A retired archbishop goes on national television to insinuate that there are highly placed villains in government who are dabbling in the underground gambling world that the present administration has pledged to eradicate. A senate hearing is called almost immediately.
The spokesperson of the judiciary issues a media statement to the effect that it has no money and that the courts won’t survive if the budget isn’t increased post-haste. He threatens that if congress fails to remedy the deficiency, judges would go on mass leave. The media loves the story and has a field day. Hours later, the president sets a meeting with the chief justice.
With these events in mind, I’d like to point out an obvious perplexity in national affairs: a communication gap exists between supposedly coordinate branches of government; between the civilian and relevant government agencies. And this abyss, this void of miscommunication, is filled by an unlikely hero, villain and observer: media. Pleas are brought to this ‘unbiased’ Fourth Estate, rather than the pertinent government agency involved, due to two contiguous theories: one, media is much more effective in shaming the agency into action; two, government enforcement is usually unavailing when the camera isn’t aimed at the would-be enforcers. Considering therefore that (a) attention on the individual or (b) national shame is required to enforce government action (perhaps as a cultural byproduct of our post-Iberian heritage), I propose that a national shaming mechanism be employed to spur government proactivity in order to supplement, and even validate, the actions of traditional media.
The “name and shame” strategy, utilized by the Human Rights Watch (but yet to be effectively used by the UN’s Human Rights Council), is presently international law’s solution to the enforcement of human rights norms. Coincidentally, this is the exact same strategy employed by Mon Tulfo’s radio show where complaints against local government officials and policemen are aired live, addressed, and resolved on a daily basis. Now that social media is becoming the norm in Philippine society, perhaps this, too, can be employed as a medium to “name and shame” public institutions and officials on a national scale. Truly, if a government requires national shame and attention in order for it to function properly, perhaps this need should be addressed by our own efforts through the veritable medium of social media. This push to “name and shame” would not simply be a matter of voluntary contributions on the part of individuals but rather a collective drive, enforced as a matter of sound national policy, spearheaded by NGOs in conjunction with social media outfits. I’m pretty sure that Facebook, YouTube and Twitter would enjoy the corresponding title of being ‘progenitors of third-world change.’ Think of the Pepsi Refresh Project, turned-upside-down, adapted by Filipinos for a truly Filipino cause. Perhaps, taken in this light, social media, in its proposed task of “naming and shaming” government ineptitude, might do some much-needed social good.
Please see all entries by the same author in this blog:
- #01, Telconopoly, June 16
- #02, Government 2.0, June 23
- #03, In Defense of Twitter, June 30
- #04, Google, Apple and Nokia, July 7
- #05, YouTube and Government, July 14
- #06, The Problem of ICT Quality Control, July 21
- #07, The Mac or the PC?, July 28
- #08, Kindle: Victor of the Ebook Wars, Aug. 2
- #09, Of Team Coco, Wowowee and Contracts, Aug. 12
- #10, Resuscitating Law Journals, Aug.14
- #11, Moot, Zuckerberg, et. al. v. The World, Aug. 19
- #12, Ground Zero of the Tech World, Sept. 1
- #13, Evolution, Sept. 9
- #14, Snapshots of Software as Intellectual Property, Sept. 13
- #15, The Smartphone OS Slugfest, Sept. 17
- #16, Social Media - A National Tool for Naming and Shaming, Sept. 21