Once again, Martial Law has been declared in the Philippines, but this time it’s happening on social media. And the president has nothing to do with it.
In just the last few days, quite a few social media accounts have been suspended or shut down as a result of what is suspected to be mass reporting by individuals and groups that chose this route to counter criticism of the leaders they support or of political actions or opinions that they favor.
Social media has taken over the arena once monopolized by legitimate news outlets, many of which have shamelessly displayed their bias towards or against political figures of opposite leanings.
Unfortunately, the “cyber war” has zeroed in not on the message but on the messenger which defeats the very purpose of a democratic system that allows for a free flow of ideas and healthy debate.
In an ideal world, we all would be of the same mind, opinions and convictions, but that’s reserved for the ending of fairy tales.
There is a reason we have two-party or multiple-party systems, or elections and campaigns. There is a reason why debates happen in the halls of Congress. There is a reason we have a prosecution and a defense. There is a reason we have liberals and conservatives. Or Yellows and Reds.
Neither side of the political spectrum can impose its will on the other.
So why can’t we all get along? No, not to mean to have to agree on everything. Why can’t we focus on issues and debate them like we really care and not because we dislike a person or another?
Why do we have to resort to silence groups and people instead of engaging them in intelligent debate? Why can’t we agree to disagree?
Sure, when we choose to engage in social media, we all agree to abide by prescribed community standards. But as far as I know, stifling free speech is not one of those standards. It should never be.
Politikal Pinoy hopes that those standards are strictly adhered to not only by the users of social media, but those who manage and profit from it.