Student - May 17, 2010


'I beg your pardon?' I asked, failing to comprehend. Stammers come back from the other end of the line. The person to whom I am talking is clearly displeased with my telephone call. She tries to tell me this nicely and in a civil manner: she's going to check, but I am actually not welcome to write a piece about the brown café in Orion. 'VeSte wants to avoid giving the wrong picture about the new student bar.' Appalled, I hang up. 'It's a secret whether barstools are placed on the left or the right', I mutter out of frustration to another student whom I don't even know.

For a moment, I take this as a personal assault on me as a student reporter. Why would I paint a wrong picture? I happen to be able to give very accurate pictures, I think. I do make mistakes, of course, even very silly ones, and numbers are particularly difficult. That's why I let almost all my articles - except columns - be proofread. Genuine mistakes are removed, while critical overtones may stay. Afterwards, anyone is free to direct angry letters, mails and telephone calls at these. (So far, it hasn't been too bad, but I'm curious about this column.) I feel that anything may be said. That a free press would move the world ahead is an opinion which VeSte doesn't seem to share. Is a brown café a state secret? Be glad if anyone listens at all.
Oh well, it's not too difficult to bring down VeSte alone, which is just toeing the line. Everywhere, I come across the same secretive doings, or people who attach so many implications to something that not much of an opinion is left any more. A few weeks ago, someone suddenly wanted to retract his statements from being published. Do you know that permanent Resource journalists are not allowed to be present at the Participational Council meetings of Van Hall Larenstein?
In the midst of my frustrations, I sometimes overlook the fact that nine out of ten people are very friendly and willing to cooperate. And in fact, I ought to be appreciative of all the secrecy. That makes me think that my pieces are being read.