July 25 of every year will mark the observation of National Campus Press Freedom Day in all educational institutions.
This is the result of Republic Act Number 11440 (National Campus Press Freedom Day Act) that was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on August 28 and it was only yesterday (September 10) that a copy of the document (which includes signatures of Senate President Tito Sotto and then Speaker of the House Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) was released to the media.
“It is hereby declared the policy of the State to promote, protect, and safeguard the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression, speech, and of the press,” the law read.
“As part of media, the campus press is an important institution in promoting and protecting the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression. As a testament to its remarkable contribution in the continued advancement of these freedoms, the State shall, as a matter of policy, promote the observance of July 25 of every year as ‘National Campus Press Freedom Day’,” it added.
Under RA 11440, educational institutions are mandated to provide full support and assistance to the preparation of the annual program of activities and events to be conducted by students in observance of National Campus Press Freedom Day.
It remains to be seen, however, if the campus press (specifically the news publishing divisions) of academic institutions nationwide would warmly embrace RA 11440.
Another thing to point out is whether or not National Campus Press Freedom Day will add anything at all on inspiring student writers to learn better and improve their craft before graduating and searching for writing-related jobs.
On face value, the campus press is supposed to help students develop their skills in writing news, features and opinions, as well as verifying the facts. Such orientation is supposed to help these future professional writers find the right companies (that offer writing posts) for jobs from the national-level press right down to the local communities.
If you – the reader – are one of those aspiring to work professionally as writers in the near future, be aware that there are some local community publications around that prefer to publish propaganda (self-serving and promotional in nature) instead of practicing real journalism. The good news here is that there are lots of writing-related jobs offered by companies (including those founded by foreign investors) here in the Philippines that focus more on marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), client-specific documentation and other types of writing jobs that are different from journalism and propaganda.
You really want to work as a professional writer with a competitive salary and attractive benefits? Search for jobs in the corporate sector and the national-level media outlets.
In today’s world of social media and widespread wireless access to the Internet (with multiple Wi-Fi spots present nationwide combined with more Filipinos acquiring smartphones), accessing news online is gradually becoming the more preferred way for people looking for news. Going back to National Campus Press Freedom Day, we will find out soon enough if it will help improve the standards of students aspiring to be writers and news searchers.
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