I don’t have much to say about the Cebu Press Freedom Week activity, except that I would have preferred one that is less celebratory and more inward-looking and honest. So I would rather tackle freedom in general and its twin, responsibility.
We are in a period that is the exact reverse of the one after martial law was declared by Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 2009. Today, freedom is in excess, especially with the advent of new technology like the internet. Blogs and ideas-sharing websites have proliferated, and the tendency for abuse is real.
Professional journalists are guided by a code of ethics and standards that is virtually similar from one media outlet to another, and whether one is in the Philippines or in other countries like the United States. But no such codes guides bloggers and opinion spewers in, say, the internet.
Even websites and blogs run by professional journalists are finding it difficult to rein in the abusive tendencies of some comments posters. Maligning a person and use of profanity and other abusive language often accompany sane readers’ views and the journalist must be alert at all times to ensure that decency continues to become the norm in running such website or blog.
Indeed, we are in a very complicated period, but the guideline has remained simple and basic. Civilized conduct is needed now more than ever.