There has been an ongoing war in Philippines Cyberspace. I call it the War of Opinion and Propaganda. It is nothing new, A look at human history will show that it has been going on for several decades and centuries. You will find it whenever and wherever political, social, business and personal interests are at play. The Roman Octavian — who later became Augustus — was aware of this. This is why Mark Anthony and Cleopatra were painted before the Romans as villain. This is also the reason why the Tudors portrayed the last Plantagenet King — Richard III — as the blackest villain in English History. This is the reason why the Roman Catholic Church had the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith or Congregatio de Propaganda Fide for missionary and defense of the Roman Catholic Church. Yes propaganda.
All media should be constantly fair and true but it is not. Things that are less than ideal shows up. The very war that brought Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines was caused by the competition between newspaper tycoons Hearst and Pulitzer. This competition ultimately lead to the Spanish-American War and led to the phrase yellow journalism.— a form of journalism that practices sensationalism, exaggeration and scandal mongering for profit or other objectives.
Therefore, It would be wiser to treat all posts and articles on all media as an opinion and/or propaganda. This way one can test and verify it before believing it.
The advent of digital media and social media has enabled more people to write, post and share their opinion and propaganda. This is for the simple and constant reason that opinion and propaganda move people and move nations to act. I would like think that Jose Rizal and friends had this in mind when they launched the Propaganda Movement and brought about La Solidaridad, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterrismo and other similar works.
Now in our present time where there are two opposing political forces in the Philippines — the Pro-Duterte (ProDU30) and the Anti-Duterte (AntiDU30) and the war has been going on since the presidential elections.
The story so far …
In the latest development some members of the ProDU30 forces — — has come up with a a thorough, compelling and convincing post that alleges that a number of AntiDU30-blogs and websites are tied to a certain webmaster who not only worked for the past government but was one of the most vocal supporter of the past government and its standard-bearer in the last election; and at present quite active on social media against the present government. The proof two: (i) the domain registry of the websites/blogs concerned ; And (ii) and one google adsense id number of said webmaster on those sites.
Take time to read these articles and posts:
The road to #CocoyGate. The Manila Times, Sasot, Sass Rogando. The Manila Times. Manila times.Net. ON OCTOBER 3, 2017. http://www.manilatimes.net/the-road-to-cocoygate/354227/ . Date accessed: October 3,2017.
#Cocoygate: Senator Sotto HERE’S THE GUY YOU ARE LOOKING FOR. THINKING PINOY, SASS ROGANDO SASOT & VOVPH . thinkingpinoy.net. http://www.thinkingpinoy.net/2017/09/cocoygate-senator-sotto-heres-guy-youre.html. DATE ACCESSED OCTOBER 3, 2017.
Now the discussion and debate after the revelation covered a number of things in the technical and data privacy sides. If ever this was to reach a court or a recognized body involved in the technical and data privacy side of things it will be interesting. However, A look at the political and social media side of things .
To this blogger it seems that the said webmaster is linked to all the mentioned AntiDU30 blogs in the expose. Nearly all of these blogs are anonymous. As to the nature of the said webmaster s link to these blogs one cannot be sure. There are a number of things possible like: (i) The webmaster could have just sold the domain names. (ii) The webmaster could be hosting the sites in his servers. (iii) The webmaster could have designed and written the code for the blogs. (iv) The webmaster could have created content for the sites. A number of possibilities — one could be true, two could be true or all could be true.
But what is interesting from a political and social media perspectives are the implications of this expose.
Is it a network of AntiDU3- blogs tied to the webmaster?
Is it a concentrated effort among friends and comrades?
Is their someone financing this endeavor?
Is there a puppet master behind this?
is there a financier behind this?
So many implications and questions.
Even if the answer behind those questions yes surely nothing wrong with that.
The revelation though unmasked the network and propaganda machinery of a particular AntiDU30 group. The irony in this is that ever since the elections the AntiDU30 forces and other critics have been hitting the other side as an army of trolls and as part of a propaganda machine. What the expose reveals a similar network and a similar propaganda machine exist . It existence however circumstantial it may be is damning to those accusing and condemning their opponents of such tactics. It is like a preacher speaking against whoring being caught in coitus with a whore n a bordello.
A case of the kettle calling the pot black.
Now, Does the expose and subsequent exchanges on social media and possible Senate investigation a witch hunt? No. One must remember investigations were being called for by the critics and AntiDU30 forces long before the expose. One must also remember the distinction between a threat, a comment, a criticism and a heckle. The exchanges and posts right now arising are all par for the course.
Now, as for the content of those blogs. Whatever right one enjoys offline one should also enjoy online. The freedom of expression is thus respected. But rights are counterbalanced. Freedom of expression is tempered by statutes and laws like the libel law — which at its most basic you are responsible for what you have created.
The War of Opinion and Propaganda
What then can we make of this chapter of the War of Opinion and Propaganda?
First, It reminds us that it is all opinion and propaganda. Do I think opinion and propaganda is bad? No. The Propaganda Movement did not think so why should I. I think calling it opinion and propaganda is more honest.
Second, It is OK to participate and wage a war of opinion and propaganda as long as you are aware of the consequences and danger it brings. In other words be prepared to be questioned, ridiculed, heckled and sued for libel.
Third, Anonymity online is not a guaranteed protection. It is not also a license to be reckless and imprudent.
Fourth and last, In the realm of opinion and propaganda readers and viewers must be wary — so readers beware.