smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Blackout

I guess benign0 beat me to it. Reacting to abs-cbn’s news blackout of the Ces Drilon abduction, I mean. Myself, the gist of my reaction was this: Oh? So it’s okay for abs-cbn to suppress news, and howl bloody murder when others – for security reasons not terribly unlike those invoked by abs-cbn – ask for a similar embargo?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why abs-cbn felt it necessary to ask for an embargo – and of course I hope Ces is okay (I’m optimistic, in fact, that she will be ok); I am merely commenting on the apparent double standard in effect. The safety of one of their own justifies denying the public access to a newsworthy event; but the safety of others doesn’t?

On a related note, I was also struck by this unintended but no less blatant exercise of power to control what the public knows. It reminds me of a quote from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a game I used to play:

As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth’s final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

Commissioner Pravin Lal
“U.N. Declaration of Rights”

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Filed under: journalism, media, , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. […] of these, it’s the last that concerns us, here. As smoke […]

  2. Bencard says:

    ces drilon is like a soldier who voluntarily ventured into a killing field fully knowing that he/she could be captured or killed. the only difference is that she was doing it for her employer (and, ostensibly, for her tv viewers). i’m sure she would not be the last news personnel abs-cbn would send to mindanao doing what she was doing. i don’t believe her kidnappers would sign a binding contract obligating themselves never again to kidnap an abs-cbn employee. of course, no amount of money is too much to save a life but is it worth playing the devil’s game when ‘winning’ is actually a defeat?

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