(the above sentences were copy and paste from charter 7 of animal farm, modified to illustrate the present state of blame game perfected by Lim Guan Eng)
By Melanie LimWide Awake
Sunday, April 15, 2012
THE advent of the Internet has unfortunately ushered in an era of unparalleled rudeness. The latest craze to hit cyberspace seems to be celebrity bashing.
Really, is there any justification for calling anyone’s baby ugly? If you think someone’s baby is ugly, why don’t you just keep it to yourself? After all, what do you hope to achieve by expressing this view on cyberspace?
Would you actually call anyone “ugly” to her face? Why are people mysteriously more hateful online than in person? Why can they say stuff they cannot say face-to-face with such vicious eloquence behind the cloak of their screens?This reckless ranting on the Internet is soaring uncontrollably. And the practice of online bashing is dangerously being considered by many to be a part of their Constitutional right to free expression.
While I would be the last person to curtail anyone’s right to free speech or expression, I would like to caution those who choose to exercise this right with thoughtless abandon that the freedom to express one’s self, as with all other freedoms, come with accountability.
And this is what troubles me. Where is the accountability of anonymous commentaries? How can we know the motivations behind foul remarks if those who express them hide their identities behind fake names?
This new-found bravura is fake. When you express your opinion but hide behind a pseudonym, you are no better than a coward. Ranting anonymously is completely without integrity. Bashing behind a fake name and face is absolutely shameless.
Some people believe that the Constitution gives them the right to express themselves with impunity. Well, I say, if you want to exercise your right to express yourself, go ahead and knock yourself out.
Express your opinion. But please own it.
Put your name and face beside what you post. Fight a fair fight. If you think celebrities, politicians or even journalists are fair game then play by the rules. You know who we are. Show us who you are. Then, we can fight fair.
By expressing your views online, you submit yourself to the judgment of the online public. And the only way for the community of netizens to be able to appropriately assess the integrity of your remarks is for you to reveal your true identity. Without your true identity, your true intentions and motivations cannot come to light.
Only cowards hide behind the cloak of anonymity. If you do not have the courage to allow yourself to be justifiably praised for the hero or vilified for the heel that you are, then your comments are without merit.
Real courage means using your REAL name and putting your REAL face online. Only then do you acquire the right to speak your mind on the net. Of course, earning the right to speak your mind offers no protection for the inevitable consequences of free expression.
I do not propose that we regulate online commentary only that we recognize common courtesy. I do not propose that we restrict free expression only that we remember we are not a community of cold, expressionless avatars.
The advent of technology should be no reason for us to regress as human beings.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 15, 2012.