Friday, August 04, 2006

The blogger and free speech

Why can we blog?
People blog because it is their way of "speaking their minds" through the web, and sharing it with others.
Blogging is an exercise. It is an exercise of one's constitutional right to free speech.
To be able to freely speak one's mind and express, is one that is guaranteed by our constitution.
Blogging thereofre is part and parcel of that plethora of rights protected by the constitution.
Section 4 ARticle III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that "No law shall be passed abriding the freedom of speech, of expression , or of the press, or the right of the people peacably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."
To a very large extent, you and I can blog because this action is protected by the constitution.
According to the constitution, the government is prohibited from passing a law that would abrige free speech.
Naturally, this freedom, freedom of speech, like other rights, is not absolute.
There are types of speech which is not protected (blogs that are libelous, obcene, and those that cannot be protected because it endangers the nation's survival or security). But we will discuss this later.
If you notice the section of the bill of rights I have cited above specifically mentions three manifestatons of freedom: speech, expression, and press.
When you blog, are you exercising the right to free speech, or free press?
Or is there a difference?
There are significant differences which I think you will have to take note as a blogger, and I will discuss this later on.
When I was doing my thesis on defamation, one authority said there's gotta be a difference between the right to free speech and free press, otherwise the fundamental law would be engaged in "constitutional redundancy" which is not the object of the framers of the constitution.
The right to free press, generally is the right to speak about political matters and the political state of a nation.
The right to free speech meanwhile, is generally non-political speech like commercial speech.
Another distinction between free speech and free press is that the right to free press is generally exercised by the members of the press.
Those newspaper guys who write about the political state of their societies, those are the people who invoke the right to a free press.
Those engaged in free speech are generally those who not belong to that catgeory of writers or bloggers exercising the freedom of the press.
So what are you? A blogger exercising the right to a free press, or a blogger exercising your right to a free speech?
That is why we encounter questions like: Are bloggers journalists?
What have these distinctions got anything to do with you as a blogger?
There is some animal called the "hierarchy of rights."
I'll discuss this in my next web log.
See you later...

1 comment:

grace said...

This is quite tricky, but why am I interested to comment on this? because I was once a journalist, trained to be a journalist, but ended up as a sick journalist! Quite a long story about my frustrations in Philippine journalism. A graduate in Mass Communication in Silliman University, but did not practice much as a journalist. I had been exposed to the media in my senior year and worked as a reporter in a local newspaper in Dumaguete but was very frustrated with the pay. Overworked and underpaid. I have high regards to journalists who stayed in their career and managed to climb up the hirarchy to the top as TOP JOURNALISTS or media personalities. Salute to them. I was just one of those young graduates who needed just like anybody else would need and wished just like anybody wished.. a good pay. In the wake of this reality, saw old reporters and young reporters in the same level, I came to ask myself.. would I stay in this battle field or should I try something else? I tried to be smart (so-to-speak) tried something else in a competitive world of sales.. ended up as professional sales rep of one of the leading drug companies in the country. Still not satisfied with it. Tried my luck in other countries and landed up as an executive secretary of an international company. But I was equipped with values of journalism as a backgrounder. I still got the "nose for news" in me. And there is something I have along the way. The core values of journalism. Critical analysis in every step of the way. Freedom of speech in blogging? I think its everyone's right but these days, the meaning of freedom of speech or press freedom is going out of control. Blogging is just one of the media to express one's self. But whether I write good or bad about the government? nobody cares, does any one? One thing I know is that it feels good to write! Publishing it on the web! Let everyone know about how you feel, think, see on any aspect on the planet. It's bloody good! Let's face it, technology changes the ideology.. But at the end of the day, who is doing the noble job? the reporters who risked their lives just to disclose the truths. I loathe to see them in courts sued by "famous personalities or politicians" just by merely doing their jobs.