Campus journos ‘defend press freedom’ during NSPC 2018 awarding ceremonies

Bong Santisteban

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Campus journos ‘defend press freedom’ during NSPC 2018 awarding ceremonies
'It's not just a contest for us. we will uphold press freedom even though we just came from a small island province,' says a campus journalist from Virac, Catanduanes

MANILA, Phillippines – The Collaborative Desktop Publishing Team of Catanduanes National High School in  Virac, Catanduanes surprised everyone during the awarding ceremonies of the National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) in Dumaguete City on Friday, February 23, after they unfurled a banner reading, “Defend Press Freedom! #STANDWITHRAPPLER” while receiving their award. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Colors, excitement fill NSPC 2018 opening)

Shania Villarin of Ilocos Region, the campus journalist who took the picture, described this as “a bold move.”

“Nakakatuwa pong makita sila. Alam talaga nila kung saan dapat pumanig,” the young photojournalist told Rappler. (I’m happy seeing them. They really know where they should stand)

Anhjelica Magbanua, a member of the team, explained that their school paper adviser taught them what responsible and fearless journalism is, and they will continue standing to it. 

“It’s not just a contest for us. We will uphold press freedom even though we just came from a small island province,” Magabanua said. 

The team from Catanduanes bagged the 6th place in Collaborative Desktop Publishing and 3rd Place in Online Publishing. During the 2017 NSPC in Pagadian City, the team won 1st place during the debut of Online Publishing using RapplerX. (READ: #NSPC2018: John Nery encourages campus journos to keep on writing)

The move comes more than 2 weeks after DepEd notified Rappler it was terminating its existing Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the social news network without giving any reasons as to the termination of the MOA. 

Secretary Leonor Briones, in a press conference on February 19, cited the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision to revoke the articles of incorporation of Rappler Inc. and Rappler Holdings as the basis for the department’s termination of the partnership.

Various campus press groups and media organizations have carried the banner of defending press freedom after the series of attacks against the press. Aside from Rappler, the websites of Vera Files and Kodao Productions were also apparently attacked and taken down after releasing reports critical of the government. (READ: Journalists should always stand up against fake information)

The termination happened just a few days before the NSPC, where Rappler was expected to work with DepEd to hold various activities in the week-long event. The partnership between Rappler and DepEd for NSPC included the holding of the online publishing demo contest, a TV Broadcasting contest, and the concurrent session. (READ: By ending Rappler-DepEd partnership, the only losers are the kids)

Dubbed as the “Olympics of Campus Journalism in the Philippines,” NSPC gathers the best budding journalists from all over the country. In 2017, Rappler provided full coverage for the campus journalism event.

In April 2017, Rappler, in partnership with DepEd, also trained over 120 campus journalists and school paper advisers on multimedia reporting in preparation for the coverage of the biggest youth sports event in the Philippines: Palarong Pambansa. –

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