MANILA — The Mindanao State University (MSU) has slammed CNN Philippines over what the university called “unverified and unfounded” news report that the school and its students joined a nationwide mass walkout of students Friday to protest a number of issues like charter change, federalism, tax reform, and martial law in Mindanao.
“The MSU academia vehemently denounces CNN Philippines on the unverified and unfounded news re participation of MSU students in the mass walkout,” the state university said in a statement released for “widest dissemination” on the same day of the reported mass student action.
“There is no truth to the news report of CNN Philippines tagging the university and her students as participants,” MSU System President Habib Macaayong declared through the statement. “In fact, all students in the campus conscientiously attended their classes and the so-called mass walkout did not happen all throughout the day.”
MSU’s official statement added: “As such, all reports circulated in the social media and television must be ignored and corrected in the name of responsible journalism for public awareness.”
Meanwhile, a number of netizens also criticised CNN Philippines on its own Facebook page that also carried the report, posting comments like “fake news”.
The netizens, who said they are paying their taxes, noted the rallying students do not deserve free education from the government and it hurts them to see the students from public universities waste the people’s money.
“Sana nalang nagwalk out kayo ung walang pasok. Sayang ung araw na dapat nasa eskwelahan kayo nagaaral,” one netizen commented.
But in its online report updated 11:57 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, CNN Philippines made no mention of MSU at all. The report just mentioned, “Students from the Ateneo de Manila University, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas joined the protest.”
“Carrying banners and shouting anti-government slogans, they marched from their campuses to Mendiola near Malacañang Palace in the afternoon. Manila police estimated their number at 200, but the demonstrators said there were 1,500 of them,” CNN Philippines reported. “The League of Filipino Students listed similar gatherings in Baguio, Cebu, and Iloilo City.”
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace respects individuals’ right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Juzel Danganan/PNA-northboundasia.com