It has been one week after the rainy incident where one of our school’s barristers got caught on national television for trying to get his car past a flooded street. He trended on twitter worldwide. He had several Facebook hate pages that grew by the thousands in a matter of hours. He almost got better attention than a historical resignation in Philippine Senate.
A lot of stuff had been written for and against him and his sad situation. Among the interesting thoughts generated by the incident involved how new media can be so powerful that it ought to be exercised more responsibly. Some gave the opinion that the television network should not have aired it in the first place. Also, if the crew was aware of the flood’s depth they should have stopped the student from driving further instead of getting his act on camera in order to have some human interest story for the evening news.
More importantly, free speech, a concept that our forefathers fought for, has gone wild in the 21st century. Dean Pangalangan said in his column, “People have long made nasty, personal and low blow comments on other peoples’ foibles, but the new media has made it easier to disguise schadenfreude as communal outrage. You can spread your vile with more people, much faster, and make it linger much longer and, if you wish, with the benefit of anonymity.”
It is in the light of today’s freer media that professional journalism is better appreciated because it can either empower the people to positive action or have their more evil selves unleashed through public comments identified or not.
James Anthony Mina #8