Tuesday, May 10, 2005

bloggers beware!

I received a message from my friend Batjay about a newstory of a Singapore student who may be facing legal consequences over a public blog containing
defamatory statements.
This made the student, who is currently completing his Masters' degree in the United States to close his blog after he was threatened with legal action by A*Star (Agency for Science, Technology and Research) who stated that while it is for "diversity of views" still found the contents of the blog beyond what was acceptable. Read the story here

I am not aware if we have anything in the court dockets that concerns articles in blogs to this nature or something else. That would be along the turf of the Sassy Lawyer and La Vida Lawyer, Marvin Aceron. Assuming that there are no cases yet filed, I guess, the legalities concerning blogs are still unfamiliar territory to Philippine courts. Hence, Filipino blogging is still very much fair game.

As I have said in my interview with Ajay in that article she did featuring my blog, I do not believe in censorship as it is counter-productive and stifles the creativity of an
individual. However, I also leave it to the good judgment of the writer, yes, even of a blog, to know what to write and what not to. To paraphrase
Dean Alfar
in his eloquent speech last Saturday at the iBlog summit held in UP, that once one puts up a blog, one owes it to his/her readers to come up with intelligent content in one's writing. Let's face it, a blog is part of a public domain and hence, we shall be accountable to what we say in our blogs.

I am a supporter of free speech but only when the writer/speaker focuses on ideas. To me, resorting to name calling and character bashing is a cheap shot and has no place in an intelligent discourse. I guess, the rule of thumb is, stick to the issue! Leave the name calling to people who are short sighted and have nothing to hold on to with their arguments. Arguing with them is an exercise in futility. It would be a lot better to pick up your guitar and sing rather than engage them to a lengthy, circular and useless debate.

21 comments:

transience said...

this is very interesting, rolly. in the states, figures are rising among those who've been fired because of blogging.

rolly said...

transcience yes, I've read a couple of those articles. Scary huh? Well, if I know how slow the Philippine courts are in deciding cases, I may still have time to save some money for the litigation. haha

BatJay said...

dito sa singapore, naaawa lang ako doon sa mga sumisibol pa lang na gustong mag express ng sarili nila. di pa sila nagsisimula may nagawang example na agad on what will happen if you say something they don't like. siyempre kailangan din ng discipline para talagang factual ang mga sinasabi mo. pero kung ganyan naman na parating may nasa likod mo na sisita parati sa iyo eh hindi rin maganda.

bayi said...

Singapore is not known to be a place where the expression of contradictions is tolerated. When the opposition leaders made some statements the leaders didn't like, they were hounded into bankruptcy via defamation suits.

The same story was posted by Zuco on April 26th this year under "Litigious Republic". In response to my comments, he said this was the politics of dialectics, Singapore style.

Makes us appreciate the little freedom we have so far. I wonder how long our little precious freedom will last though.

rolly said...

batjay YEs, censorship stifles creativity talaga. I wonder what would have happened to the world if everything was censored. Maybe our concept of the universe would still be that the earth is the center of the universe and that the sun, together with other planets revolve around it.

Bayi I appreciate the freedom that I have. I won't be a happy man had I been suppressed all the time. But still, I'd ask bloggers to censor themselves. Write within the bounds of decency and stick with the issues. It's when an argument that's gone personal that I shy away from. But if it's an argument about ideas, I am all for it. what does one get from calling the other party names? it doesn't help his/her arguments, right?

TEACHER SOL said...

I am a Teacher Consultant in a nationwide Professional Writing Organization of teachers here in the US...I feel bad for that student. We always say, like what I've said in Ajay's interview to me with Tito Rolly, censorship would kill the writer in us.

TEACHER SOL said...

TITO ROLLY, I'm still fixing my DIGITAL BOOK, so visit me in my blogspot site. Visit me @ http://www.teachersol.blogspot.com

Cerridwen said...

I believe in freedom of speech and everyone's right if used sensibly and not abused... :)

rolly said...

Teacher Sol Yes, I think we share the same sentiment re freedom of expression. No wonder, I couldn't make heads or tails over the site. Okay, I'm going to make the necessary adjustment. Thanks for informing me.

Cerridwen Yes, I, too, am not particularly comofortable with censorship. However, I am in a high school and am dealing with minors. The best I can do is to supervise them.

watson said...

Hello Tito Rolly! Yes, we do have freedom, but this does not mean we can do whatever we want. Of course, freedom of speech is something we bloggers in the Philippines are currently have more of (as we've noticed); perhaps it's because of culture?

pepseeh said...

those people are just jealous of the people because what they say hurts them. tsk.

at least, entertainment isn't (and very well shouldn't be) stifled.

bing said...

hi mr rolly, sad fate for that stude but as bloggers we all have to brace ourselves and be ready to whatever our writings take us... and we really have to be cautious,too, unless one is really decided to take the aims and the consequences.

rolly said...

Pepseeh Interesting theory.

Bing aka Juliet Yes, it's up to the blogger's sense of decency whether to blog something or not that may be construed as derigatory. And yes, a blogger should be "man" enough to face the consequences of what he/she writes about.

kayli said...

Hi Rolly! I believe in freedom of expression but with freedom comes discipline and commitment and I think that is what it wanted to convey to that blogger.
For others it would be very difficult to understand what Singapore stands for in terms of media and freedom of expression. I just look on how Singapore is in the international community and the goodness and progress its government have provided to its citizens.
Singapore is a small country with diverse cultures and races. The way its government handles its management is unique to it that would seem different for other countries/people to accept/comprehend. The fact that it became a first country in a shorter period is a testament on how good it was handled.
I may look "sipsip" but the Singapore government have given me and my family so much that I think this country is doing its best for its people nevermind if they say freedom of speech is "censored". what's important is the people live with dignity.

Luchie

kayli said...

Hi Rolly! I believe in freedom of expression but with freedom comes discipline and commitment and I think that is what it wanted to convey to that blogger.
For others it would be very difficult to understand what Singapore stands for in terms of media and freedom of expression. I just look on how Singapore is in the international community and the goodness and progress its government have provided to its citizens.
Singapore is a small country with diverse cultures and races. The way its government handles its management is unique to it that would seem different for other countries/people to accept/comprehend. The fact that it became a first country in a shorter period is a testament on how good it was handled.
I may look "sipsip" but the Singapore government have given me and my family so much that I think this country is doing its best for its people nevermind if they say freedom of speech is "censored". what's important is the people live with dignity.

Luchie

rolly said...

Luchie I hear what you're saying and I agree completely. I have said many times that together with freedom is responsibility. Freedom cannot be absolute. It should be within the bounds of decency and morality. What is decent and what is moral may depend on the person. I guess, the gauge would be that it should not be harmful to oneself and to another.

JJ Disini said...

I think about 70% of Singaporeans live on public housing and this student was probably studying in the US on a government scholarship. So, it's easy for the Singaporean government to control bloggers.

In other countries, governments don't enjoy the same leverage when it comes to their citizens. In places like ours where nationals thrive *in spite* of government, I don't think there's much they can do to stop bloggers from expressing their views.

Luchie said...

Dear Rolly, expressing views and stating derogatory statements in entries in ones blog are 2 different things.
"With greater freedom comes with greater responsibilities".

Luchie said...

oh i thought i would be writing a letter, sorry for the dear. regards to your wife.
and just to inform you that my daughters read the comments here that is why we kept on coming back. they are so amused of the last commenter's comment. but everybody has opinions of their own. we respect that.

rolly said...

jjdisini Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming and commenting. I am just glad I have the freedom to say what I want to say in my blog. Anyway, I don't have any intention of making derogatory remarks anyway.

I was wondering though. What if I was employed in a company and was using company computers, would they have the right to censor my posts? rfter all I am using company time, equipment and electricity?

BTW, i haven't personally congratulated you on the success of your blogging summit. More power to you.

Luchie How's the bakasyonista? I'm sure you're enjoying every minute of it.

I'm happy to learn that even your daughters come to read and enjoy the comments here. I hope they enjoyed the entries, too. haha

Elia Diodati said...

Greetings from the Singapore blogosphere. ED

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