A mural depicting the history of press freedom made by the Neo-Angono artists in the Philippines was censored by the National Press Club before it was presented to President GMA. How ironic that the NPC’s “press freedom” commission was censored by none other than themselves. Truth be told, the word is not “censorship.” It leans a little bit more closely to “defacement.”
The final mural, which was submitted to NPC on October 24, shows a man reading the latest news on journalists’ killings while press freedom icons from the past and present converge around him. In one scene, Marcelo H. del Pilar is seen with fellow editor Mariano Ponce while rooting for cigarette butts in a garbage can under the streetsign La Solidaridad. Near the two, Filipino revolutionary Emilio Jacinto sells copies of the newspaper “Ningning o Liwanag” whose headlines proclaim the declaration of martial law while an incensed Eggie Apostol walks past. Perhaps the most arresting image is that of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. talking to National Hero Jose Rizal while the latter reads a newspaper article on the disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of press freedom icon Joe Burgos.
“Isn’t it ironic that an institution such as the NPC would cause the censorship of a work that they themselves commissioned purportedly to promote press freedom? Isn’t the freedom of expression of the artist bound up with the very press freedom that they supposedly uphold? Aren’t these alterations a clear violation of the rights of authors/artists protected by the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines?” the group said in a statement.