bagong ipinatupad si Mam Espina sa Voice. Ngayon, lahat ng mga topics ay masasala na rin dahil dadaan na sa kanya bago simulan ang mga articles.

Helpful nga ba talaga ang mga empleyado ng TIP? Supportive?

pol said...

Well, there are a number of employees who have been helpful to the publication over the course of my stay there. I'm sure my seniors (Mike, Berto, Ja, Lester, etc.) have a list too. However, most of them are not occupying positions of great power (in the campus, at least). A shame.

Remember, employees have to follow certain protocols and the so-called "chain of command." What you guys experienced may be the order of a few higher-ups trying to cover their asses.

Regarding your article, I remember Antonio telling us that Mam Lahoz asked the publication to help the administration relay information regarding tuition and miscellaneous fees to the students. You could use this to your advantage. Try calling Sir (Angelo) Lahoz.

As for Mam Espina, I believe what she did is way beyond her duty as adviser. Try talking some sense into her (goodluck with that). Or you could just push for a replacement. Har.