Monday, December 6, 2010

(#4) To be FREE – from restraint and from harassment – a balancing act

Had I not posted my 3rd blog entry a day before I read this article [1] (about Tim Yap’s tweets re PDI journalist who reported that a winner hit the much-coveted Grand Lotto Jackpot WAS THE WINNER), I definitely would have written how riled I was.

The incense-inspiring tweets:

“Eto na, PCSO confirms one winner—his name is Miko Morelos. He gets to take home the P741.2M peso Grand Lotto 6/55 Jackpot! #magtagokana!”

“And guess what? Miko Morelos is on twitter! @mikomorelos I already sent a request. He protected his tweets already. #afraidforhislife.”

What further infuriated me was this statement:
“I tweeted those messages without any malice or ill intentions.”

Really now? Seriously? Hello! He even said, #magtagokana!”, and #afraidforhislife”. RES IPSA LOQUITOR. Sure, he made subsequent tweets to correct his mistake, and then he lamented that his followers only re-tweeted his erroneous tweets
[2] but he did not even delete the earlier literally life-threatening tweets. I prefer Facebook so I hardly ever tweet but even I know that you can delete a tweet[3].
I absolutely agree with Miko in
his article [4] that even if Tim Yap acknowledged his irresponsibility and apologized, the damage has already been done. It’s one thing to express an opinion but it’s another to knowingly put other people’s lives in danger - not just an imminent but a clear and present danger. And it’s not even just one life that is at stake here, but also the lives of the family and loved ones of “supposed winner”.

For me, what he did is even worse than libel because at least the latter only concerns reputation, which pales in comparison to one’s safety. So I don’t think that a civil case based on Art. 19, 26, 2176, and various damages would be enough to give justice to this patently reprehensible conduct.

I remember an OLA case handled by a former teammate about libel on the internet specifically on blogs and social networking sites. Our then SL said he personally doesn’t believe in libel in the internet, well, he doesn’t want it because he’s for free speech in the internet. I hold him in high regard but I respectfully disagree with him on this point especially because of the instantaneous and pervasive effects of the internet (e.g. cyberbullying) so all the more that the law should protect not only the good name but more importantly the very existence of its citizens. This is one field that the government must set a policy for. I’m not advocating the curtailment of the freedom of expression but our legislators must consider balancing these competing interests.

Entry No. 4


Maricris L. Real said...

Wow! An OLA applicant complaining about libel on the internet?? I guess this concern is becoming rampant even in the Philippines.

Phebean Belle "Phoebe" A. Ramos said...

My gawd! What was Tim Yap thinking?!! I guess he wasn't thinking at all, sheesh.