“Press freedom” was killed by Filipino LAZINESS and not by the Philippine government

The so-called “Black Friday Defend Press Freedom” rally organised to re-package Rappler‘s corporate compliance issue into a “press freedom” issue turned out to be a mere fart in the wind. The rally, held at a Quezon City roundabout commemorating boy scouts who died in a plane crash, did not attract enough participants to fill even half of the memorial landmark’s circular space. This, however, does not stop the social media “influencers” who organised the event from continuing their screeching fits about the imagined “assault on press freedom” they insist is being perpetrated by the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The “proof” being used by these outrage faddists is none other than embattled “social news network” Rappler which stands accused of being in violation of a constitutional requirement that Filipino media companies be 100 percent Filipino-owned. According to these “activists”, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acted under the orders of the President himself. Just because they think so apparently served as their evidence that it actually is so. Thing is, even Inquirer columnist Randy David, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, wrote in his column today that he believes “it is counterproductive and unfair to accuse [the officers of the SEC] of being Duterte lackeys.” David further writes…

Having known some of them in their private capacities, I can say that, in terms of values and political inclinations, they have probably more in common with the journalists at Rappler than with Mr. Duterte’s solicitor general or justice secretary.

Winnie Monsod, David’s colleague at the Inquirer, also pointed out something markedly absent in all the public screeching of the “activists” that have rallied around Rappler

The investors in ABS-CBN and GMA-7 are passive investors, but the SEC thinks the investors in Rappler are more than passive because they have powers that the [Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs)] holders of ABS-CBN and GMA-7 do not have. That is what Rappler has to clarify to the SEC.

Rappler has some explaining to do that has nothing to do with “press freedom”. But because this is the Philippines, where “activism” mirrors the Juan Tamad archetype Filipinos have come to accept is a pillar of their cultural character, lazy thinking prevailed over critical thinking. Rather than apply a critical mind of the posturing of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa following the outing of what is, essentially, a failure in her stewardship of the company she heads, Filipino “activists” charged ahead with a brain-dead and obsolete advocacy.

Indeed, this is an opportune time for Filipinos to put under scrutiny the small set of “influencers” that seem to drive these waste-of-time political activities. According to a report published by Rappler (who else?) writer Bea Cupin, a key group of organisers of the “Black Friday” rally call themselves “Bloggers for Freedom”. But who are these bozos? Cupin’s “report” lists 59 of them…

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado
Tonyo Cruz
Dale Bacar
Marcelle Fabie
Myk Mykapalaran Cruz
Rod Magaru
Ely Valendez
Alex Lapa
Tess Termulo
Zena Bernardo
Jover Laurio
James Romer V. Velina
Ramon Nocon
Flow Galindez
Helga Weber
Mc Richard Viana Paglicawan
Raymond Palatino
Loi Landicho
Saul de Jesus
Karlo Mongaya
Ricky Rivera
Mark Will Mayo Magallanes
Eyriche Cortez
Julius Mariveles
Yusuf Ledesma
RJ Barrete
Dino Manrique
Peachy Tan
Rhadem Camlian Morados
Julius Rocas
Jon Limjap
Markku Suguerra
Jam Ancheta
Estan Cabigas
Enrico Dee
Acee Vitangcol
Stefan Punongbayan
Jesus Falcis
Hancel Reyes
Czarina Maye Noche
JM Mariano
Reginald Agsalon
John Clifford Sibayan
Jane Uymatiao
Johnn Mendoza
Carlos Celdran
Christian Melanie
Jann Medina
Carlo Arvisu
Inday Espina Varona
Eugene Alvin Villar
Melo Villareal
Brian Ong
Fritz Tentativa
Fitz Villafuerte
Tina Antonio
Mykel Andrada
Reynaldo Pagsolingan Jr
Renz Daniel de Vera

As someone who actively monitors the Philippines’ political buzz on social media, I can say that not too many of these names jump out as particularly noteworthy. For that matter, I’m surprised that many of these even regard themselves as “political bloggers”. Indeed, many of the names found in this list made names for themselves blogging about showbiz and lifestyle topics. Thus there is some level of intellectual dishonesty in the manner with which many of these “influencers” arbitrarily rebrand themselves to suit the occasion or, perhaps more to the point, to suit a juicy opportunity to climb the social ladder.

I have a Feedly app subscription to the RSS feeds of 23 bloggers I consider to be “political bloggers” primarily. These 23 bloggers collectively publish from 3 to 10 blog posts per day (not including the roughly 2 out of 5 days there are zero posts from all 23). The output of our assets contributing to Get Real Post and GR Pundit beats all 23 combined on volume most days. And we’re not even talking about quality yet.

You know what is really killing “press freedom” in the Philippines? It is not the Philippine government. It is Filipino indolence. The fact that the output of 23 of what I consider to be the most prolific and insightful Filipino political bloggers is easily dwarfed by the output of GRP says a lot about the flaccid resolve of Filipinos to give their mainstream media real challenge. Rather than articulate well-structured ideas in long form, the social media “influence” industry in the Philippines has become a wasteland of Twitter “activists”. This is the real reason their street rallies fail — because there is no substantial intellectual capital upon which to build real activism in the Philippines today.

If it is true that there is an “assault on press freedom”, where are the casualties? There are none. Even the most rabid Yellowtard would be hard-pressed to name even one “influencer” or “journalist” thrown in prison by the Duterte government. The fact is, the notion of an “attack on press freedom” is a fake advocacy.

It is amazing that in a country of 100 million, 59 obsolete bozos make up its society’s pre-eminent “blogging community”. Are there no others?

Perhaps the effort to be less lazy should start with none other than me. Rather than content myself with the lazy option of following the same 23 “bloggers” I’ve had on my Feedly account for years, I will need to mount extra effort to find those others. Filipinos will also need to re-evaluate the “thought leaders” they follow. The reason political discourse in the Philippines is so intellectually bankrupt does have something to do with these lazy “bloggers”.

Tama na, palitan na, now na.

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20 Comments on ““Press freedom” was killed by Filipino LAZINESS and not by the Philippine government”

  1. I do not know where to express my sentiments publicly without having my name publicized. I don’t want to be tagged as a persona non grata but I feel betrayed by Rappler.

    I have contributed articles to Rappler, and one of them was featured on Rappler’s section for “thought leaders”. I was very proud when they featured my article because my cause and purpose would be read by a wide audience, and I wanted them to get to know how it is like to be in the line of work that I (used to) do. An underlying theme in that article was also a call out to fellow Filipinos to find ways to unite in the midst of diversity. Pilipino para sa kapwa Pilipino.

    But upon learning that Rappler is technically owned by a foreign company, it seems like I allowed myself to be used by someone else instead, just to put the message of my article across. I feel used because a foreign media outlet took advantage of my voice without my knowledge, and this very same outlet made it look like they are one with my stand (given the nature of their “Thought Leaders” category). Pero yun pala, nakikisakay lang sila just for the sake of so-called social relevance.

    I don’t like the idea of them making all sorts of tirades against today’s problems and putting blame solely on the current administration mainly because they are financed by a foreign owner and they can pull out and flee the scene once they are bombed back, or do a public outcry saying their freedom of expression is being threatened, to think they don’t have legal claim to it in the first place.

    I look up to Rappler as a good social media platform where I can write and put my thoughts to public (via Rappler X), but had I known from the start that they are not purely Filipino in terms of ownership, I would have thought about things first. I may still have chosen to write for Rappler, or would have gone with another online media outlet instead.

    In essence, I was blindsided by Rappler. My freedom of expression was insulted too.

    1. Well, GRP is hosted overseas and its admins are based outside the Philippines as well. But we don’t pretend to be anything else other than a platform for publishing ideas and commentary. More importantly, we don’t owe anyone anything and, in so being, are not encumbered by vested interests outside of our site’s stakeholders. Our only loyalty is towards our readers whose intelligence we respect.

      My point is, specially in this day and age of porous borders, there is nothing inherently wrong with foreign ownership. It is just that Philippine law is clear on certain matters and the way Rappler CEO is handling the issue is intellectually dishonest. As you said, she betrayed her organisation’s stakeholders and is not taking personal accountability for her negligence as CEO.

      1. > ” there is nothing inherently wrong with foreign ownership.”

        I agree with this, especially when some of the industries here badly need new competitors (like the ISP business, stagnated by Globe and PLDT). Telstra (partnered with SanMig) might have made a splash, but as I’ve heard the Duopoly joined hands to take it down. Let’s just hope the Chinese ISP Duterte is talking about is not too rotten and can provide a competent alternative for people (esp outside of Metro Manila, palagi nalang bang sa MM ang development ng Pinas?).

  2. You call them bozos? How about you? At least they have guts to rally for what they believe in. They are not afraid of their lives and they are not hiding identities amidst the blatant criticisms and threats of duterte against media that criticize his administration.

    How about you, benigno? When are you going to man-up? Do you have blue-balls or something? You’ve been hiding for so long using that avatar of jimi hendrix as your photo in this website, which does not, in any way, related to what you are writing here since jimi hendrix was a musician and a singer. Not to mention his being drug addict and alcoholic when he was still alive. Except for his talent, he is not someone that anyone should admire as a person. You better watch out benigno! Maybe duterte or pnp general bato might consider in their wildest dreams to tokhang you without due process (as what they did to innocent victims of their drug war) just by using this jimi hendrix as your avatar.

    1. Such a floppy threat of sorts. Wishing that we’d be “tokhanged” or something reflects a lack of respect for people who differ from your opinion.

      1. NO ONE WISHED ANYTHING ON BENIGNO. THE COMMENT IS A WARNING OF WHAT SOMEONE MIGHT DO. AND A VALID ONE TOO, as Dueterte is prone to gutting people’s Constitutional rights to ‘DUE PROCESS’. I have been saying all along that when Dueterte comes for you people here @ GRP, it will NOT be as flippin meaningless as the 7,500 dead street-level drug-dealers lives are to those here @ GRP that are so quick to dismiss Dueterte’s orders as not even existing.

        “I WILL GIVE YOU A MEDAL….”, is an ACTUAL STATEMENT OF FACT !!! The fact that Dueterte NEVER made good on his word should NOT be a surprise, BUT I WANT MY MEDAL DANG IT !!!

    2. @PinoyCitizen: One big ad hominem and a slice of “tokhang” (did I spell it right?) fear mongering on the side. Not much else to work with.

      Precisely the point of my article. ????

      1. And here I just read in your other comment…

        > Our only loyalty is towards our readers whose intelligence we respect.

        Then again, he did state an attack with a pinch of fear mongering.

        I’m not putting you down or anything. I just thought that it could use an asterisk note or something.

        Like…

        > Our only loyalty is towards our readers whose intelligence we respect. *
        * Unless, through the comments you write, you have proven that you lack cognitive faculties to construct proper counter-arguments to the topic at hand.

        That might not be something a mod should say but… I guess it’s more honest?

      2. @RandomCitizen: Thanks! As a matter of fact guidance around what you mentioned (what the “asterisk” should point to) is already provided in points 2.2.4 through to 2.2.8 of this site’s Terms of Service.

    3. Spoken like a true Yellowtard. And yes, Yellowtards like you are the REAL bozos here.

      You call them bozos? How about you? At least they have guts to rally for what they believe in. They are not afraid of their lives and they are not hiding identities amidst the blatant criticisms and threats of duterte against media that criticize his administration.

      In case you don’t notice, that list also includes Jover Laurio, who even loves to mock those who disagree with her, especially the fact that she’s a vile, vicious, psychopath when she’s anonymous. Or perhaps you chose to ignore it because someone like Laurio suit your tastes. On Rappler’s part, when was violating the law is considered press freedom anyway?

      With your nonsensical, emotional outburst right there, all I can say is CONGRATULATIONS, you just keep on proving benign0’s point. If you think hurling labels and insults is the ONLY way to win an argument, the you need to seek help. No one’s gonna be convinced with that. If you’re just here to TROLL on this site, you’re wasting your time.

      My advice: take your shitposting to somewhere else.

    4. He’s too cowardly to make a coherent argument, so he resort to ad hominem and threats instead.

      Woefully disappointed. No wonder why people like Donald Trump became president because of people with that kind of thinking.

  3. You make a list of ‘INFLUENCERS’ that are completely IRRELEVANT, WHO CARES. A more relevant list would be of HO are the INESTIR/OWNERS of RAPPLER and if they are NOT FILIPINO citizens than you have a real story about how this Woman is masquerading as a PERSECUTION victim when she in fact violating the Law of the Land, eh ?

  4. What I see is stupid in the SEC requirement of 100% Filipino media ownership; it was placed there in the Cory Aquino 1986 Constitution, by the YellowTards, themselves Now that the 100% ownership Law is biting against these YellowTards: they are now demonstrating against it. Calling it:” a threat to Press Freedom”

    Why did they not repeal or change this 100% media ownership law, when they were in power ?
    More than 30 years, they were in power. Yet, they did not even bother to study the 100% media ownership law.

    You put a law, when it works against you, you cry : “Press Freedom”.

    If the 100% media Law would have worked against their political opponents. I doubt , if there would even be a whimper, from these YellowTards !

  5. I suddenly noticed some familiar names aside from Jover Laurio are Carlos Celdran, Tonyo Cruz, and UP professor Jesus Falcis who are nothing but a bunch of idiots.

    John Limjap is irrelevant, unfortunately. His ramblings came from that he experienced Martial law in a bad light. Still bitter about it until this day.

  6. Jesus H. Christ. One of these losers was a high school classmate, currently a facebook friend. One of those types who were born into comfort (eg got a car as a high school graduation gift, but hey it was the late 90s so you get the idea). He is a good person, but very one-sided when it comes to his opinions. Nothing, not even laid out facts will make him change his mind, because he is often validated by the peers he is surrounded with. Fucking sad.

  7. >>The so-called “Black Friday Defend Press Freedom” rally organised to re-package Rappler‘s corporate compliance issue into a “press freedom” issue turned out to be a mere fart in the wind.

    Yep, these mostly unheard-of “thought leaders” are better off being called UTOT Leaders.

    I wonder how many warm bodies they’ll get to join their next farting-time event. Aside from lazy thinking, looks like even bringing their butts from pt.A to pt.B is getting to be too much of a chore as well.

    Logic-devoid Yellow gas no longer attracts crowds the way they used to. Just hold your rallies in Facebook and spare yourselves of the public shame of your pathetic “shows of force”.

    1. More like how even simple things like “bringing their butts from pt.A to pt.B” is turned into a big “social media event” and an occasion for taking and tweeting selfies.

  8. we need to get rid of all media outlet to have press-freedom . get rid of all media journalist, they are all useless we need no information

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