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Opinion

Be informed

Recently, I was wondering just how powerful social media can be. It is readily accessible and available for everyone to use and benefit from. Anyone can easily create his or her Facebook and Twitter accounts in just a minute or less.

Any information can be accessed with just one click and everyone automatically knows it. For instance, there can be a rally and at the same time I can be enjoying my breakfast – these two things can automatically spread through the power of social media, the big and small things.

The LaSallian, for this matter, grasped this opportunity and went with the flow, just like everyone. We have established our Facebook and Twitter platforms and also Instagram, the newest addition to meeting the objective of quick information dissemination to the Lasallian community, and also widening the scope of our reach beyond the University.

This move is indeed possible because of the concept of press freedom. Press is considered a separate entity, seemingly acting as watchdogs of the government and accountable to the citizens of the country. Journalists can have access to public information, the power of freedom in circulation through distribution, broadcasting, uploading, posting, and other means of relaying information for public interest as long as this is done in good faith. Meanwhile, democratic government should not subject to licensing, censorship and exercise the judicial prior restraint on any publication or any kind of press. Nevertheless, there are limitations of this freedom entitled to the press such as the government’s right to protect itself, the integrity of public bodies, obscenity and individual defamation, and the right to privacy.

Last month, Typhoon Maring obliterated Metro Manila, where many experienced grave hunger and trauma from the immense floods that destroyed millions of properties as well as homes of the people. With this, DLSU classes were suspended from Monday until Wednesday (though this is considered a holiday to commemorate the death of former senator Ninoy Aquino). Relief operation efforts were also executed through the DLSU Sagip Metro implemented by the USG. Through the power of social media, The LaSallian delivered the news regarding these aforementioned suspensions and updates on relief ops, definitely with the help of getting information from the administration, the USG, as well as Manila Mayor Erap Estrada. As soon as information was confirmed, we posted updates and tweets for students to be informed. We helped out in disseminating the information; indeed, that’s what press is all about. We just helped out the admin and even the USG to reach the students and spread the information. It is even stipulated in the Student Charter of the Handbook, in Section 3.5 which states, “Student publications shall serve as the principal medium for free and responsible expression, dissemination of information, and interaction among the different sectors of the academic community.”

As a student publication, we are completely autonomous, independently run by the students. With this, I can say that no one has the right to deprive our organization of our responsibility and most importantly, job as a publication. However it seems that other organizations looked outside their internal problems, that they try to meddle with things they have no full knowledge of.

The basic role of any kind of newspaper, be it The LaSallian or Ang Pahayagang Plaridel, is to inform. Informing accurately and fairly is our key responsibility because our commitment is to the truth. As a publication, we are mainly accountable to the students of the University. Our mission is to seek the truth and work for change as competent leaders and ambassadors of critical thinking.

A good communication plan is the key to successful information dissemination. As long as you are spreading the right information, then you are absolutely faultless. As press people, we are entitled to know the right information for our stakeholders. Even you, who may not be from the press should also learn to seek the truth. As the new media saying goes, “think before you click,” because everyone has access to that.

In providing the right information, competition or any of its forms are not included in the equation, unless there are other objectives aside from information dissemination (otherwise, what do you think the motive is?). It should all boil down to one thing, and that is to help students be informed because students – you – have the right to be informed.

It should not matter whether a publication, a USG unit or even the administration announced a certain event or update, as long as it is the right information and it helps the students. Announcements remain the same; I even think that sometimes what we do is just a reiteration, for more people to be reached thanks to the wider scope offered by social media platforms.

As a quote from our handbook says, “It is better to be silenced than to be silent.” Thus, I say that we can’t stop. We can’t stop speaking the truth. We can’t stop informing, we can’t stop keeping you informed. It’s our job.

By Nina dela Cruz

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