BY PET MELLIZA, The Beekeeper
In deference to the good Gov. Arthur D. Defensor, Sr., yours truly is suspending write ups on Team Pagbag-o, the caboodle charting the path towards “pagbag-o” for the province and its 1.7 million constituents, and is composed of, namely: the Four Sirens of the Apocalypse, Dr. Jekyl & Hyde, and Madam Laptop.
The first major achievement of Team Pagbag-o is to bully and bump off the functioning, effective and incumbent information officer Mary Lao and install in her stead Mr. Hyde, the man kicked out from a major Manila daily for, of all things, plagiarism, the fact known throughout the local media community.
But I will resume after completing the processing of my retirement papers. That’s a promise.
I have been a distant participant in the media world for nearly a decade since I dipped my hands into lawyering.
The call of the media world for members to carry the torch to light the way and inform people has become irresistible especially nowadays. As I plod deeper into the world of lawyering, the more it becomes clear that this profession and journalism are just close cousins. One complements the other.
A lawyer has to fight for justice and truth; a journalist worth his/her salt is called likewise to carry that obligation as these are crucial in promoting the right of the people to be informed and participate in decision making process, that in turn, safeguards democracy.
Here, the media person and a lawyer as participant in history and catalyze ushering popular action is inseparable.
It was the media, TV and radio particularly, which made the clarion call and mobilized tens of thousands of Filipinos that toppled the dictator Marcos in 1986, EDSA 1.
It was the media, spiced up by the “text” revolution, that brought hordes of angry Filipinos to assemble in EDSA and led them to Malacañang to drive Pangulong Erap out in January 2001, EDSA 2.
Elsewhere, it was the media that mobilized people who toppled the hated dictator Ben Ali of Tunisia just in January of this year. And as of this writing, Egyptians in their hundreds of thousands continue to storm the streets of Egypt, and some of them having already captured military tanks and trucks in the process, to oust dictator Husni Mubarak.
The rulers of Egypt restricted the radio and TV from broadcasting the incident but the internet and satellite phones keep the communication lines between the mass protest and the rest of the world flowing.
In the end, it will still be the people that shall decide which political course to go. State controlled media, for example in the Philippines as elsewhere in the world, also performed its sublime duty of keeping the obvious from sight, suppressing facts. The ruling power’s media have the obligation to protect the bosses, thus, spread disinformation, even lies, or divert public attention from the crisis.
The dominant media in the time of Marcos considered criticisms “bad news”, thus, their propensity to flood the information highway with “developmental” news which was “good”. In one turning point, workers struck in La Tondeña in 1978 and the riot police, as a matter of course, rioted to disperse the strikers. That incident was reported only in handbills, the “mosquito” or alternative press then, and very few knew of the first trade union strike under the Marcos’ dictatorship, signal of the start of a series of labor protests that grew stronger by the years until the dictator toppled.
The winds of democracy is sweeping the Middle East, notorious for its rulers who are puppets of Western powers, particularly, the US of A and the European Union. These rulers have piled up wealth as reward for letting loose Western multi-national companies to rape and pillage the land.
The rulers remain in power through repression, brute force with the use of armaments manufactured by their foreign masters.
For decades the poor, the overwhelming majority, simply suffered in silence but not for long as shown by Tunisia that oppression and exploitation don’t last forever and will surely come to an end once people realized their collective power to chart their own destiny.
The US-controlled media, as shown by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, have become as irrelevant as George W. Bush, Jr., who taught us the doctrine that the world is divided into two, the “they” who are, of course, terrorists, and the “us” who are, always for sure, for democracy.
The terrorist versus democracy formula of bush has no more sting. The media and the peoples of Tunisia and Egypt are showing that.