Mass media exist to serve Filipinos, not indulge their fantasy entitlement to “press freedom”

Now that the worst Yellowtard nightmare has transpired — the ascent to power of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — mass media “activists” are on edge. They now engage in preemptive fear mongering that the Marcos administration will be coming down hard on the industry which, you guessed it, heralds the start of their much-anticipated “attack on press freedom” (or so we keep getting told). Well perhaps it is high time that the media be attacked — specifically taking them to task for a blanket immunity from prosecution for inappropriate, even criminal, behaviour that they had granted themselves over the last three and a half decades and now rabidly defend.

Just like Filipinos have come to realise that “freedom” is not the be-all-end-all that guarantees them prosperity, it has also come to light recently that a “free press” delivers nothing much as far as anything really relevant to the average Filipino goes. That the Yellowtard and communist camps that have all but appointed themselves the “guardians” of “press freedom” of the land find themselves today utterly buried by Marcos’s and his running mate Sara Duterte’s landslide electoral wins proves this. Despite the non-renewal of the franchise to broadcast of ABS-CBN happening under former president Rodrigo Duterte’s watch, Duterte sustained his public trust and approval ratings. Duterte went on to cap his term with the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC’s) blocking of Internet access to communist media channels Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoking of the articles of incorporation of “social news network” Rappler. Not much of an activist “movement” erupted following those either. All we got was a pathetic whimper from the discredited “thought leaders” of the Philippines’ “journalism” establishment.

It seems that, for many Filipinos today, “journalism” of the sort Yellowtards and communists “fight” and “hold the line” for is a hollow notion propped up by partisans with dishonest intents. Stories that make top headlines in mainstream news outlets don’t reflect what truly matter to ordinary Filipinos and, instead, are motivated primarily by partisan agendas. Small surprise that none of what constitutes the “plight” of embattled media organisations like Rappler, Bulatlat, and Pinoy Weekly today resonates with the broader public. They’ve essentially made themselves irrelevant on account of the stories they choose to prioritise in aid of their dishonest agendas.

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A fine balance needs to be struck between allowing mass media outlets reasonable freedom to contribute to a healthy public discourse and holding them accountable for noise and degenerate content they deliver to our screens. This may require publicly funded mass media networks that are mandated to produce and air content that is of true service to the public unencumbered by the financial and political goals of privately-held for-profit media organisations. The national interests need to be upheld and necessarily weigh larger than the interests of private enterprise. The idea that “press freedom” trumps all that, as we are lead to believe by its cheerleaders such as Nobel “Peace Prize” laureate and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, should be given serious reevaluation.

The late former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once spoke about the divisiveness of Philippine media in a speech given during the annual convention of American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1998. According to Lee, “a wieldy partisan press helped Filipino politicians to flood the market place of ideas with junk”. Lee was referring to how the Philippine press before Martial Law enjoyed unrestrained freedom but failed the Filipino people. Lee added that the Philippine press “confused and befuddled the Filipino people so they could not see what their vital interests were in a developing country. And because basic issues like economic growth and equitable distribution was seldom discussed and were not tackled, the democratic system malfunctioned.”

Now that the government is headed by leaders who are not kept on a tight leash by oligarchs who own big media organisations, a rare opportunity has been opened to reform the anarchy that is today’s mass media landscape. Filipinos can thank outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte for getting the ball rolling. Under the watch of President Marcos Filipinos can now look forward to a regime that can truly keep mass media honest. As to fears that government could be in a position to abuse this power, there is, of course, social media where a true free market of ideas ensures that everyone is kept honest. No one organisation or camp can presume to be the final authority on what is the truth and what “facts” need to be “checked”.

22 Replies to “Mass media exist to serve Filipinos, not indulge their fantasy entitlement to “press freedom””

  1. “Well perhaps it is high time that the media be attacked…”
    Attack like verbal or physical attack on the press? Threat of violence or death on journalists because the government does not approve of what they report? The idea to “attack” the media while a new administration is coming in sounds like an attempt to retaliate on some imagined offense which is really a bad and awful idea.

    The apparent expression of jubilance and exultation in the article because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decided to revoke Rappler’s license to operate is an affront to all freedom loving people considering the importance of the fourth estate in a democratic country like ours. How can one, absence the feeling of revenge because of hate, express delight on another party’s unfortunate fate simply because it was doing its job?

    If there is a legal action and reasonable case against news outlets or sites like Rappler, accountability and proper remedies should be had before a court of justice. An appearance to resort to underhanded tactics to stifle the press is never a good thing.

    You don’t act like a cheering squad on the sideline when injustice rear its ugly head. If you celebrate in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

    And citing Lew Kuan Yew as paragon of an enlightened mind with regard to press freedom? Hellloooo?!!!! Singapore is a one-party state that is completely totalitarian in makeup. Lee Kuan Yew, who’s been strictly sensitive to negative opinion and criticism was never a fan of media. Do not include a notorious media oppressor to the discussion about press freedom. We have had our share of muzzling, suffocating and suppressing the media during martial law years through devious, dishonest and corrupt schemes and we know what happened back then.

    In this time of alternative facts and fake news, the only thing standing in the way between tyranny and democracy is a free press. ?

    1. Russia, China and North Korea are brutal examples. They curtailed and censored freedoms. China and Russia are authoritarian regimes but North Korea is totalitarian state. Under Marcos Martial Law, freedoms were suppressed.

      1. That’s exactly what Benign0 wants. When we read between the lines we quickly notice that he deeply hates Filipinos!!! He wants them to suffer hard!!! Such malignant narcissist can’t resist to authoritarian “””leaders””” like the Marcoses and Duterte. A typical case of ‘I MADE IT IN THE WEST, AND NOW IT’S TIME TO SEE MY PEOPLE GETTING PUNISHED FOR THAT THEY DID TO ME!!’
        Did benign0 return in the Philippines to enjoy the Duterte’s “war on drugs”, the Billed Billed Billed Project, the hard core lockdown, the flat economy, the face shield mandatory, the alcohol ban, etc. ?????

        We know the answer already.

        1. Nice ad hominem you got there.

          I wonder what kind of Filipinos you love? Those who are foolish, gullible, and easily manipulated on whom to hate and whom to love by just a simply whim? With your logic, Filipinos would never suffer if they embrace mediocrity, right?

          We know the answer already.

      2. Freedom can be suppressed by a state if the alternative is civil war. Why demand freedom to smoke when you know cancer cells have already been detected in your lungs? China grew from an international nobody to become the 2nd largest economy overtaking Japan. Whereas the Philippines never graduated from its internal insurgency issues, in particular the NPA rebellion. Should the government allow the ISIS to spread their cancerous ideology in the South for the sake of this notion of “freedom of speech”?

        Filipinos should choose between freedom to open their mouths vs. assurance their mouths get fed (economic progress and stability).

        Words are alive. Look at how Elon Musk’s tweets can rock the stock market. For a country, credit rating and international perception on stability are crucial for economic growth; a careless statement by Ressa can damage an entire nation disrupting the lives of 100+ million people who need stable jobs and food on the table.

        The government already has its own self-correcting mechanisms against abuse in authority. We do not need a destabilizing Rappler broadcasting Pinoy stench overseas to dissuade and scare investors intending to pump money into the economy.

        1. Discipline is more important than freedom. A key to success and progress. We need strongman leader like PBBM.

        2. Zaxx,

          China did not need freedom and western democracy… its discipline, economy, progress and authoritarian regime remained and stayed here to this day since Han dynasty in Ancient China.

          Western and USA lapdogs, except Russia, practiced too much freedom and democracy.

        3. Actually it’s interesting how differently 3 quintessentially authoritarian countries played their cards. China ran their economy like an aggressive visionary mega-corporation, Russia ruled over their huge estate like a bullying mafia operating a gas station, while North Korea ran their isolated state like a maximum security prison / penal colony.

          Authoritarianism only really works well for the populace if those in power are benevolent dictators with genuine concern for the common good, in contrast to self-indulging greedy thugs. China and Singapore are the success stories, the flowers among the thorns.

        4. Nope. Wrong. Freedom is more important than discipline else you get China and Russia. Discipline being more important is mass-delusion when all the richest countries are freer.

          Come to think of it, it seems Singapore never exists. ?

          And those richest countries that you’re referring to? They all have discipline. They all have responsibility. None of these are present in modern Pinoy society.

          You have shown YOUR mass delusion which is “freedom is more important” because what you actually meant is “freedom to do whatever you liked”. Funny you say about how “freedom is more important” when you spend time eating pagpag on a shitty squatter w/o any sense of discipline and responsibility.

        5. “Freedom can be suppressed by a state if the alternative is civil war.” – zaxx
          Says who, Saddam Hussein? Hitler?

          You have to come up with an example that will clearly support that declaration. If you are referencing that with the Philippines, you’re going the opposite way. Yes, there are efforts to suppress freedom not because there was a threat of civil war but because the government is threatened by the very freedom itself: the freedom of speech.

          You don’t suppress freedom for fear of civil war because Maria Ressa wrote something negative about you. That is not how democracy works.

        6. “Nope. Wrong. Freedom is more important than discipline else you get China and Russia. Discipline being more important is mass-delusion when all the richest countries are freer.”

          You’ve got to be joking. Look at Finland and Norway, those 2 have full democracy ratings according to democracy index, they are truly free yet they are very disciplined. Proof of that is being included in the list of safest places from gun violence crimes in the world despite having high level of gun ownerships

  2. @JuanLuna:

    Are you suggesting that Rappler be exempted from compliance with the law? Is that your thinking? Yes or No?

    If Rappler wants to operate as a corporation shouldn’t they like everyone else obey the law, follow and observe what is the accepted norm in their practice of their profession of journalism?

    See how Rappler is so dishonest:

    – Duterte falsely claims CIA funds Rappler

    “Contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s assertion, Rappler is 100% Filipino-owned, and the CIA is not one of its funders”

    – NED et. al.: The CIA’s Successors and Collaborators

    “When a scandal in the 1980s revealed the CIA’s 35 years of international manipulations, President Ronald Reagan established the National Endowment for Democracy as a more discreet and less controversial instrument. It had the same purpose – to destabilise unfriendly governments by funding the opposition.”

    In an article “US-funded media firms here campaigning for Robredo”, Bobby Tiglao of The Manila Times, identifies five news websites which have been receiving funding, and the respective amounts, from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) for years:

    – Rappler P40.9 million;
    – Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), P40.1 million;
    – Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), P50.5 million;
    – VERA Files, P22.4 million; and
    – MindaNews, P13.4 million.

    You can verify the above claim in the NED’s website. Search results for Organization Name.

    Read and weep:

    1. @JuanLuna:
      Are you suggesting that Rappler be exempted from compliance with the law? Is that your thinking? Yes or No?

      1. @Mr.Luna: Your short answer does not jive with your long rant in an earlier post. If that is so, what were you thinking exactly…

        1. @Mr.Luna: Your short answer does not jive with your long rant in an earlier post. If that is so, what were you thinking exactly…
          The question required a yes or no answer, so I have to respond accordingly. What I think exactly? You have read my “long rant”, so I expect you understood it.

      2. You sided with being dilawan and anti-Marcos… period… you supported Rappler for TOO much freedom…

  3. Rappler is all charged up about “press freedom” when all Filipinos want is freedom to press charges.

    Unless Ressa is truly made to pay for illegally operating a media mafia for foreign interests while circumventing rules, Filipinos are the real victims of injustice here.

    Your dear Bongbong Marcos did his very first political move. HE ABOLISHED THE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION!!!! I forgot the funny reason he gave for that but it can only bring great things for your ex country you care so much about. Wasn’t it a great move full of love and respect for the citizens of the Philippines? There is no way a cute guy like Marcos Jr and his cronies can possibly steal money to the country. That will never happen!!

    1. Someone here didn’t watch the news fully and put it into out of context for some reason. All he does is just a minor re-adjustment. You only saw the word “abolishing”, you just decided to go panic mode. Geez, man.

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