TomasinoWeb adviser quits, decries ‘censorship’

The now-deleted photo of TomasinoWeb showing two information and computing sciences students in their type B uniform entering 7-Eleven.

THE ADVISER of TomasinoWeb resigned from his post as he slammed what he called “censorship” from some UST administrators, resulting in the temporary halting of the campus media entity’s social media operations.

In an advisory issued on Monday, Feb. 19, TomasinoWeb said all of its social media platforms would be on hold because of the resignation of its adviser Leo Laparan II.

“In view of the resignation of our organization adviser, and following the protocol of the Office for Student Affairs, our publication on all social media platforms will be on hold until further notice,” the advisory read.

Laparan, a UST journalism instructor and a desk editor at The Philippine Star, resigned on Feb. 19, three days after TomasinoWeb was forced to take down a photo of two information and computing science students entering 7-Eleven.

According to TomasinoWeb, the photo, which supposedly spawned “public ridicule” towards the students of the program and UST, was unpublished upon the directive of Office of Student Affairs (OSA)  

Critics of the photo, which was posted on Feb. 15, claimed that it highlighted the similarity between the uniforms of students and the 7-Eleven employees. However, TomasinoWeb insisted the photo was not meant to cause harm. 

READ: TomWeb photo of CICS students entering 7-Eleven taken down after drawing ‘concerns’ from UST officials

Laparan said TomasinoWeb was “forced” by some administrative officials to unpublish the photo.

“We stood up by our decision not to take down the photo. And when we were forced to have it taken down and we could not do anything, I felt my being an adviser (was) irrelevant,” Laparan told The Flame.

“That is a glaring illustration of censorship because there’s nothing wrong with the photo…I’d rather leave to preserve myself…Natapakan ‘yung pagka-journalist ko rito (My being a journalist was trampled upon),” he added.

Laparan said the content management of media organizations should be left to journalists, free of any external influence.

“Media organizations, by nature, should be independent. There should be no external force that controls this. This is why journalism is studied… so why not leave the wisdom to journalists in weighing out which should and should not be disseminated to the public?” he said.

“In my 21-year career in the mainstream industry, I have never experienced this. That’s why I was perplexed that I experienced it here in a student environment setting, in a media-based organization in our University.”

Laparan was adviser of TomasinoWeb for more than a year.

Protected by law

Section 6 of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 states that student publications must be independent. 

The law also states that the operations of the student publications “shall not be delayed, suspended or closed down in connection with the articles it has published, or on basis of the conduct or performance of its staff without due process.”

“​​The student publication shall be autonomous from any administrative intervention with regard to the handling of its funds, the content of the articles the editorial board chooses to publish, the selection of its publication staff and members of the editorial board,” the law said.

“The student journalist shall not be suspended, expelled or punished with administrative sanctions solely on the basis of the articles he or she has written, except when such articles constitute a violation of law, and the school’s valid and reasonable schools and regulations.” F – Ma. Alyanna Selda 

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