Monday, March 20, 2006

Media revolution and liberal societies

If interested in the much debated relationship between MSM, or main stream media, and what has come to be known as citizens’ journalism, don’t miss Monday’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer with its well-documented analysis by mainstream journalist Leo Magno. In the third of a four part special report, Magno presents a multitude of aspects and arguments of a seemingly endless debate.

Probably the only uncontroversial point is that blogs and podcasts (and the people behind them) have caused a lot of commotion in the traditional world of media. This is how Leo Magno puts it:

Blogs and podcasts are disruptive technologies. They arrive at the party, offer something new, start playing a new song and dance to a new beat, they tear the piñata down and before you know it, the tables have been overturned and the party will never be the same again. That party is traditional media -- television, radio and print.
In his report, the author also quotes extensively from an e-mail interview with me some weeks ago. I feel privileged to be introduced as “ a liberal thinker with his own podcast,” and I must confess that, at times, I feel that I should do more liberal thinking and podcasting than the many other things I get stuck with in my daily routine. But that’s another matter altogether.

As to blogging and podcasting and their contribution to liberalism and democratic governance, this is what I had to say:

Media are instruments of communication for the information and entertainment of the people. In a democracy, they play a crucial role in controlling government. Their existence, and also their freedom, is essential for liberal societies. Blogs and podcasts are new -- almost revolutionary -- media. I call them do-it-yourself media. Everybody with just a little technical infrastructure, basically not more than a PC and an Internet connection, can be his or her own publisher. This is a fundamental democratization of the media. It abolishes the so-called gatekeepers. In the traditional media, the gatekeepers, basically the editors and publishers, control what is published and what is not. This is no longer the case today.”

When I said that, I wasn’t thinking in my wildest dreams that a secretary in the Philippine cabinet would in the not too distant future accuse the most popular Philippine political blog of inciting to sedition for publishing the so-called Hello Garci tapes.

The mere thought that such information could be blocked in today’s media world is absurd - and outlandish.

tags citizens journalism

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Blogger rios del prado said...

Dear Dr. RM,

I’ve been very busy during the last couple of weeks because I have to catch up with the time I spent on the blog and podcast seminar. The House of Representatives is tackling the national budget for the past three weeks now and my boss needs my assistance quite badly. Please be informed that I have already changed my blog into I was supposed to edit my first blog site, its template, design, color, my photo, profile, etc., but something had gone wrong so the least that I could do was to change it. I also made a new blog for my organization of which I am the vice president ( but it is still empty yet. I am putting up one also for my boss, LP Congressman Rodriguez D. Dadivas ( and that starting this week I could post a blog for him. I’ll keep in touch.

4:03 PM  
Blogger peterlavina said...

Dr. Ronald,

The internet has grown to become such a powerful tool for citizen communicators that is it now rising to become the 5th Estate.
It would be difficult for governments, particularly repressive ones, to control it. The web is simply beyond the control now of any one such government.

An expat here in Davao has good words for our blog -

Daghang salamat,

Councilor Peter

10:06 PM  

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