By Ronald O. Reyes
BATO, Leyte, Oct. 25 (PNA) – Campus press must continue to uphold historic role as one of the pillars of progressive media.
Thus said Reyan Arinto, a former mediaman and current information officer of Population Commission (PopCom) in Eastern Visayas, during the Leyte division schools press conference in Bato, Leyte that concluded Friday.
“Citizens would only enjoy good governance if journalists like you will hold public office holders accountable for their deeds. Campus journalists are the torch bearers, who must always be on the side of the masses,” added Arinto.
Participating in the competition are 600 student writers and publication advisers in the province on the theme “The Role of 21st Century Campus Journalists in Upholding Good Governance, Leadership and Transparency.”
“There are only two forces that can carry light to every corner of the globe: the sun and the media,” said Arinto, who worked in the media for 15 years before he joined PopCom in 2013.
According to him, it is the core responsibility of a journalist “to uphold accountability and openness when reporting issues of governance.”
“To promote good governance and uphold public officers accountable, you must beam your searchlight on irregularities most especially in public offices, violations of laws and incompetence of public officials. I urge you to bring the ethics of journalism to bear on your duty,” he said.
“Journalism empowers people to get accurate information from people in authority to make society a better place. You should not limit your activities to the confines of your schools. You should go out and search for truth,” he added.
Noting on the widespread poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment in the country, Arinto reminded the young journalists that the media “has a role to play behind formation of public opinion which can force leaders to address the core issues haunting the country’s progress.”
“Good governance is an ideal system which is difficult to achieve in its totality. In other words, no society has ever said to achieve good governance in totality. We can only come close to this by our activities with the aim of making this ideal a reality.
Meanwhile, Ronelo Al Firmo, Department of Education (DepEd)-Leyte division superintendent, urged the student journalists to continue in honing their skills both inside and outside the school.
Firmo, in his speech, also encouraged the campus journalists to empower their fellow students and their schools through their writings.
Grace Villanueva, Leyte Division English supervisor and journalism coordinator, thanked the participants and the officials of Bato School of Fisheries for the successful hosting of the event.
The said DepEd annual press conference was in preparation for the incoming regional and national competitions as mandated in Republic Act No. 7079, also known as the Campus Journalism Act of 1991. (PNA)