Sunday, June 23, 2024

Press freedom is the people’s freedom

The Weekly Sillimanian | March 22, 2024

Amid the academic hustle, campus journalism remains a battleground for truth. Yet, as the dust settles on multiple issues faced by the campus press, it becomes painfully clear that our understanding of journalism, its vitality, and the role of an informed academic community leaves much to be desired.

During the recent Marshall McLuhan Forum last March 7, Marshall McLuhan Forum fellow Karmina Constantino-Torres called on society to defend the principles of a free press. 

As disinformation and attacks on journalists persist, she asserted that championing the truth is not just a journalistic responsibility but a societal duty. Defending the press, in essence, becomes synonymous with defending democracy itself.

Let us not mince words: there is an alarming absence of practical awareness regarding the essence of journalism within our wider Silliman community. 

How can we, as the stewards of tomorrow, claim to champion student empowerment when we are—at best—ignorant of the very tools that can shape our narratives and illuminate the truth?

Knowledge in journalism must not be a luxury, but a cornerstone of student advocacy. The hallowed grounds of our campuses must serve not only as academic hubs but also as training grounds for a generation of critical thinkers and fearless truth-seekers. Campus journalism, often relegated to the boundaries of student life, should rightfully occupy the forefront of our educational ethos.

To dismiss the campus press as a mere extracurricular activity is to undermine the very essence of democracy. We, the campus journalists, stand as sentinels for the student body, but we urgently ask: are Sillimanians truly standing with us? 

The integrity of our work hinges not only on our commitment but also on the unwavering support of those we aim to serve.

A free press is the lifeblood of democracy, yet its chains are forged not only by oppressive regimes but also by apathy and indifference. 

Let us not forget our identities as Sillimanians, for it is within these halls that we learn not only theoretical practices but also the fundamental principles of justice and truth. Oppression, in whatever form it may manifest, shall never restrain a determined and progressive campus press.

In the wake of the recent turmoil, we must not allow ourselves the luxury of complacency. The time for action is now. Empowerment through knowledge, solidarity through awareness, and freedom through unwavering support—these are the principles upon which we must build our legacy.

To champion campus journalism is to champion ourselves. For in the pursuit of truth, we find not only our voices but also the power to shape a future worthy of our ideals.

As the ink dries on pieces written by campus journalists, let it serve as a clarion call to Sillimanians—and campuses elsewhere. The time for apathy is over for a vibrant, informed, and empowered student press is the urgent goal.

We must remember that to defend the press is to defend the very essence of our democracy. Stand with us, and together, let us break the chains that hinder our leap for progress and development.

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