Right of Reply, environmental protection, biological diversity – all in a fix? You might find that weird but I see them all strung together in some situation here.
The Right of Reply Bill
The Right of Reply bill, if passed into law, will make it mandatory for any [publisher] to provide space [equal time] or to print reply to anything that has been published by media concerning others, for no cost. Like I have already commented elsewhere, I think the intention of the proposed law is good. It is pro-democracy.
When one says something, there is always the possibility that another will disagree to what are stated. Everyone has always the right to express himself. Such has been guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. So, what is new about the right of people to reply, or the Right of Reply Law as proposed? Apparently one intention there is to expand, furtherance, existing rights of freedom of expression by making it literally more free, which is the good side of it.
But, as we have seen, the proposed law is strongly opposed by Media – the journalists themselves, who are supposed to be the bastion of democracy! Main argument is that the law if passed will stifle freedom of expression as it will intimidate people. Therefore, following that argument, the bill must be anti-democratic. Indeed, stifling freedom of expression is no doubt anti-democratic but the question posed now is: Who wants to gag who, actually?
Intimidation of people? Tell me what could be more intimidating to a reporter than a case of Libel or Slander. And the threats are nothing new. People simply have become careful and responsible at reporting. So, why would people then be afraid, or feel intimidated, to say things that are far or short of being libelous and slanderous?
If people are afraid for others to be more free to express their side, much more themselves afraid to say what they think is true, then, maybe they should not be in journalism, not even fit for blogging. And such are also worthless of any claim that they believe in democracy because such thoughts are in fact tendencies, manifestations of fascism – both sides of the thing are present. It appears to me that this argument against the proposed law is weak.
Like I said, I like the idea behind this Right of Reply bill. It’s not because one of the principal authors is Congressman Monico Puentevilla who is a Kabayan from Negros, a townmate from Binalbagan actually, but because of what the proposed law means. No, we have no acquaintance.
Right of Reply is the same idea behind, or similar concept being applied in the Blogging world. And like traditional media, even the freer Blogging system is far from being perfect. For example, while one publisher claims objectivity, it may also warn that it is not responsible for what contributors say. But, by deciding on which and which-not of comments should be published, it is in fact driving for a cause in a very bias manner. Everybody works for one cause or another, people are aware of it or not. Sure, rules have to be made. But I think people should be or must be fair to all. Besides, how would people know that they are true? That an idea is superior and not trash that they could be carrying and pushing around? I think, ideas should stand all tests. Otherwise they are weak. Walang personalan, ideas that can be killed are inferior ideas that do not fit. Inferior in the sense that they could be out of place, out of time, or simply ridiculous
Anyway, a publisher may claim one thing or another. So does the second party when there is conflict. But, it is always the third party that finally determines what is what. It is the third party that determines what is right and what is wrong, what is sense and what is nonsense, etc. Thus, that everyone must be allowed to express himself is always been right.
If my vote is needed in this Right of Reply Bill, I will vote no to it.That’s right, I will vote No. While I agree with it, I feel it is too complicated when there are other available, better options. What seems to be the stumbling block?
If it becomes law a tabloid with say, eight pages that people use to buy would be running more pages! Meaning, a publisher could go out of business unless the selling price of that tabloid is adjusted. Nice if patrons find the papers more interesting as a result of the new law, and if they think the increased price is worth everything. Because if not, then there would be a drop in sales that may set back whatever gains made by price increase, resulting to loss in profit. Puede siguro kung tubong lugaw sila.
Then why is it that it is the journalists who are actively opposed when it should be the media or publication owners who ought to be out there in the streets? Well, I guess, while employer–employee relationship can be contradictory, at times they can also naturally be one of symbioses. Because, if publishers fold up, then that in effect would be death of democracy by another way. Everybody under the fold dies. A pro-democracy law that will help kill democracy? I am also reminded of the Total Log Ban to save the forests that actually, totally killed many of our forests. When sawmills and their foresters went away, illegal logging and slash-burn farming took wide over.
Instead, why not people open website for themselves. Then snatch-in anything they feel should be commented if not lambasted. Never mind some silly warnings, I think anything publicized is free for all that could be snatched, or else maybe somebody should make it a law or clearly legal . And, maybe the Law can improve blogging, I mean improvement to people’s rights in there to include Right of Reply.
That by itself, appears unnecessary because tomorrow’s masses will be patronizing sites that they see are fair. It is natural self regulation by Mother Nature herself. But until then, I think, laws can help to educate people on rights and fair play.
Now, where’s Environmental Protection, Biological Diversity – all mixed up in a fix with them in there? Yeah, I’m beating some deadline right now and I’m still working on them, folks.
But, you see, yesterday my daughter who is in first-year-hi asked to go with her class to La Mesa Ecopark. It was an excursion for the whole school actually. She felt very bad because I had said no. It was not about the P200.00 that she had asked for the excursion which happened to be non-compulsory unlike some of their fieldtrips. It gave me room to say No for some reasons.
Ecopark is now the fruit of peoples’ struggle and triumph to rid La Mesa dam of ecological threat to Metro Manila’s potable drinking water. One housing project for MWSS employees inside the reservation was successfully opposed on argument that the dam might be contaminated by its residents. I think what we really need in there, aside from the dam personnel, are no more than half a dozen hard working Forest rangers and then we can throw everyone, yes EVERYONE, out!
Now, who’s going to do that? Nobody can tell Ecopark that. Not the administration politicians, not the opposition politicians, not the environmentalist groups that are mostly behind this Ecopark idea, and not the foundations that support them all. [In fact you can save this page, as this is the first time someone said something like Ecopark is worse than the government housing project that it had displaced in there!] You see, Ecopark is brainchild of Ms Gina Lopez of the Lopez group of companies, which is also owner of ABS-CBN radio and television networks. Nobody, and nobody except Ecopark and Company to walk out of there at their own free will, can tell Ecopark to go somewhere else. The old abandoned Wawa dam or the whole Sierra Madre for example, I think, needed more help. We have millions of hectares of denuded forest lands out there actually being destroyed by man faster than they can be repaired or regenerated.
Wha?.. Just a while ago I thought there were people here at my back. Hey, people, where are you?! Please, comeback here! I thought we were going to free 12 million souls of Metro Manila from ecological threat by some horde!
I would like to write more about, but I really must go. Meantime, click on the links where you might probably make out things yourself, folks.
Or, did not I say I hated looking at them, Dan? 😦