Philippines: Reflections on blogging

Solar power teaches journalism in the premier state university of the country. While he appreciates the potential of blogging in the democratization process, he underscores the need to filter information from the internet:

“These developments can be seen as empowering for people who want to use the Internet to get their message across to global online users. On the other hand, this situation implies that just about anybody can upload Internet content…The deluge of information on the Internet is not necessarily welcome news, as online users are exposed not only to false and misleading data, hoaxes and even fluff.”

His views on the relationship between blogger and journalist:

“It must be stressed that not all blogs can be considered journalistic outputs, in the same way that not all bloggers are journalists….It is imperative therefore for a blogger to know the principles and standards of journalism before calling himself or herself a journalist.”

Torn and Frayed in Manila on why blogging has little impact on Philippine politics:

“I think it will be a long time before blogs manage to muscle their way into the trapo (traditional politics)-dominated world of Philippine politics (or British politics for that matter). The leading Philippine political blogs reach a tiny part of an English-speaking elite (itself a minute fraction of the electorate) and I doubt whether they can even claim to have much of an impact on the political agenda. The many excellent Philippine blogs have made a huge and ever increasing contribution to Philippine intellectual life, but I can’t see blogging winning a Philippine election any time soon.”

This post generated an interesting comment which clarifies that universal internet connection will not necessarily mean increased political participation:

“Assuming all Filipinos had an Internet connection tomorrow, will that solve issues of political participation by the poor majority? No, because other social and political cleavages exist that act as barriers to collective political action. Things like the use of English as the main language of the medium–this is not an issue for countries like the US or Malaysia, for that matter, where the Internet acts to mitigate class, gender and ethnic differences, allowing people to use it to cooperate and mobilize for political purposes.”

My Liberal Times identifies the reasons why Filipino politicians don’t blog:

1. Cyberpolitics remains underdeveloped;
2. Political culture doesn’t favor blogging;
3. Politics is highly personalized, not issue-based;
4. Blogging doesn’t make strategic sense for politicians.

Peter Lavina has an additional reason:

“Maybe another important reason is the fact that many politicians simply cannot write. They talk in kilometric English but have difficulty in putting them down on paper in a simple way.”

A Nagueño in the Blogosphere believes “most politicians don’t even know what blogging is, and the huge potential it represents.”

Far from Neutral disagrees with some of the arguments raised by My Liberal Times:

“But the real reason politicians won’t blog boils down to one word: trust. Nobody trusts politicians. How can they? We’ve had centuries to learn not to trust those in power. You’re a politician? I automatically don’t trust you. Career politicians aren’t about public service, but self service.”

Out of my mind is one of the few bloggers who became a columnist for a mainstream national newspaper. Adarna’s Attic explains she has to write in English so that it can be understood by her ‘international blogger comrades’. Newsstand on someone he met at a book fair: “We had recognized each other in the real world because we blog.”

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