Media urged to be critical of new ideas

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MEDIA should “scrutinize, analyze, and criticize” new ideas and values in contemporary society.

This was the message of former UST vice rector Fr. Virgilio Ojoy, O.P. to the Varsitarian, the University’s official student publication, as it celebrated its 89th founding anniversary last Jan. 16.

Ojoy, a former Varsitarian associate editor, lamented the widespread irresponsible use of freedom of expression in voicing out opinions, especially in social media.

“The barbaric use of freedom of expression is now the new normal. Are you ready to murder each other by simply the use of cruelest vocabulary?” Ojoy said in his homily during a Eucharistic celebration at the St. Dominic Chapel of the Tan Yan Kee Student Center.

Ojoy also took a swipe at the government’s plan to distribute condoms and contraceptives to public high school students starting next academic year.

“In the past we were taught to control our urges, even to wear blessed strings or chastity belts to remind us that of what our parents would always tell us: magtimpi, mag-control, magpigil kahit nanggigigil,” Ojoy said.

“Are we nurturing the right values and practices? As student journalists, some of whom will be full-fledged writers in the future, the Varsitarian staffers can do well to train themselves to scrutinize, analyze, criticize the new [things] that are being offered in our society and empower the people. We have a lot to do,” he said.

Since 1928, the Varsitarian has served as the chronicler of Asia’s oldest university, tackling University-wide and national concerns. Today, it is the country’s oldest Catholic newspaper.

The publication was founded by a group of students led by Jose Villa Panganiban, dubbed as the “Father of the Varsitarian,” who became the first director of the National Language Institute.

Notable alumni of the Varsitarian include Arsenio Lacson, Felix Bautista, Joe Burgos, Jullie Yap-Daza, Rina Jimenez-David, Neal Cruz, Jake Macasaet, Francisco Tatad, Antonio Lopez, Alice Colet-Villadolid, Ophelia Alcantara-Dimalanta, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, Norma Miraflor, Eric Gamalinda, Vim Nadera, and Eugenia Duran-Apostol; and National Artists Cirilo Bautista, Bienvenido Lumbera, and F. Sionil José.

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