The past few weeks have become witness for the beleaguering of both the Mainstream media and the Pinoy blogosphere.  I’ve wanted to write about this for so long but thought of holding off some of my thoughts until all the flames thrown have dissipated.

Blogging and Ethics
Let’s start with the first issue triggered by an unsolicited comment from Dean Luis Teodoro, a staunch ethics advocate who’s also part of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR).  Dean Teodoro called on Mainstream Media journalists to blog so that they could be an example for people who irresponsibly post things online, saying that these people who have no account for ethics are bringing about disastrous effects with the erroneous and sometimes maligned information they post.

Of course, the Pinoy blogging community took offense and went on a blogging tirade against the professor.  Most have resented Dean Teodoro’s comment, saying that the veteran journalist and professor had no right to impose his “ethics” upon bloggers.  Some have also criticized the mainstream media in particular, saying that most journalists don’t practice these ethics anyway, so why impose them on the bloggers?

As a blogger myself, of course I am not going to let anyone impede on my right to write about my opinion on anything.  That’s a basic right protected for by the constitution.  But, quite frankly, I’d have to agree with Dean Teodoro on this, although not entirely.  While his comment may seem to target bloggers, I believe this covers almost anyone and everyone who posts information online.  Naturally, that includes people from the Social Networking Sites, news websites, personal websites, message boards, etc.  Essentially, anyone who makes information available for public consumption.  Not just blogs, although in the preceding statements of Dean Teodoro he did mention about blogs, and I think that’s where the misinterpretation took place.

His comment may be rather harsh and sweeping, but I think this should cause us to think more rather than be alarmed.  We’d have to admit that, over the years, blogging as we know it has considerably grown in clout and influence, although not exponentially.  Yes, only a small percentage of the population has access to our blogs and the information we post on them, but that percentage grows each year, and with it our power to influence these people.  And with more and more people recognizing the place of blogs in society, the more we are encouraged to be more responsible with the information we carry because they can greatly affect anyone reading them.

Much has been said about the power of blogging.  And, I hate to sound too cliche but I guess we know this already:  with great power comes great responsibility.  Sure, blogging is a tool for self-expression and has enabled people to publish thoughts who may have never seen print, but with our rising audience and growing reputation, I guess we need to re-think the purpose of our blogging.  We’ve seen blogs raise concern over a wily writer, voice out customer concern over a certain product, or even help people in need.  And with that kind of power to influence government, corporations and individuals, don’t you think it’s rather daunting if that very same power is harnessed for selfish motives?

Look, no one’s telling you to stop writing or blogging.  You’re just being asked to write responsibly, like asking someone to act civil in public.  Blogs aren’t diaries anymore.  They’ve become a part of mass media, a tool for information, an agent of change.

While blogging and journalism aren’t equals, our responsibility to the people with the information we provide are more than enough to urge us to take full responsibility with our words.  Ethics, after all, isn’t mutually exclusive to the media.

Blogging and Politics
Barely a week after the Teodoro incident, another one mildly “rocked” the entire Blogosphere, ushered by the birth of one controversial individual’s blog:  Jun Lozada.

Many have differing perceptions about Sir Jun’s person.  Some say he’s a light in the dark, a true Filipino who went against the flow and risked his life to expose corruption in the government.  Some, on the other hand, are quite cynical about his motives, saying that he was also part of this “corrupt system” therefore he doesn’t have the right to criticize it.

Suffice to say, Jun’s blog was met with many qualms and criticism during its launch.  Some say they’re not interested in his blog, while others still see this as just a mere publicity stunt for Jun.  What I don’t get is why, seemingly, Jun is being denied of his right to own a blog, to publish his thoughts, to express himself.  Isn’t this the same guiding principle where we base our rights to blog in the first place?

I don’t know, but I greatly took offense over these elitist views, especially because I’m part of the group that ushered in the birth of Jun’s blog.  At the onset, Jun’s blog doesn’t claim to be anything heroic or messianic in the first place.  Just like any other blog, it’s meant to publish his thoughts and reach out to possibly millions of readers, especially the youth, whom he does these things for.

Why feel so threatened about the entrance of Jun’s blog in the blogosphere?  Have we suddenly become an exclusive party who decides who can and cannot blog?  If that is so–and it seems like it–then those who are weary of Jun’s blog have no difference with the government or the capitalists or the opportunists who have nothing to care about but themselves.

Blogging and Literature
I’m quite passionate about blogging and, quite frankly, who shouldn’t be?  As a future media practitioner, I see the potential in blogging as a mass communication tool that can greatly etch its mark in society.

However, when one scans recent local publications and literature, not much is said about blogging as a communication tool.  Mainly on the technical side.  It is in this light that I aim to provide literature about blogging, its effects in society, its role as a mass medium.  Yes, I’m planning to take up blogging as a topic for my undergraduate thesis, although I’m still not sure of the specific topic.  These recent incidents coupled by a lot more from recent years have triggered me to re-evaluate the role of blogging in society.

I’ll keep you posted about this one.  Hopefully it grows wings and take flight.  =)

This is my entry for the Philippine Issues Writing Project.

17 Responses to “Blogging Issues”
  1. [splice] says:

    And with more and more people recognizing the place of blogs in society, the more we are encouraged to be more responsible with the information we carry because they can greatly affect anyone reading them.

    Ah, but of course, that’s based on the premise, real or imagined, that the people are gullible enough to take everything else hook, line and sinker. That’s like treating readers as idiots. That’s like treating readers as not having their balls, or brains, whichever you prefer, to think for themselves.

  2. The Philippine Issues Writing Project Summary, Prize Winners Announced | Filipino Voices says:

    […] Oliver Geronilla – Tongue In Cheek? Fitz – The State of Financial Literacy in The Philippines JM Tuazon – Blogging Issues Coy – Video on Checkpoints During Rallies Legally Inclined – The Most Harmful Provisions of All […]

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