Philippine Star Associate Editor Marichu Villanueva delivers her opinion writing lecture in front of  more than 250 people last Oct. 24. Photo by Jaime T. Campos

25 October 2012, 12:05 a.m. – PHILIPPINE Star associate editor and columnist Marichu Villanueva commended UST and the Varsitarian on Wednesday for taking a stand on the controversial “reproductive health” (RH) bill, as she called on aspiring journalists to continue the pursuit of press freedom.

“For taking the stand, I admire the Varsitarian for being ready to defend what their beliefs are. It was a good example of being one with faith and principle. That was good and I applaud them,” said Villanueva, an industry veteran who had covered Malacañang for the Star.

Villanueva made the remark as she discussed opinion and editorial writing in the final day of three-day UST national journalism conference dubbed “Inkblots.”

Villanueva told the more than 250 campus writers and advisers that journalists have a responsibility to report the facts.

“Responsible journalism” is a euphemism for self-censorship and journalists should be able to distinguish between right and the wrong, truth and lie, she said.

“We make it a principle that if we (journalists) write something, it must be solely based on what really happened; it must be factual. That is why when you read something, it should come from a reliable journalist and not just someone,” said Villanueva.

The Varsitarian came under heavy criticism in social networks over its recent editorial titled “RH Bill, Ateneo and La Salle: Of Lemons and Cowards.”

On Oct. 9, the UST administration released a statement supporting the Varsitarian’s stand against the RH bill, as well as emphasizing that the campus paper enjoys editorial independence.

UST also said the polemical language used in the editorial did not have its “imprimatur.”

Villanueva told Inkblots fellows that “it’s only the Philippines that has real press freedom among the 10 ASEAN members.”

“As young journalists … keep your idealism about press freedom,” she added.

Inkblots, now on its 14th year, is the annual national campus journalism fellowship sponsored by the Varsitarian. The event consisted of lectures on news writing, feature writing, sports writing, opinion writing, broadcast journalism, photojournalism and literary writing, among others.

Other speakers included Manila Bulletin editor Nestor Cuartero, Inquirer senior reporter and former Varsitarian editor in chief Christian Esguerra, ABS-CBN News reporter Niko Baua, GMA News reporter Mariz Umali, Philippine Star sports columnist Quinito Henson, cartoonist Jess Abrera, Radyo Veritas commentator Fr. Nick Lalog, and Filipino fictionist Eros Atalia. Alfredo N. Mendoza and Catalina Ricci S. Madarang



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