Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Ang bawat tao’y may karapatan sa kalayaan sa mapayapang pagpupulong at pagsasamahan.
Walang sino mang pipiliting sumapi sa isang kapisanan
After 63 years, this same universal human right is being attacked by naysayers opposed to the creation of an association of Filipino bloggers (some called it national bloggers association). They stated several reasons including exclusivity, exclusion of regions, possible dictation from the association, among others. Although, these are valid arguments that deserves to be heard (and they are), these are also arguments of people who are clearly missing the point.
THE MANIFESTO OF THE PROPOSED ASSOCIATION CAN BE FOUND HERE
First, I did not see in the manifesto presented by one of its main proponents, Tonyo Cruz anything concerning “controlling” or “regulating” what member-bloggers write about.
Secondly, yes, there is exclusion and exclusivity, the qualifying factor is one must be Filipino and a blogger. If there weren’t any qualifying factor then it would not be an association in the first place. Clearly, technology bloggers are not qualified to join the Irish Food Bloggers Association, right? Last time I checked, the bloggers in Visayas and Mindanao are Filipinos too, ergo welcome to join in this association (if they want to).
Thirdly, I don’t see why some critics of the association would hastily jump into conclusions that there are exclusions in membership just because they were not emailed by Tonyo Cruz. Its impossible for one to have the contacts of ALL the Filipino bloggers (if he did, then I’d be scared). It is possible however, to spread the invitation online to reach more bloggers (that’s how it reached me).
The argument on this association potentially dictating what member bloggers would be writing about and how is a more serious concern that needs to be addressed clearly.
In the same human rights document I cited above, freedom of expression, choice, creed, and beliefs are also explicitly protected. It would be contradictory for a blogging association to dictate what a member can or cannot write. It goes against the manifesto presented above. However, being an association, representation and misrepresentation is clearly an issue. With that, I would like to propose some suggestions on how such association can effectively operate.
The association must NOT create an “official” stand on things and issues not included in the manifesto. Doing so will polarize the membership and scare-off other bloggers or groups of bloggers from joining and/or cooperating with the association. This means that this association of Filipino bloggers should not make stands on political, religious, regional, or any issue that there is divisiveness. This includes, election-endorsements, official stands on issues like RH bill, death penalty, et al. They can and should only do so on issues directly and explicitly concerning the ones in the manifesto. I hope that the leaders and members (once finalized) of this association take this suggestion very seriously as this will ensure that the members’ freedoms to speech are protected and that no one gets alienated
If the association can do this, then there is really nothing to fear with this initiative. It would also prove naysayers wrong on their accusations.
I fully support this initiative. This entry is filed under “A Better PH Through Technology” because I believe this will be beneficial for the country. A better PH is a country where technology is used to highlight unity in diversity instead of chaos in divisiveness.
Posted via WordPress for BlackBerry.
- One country, one blogging community: A Manifesto of Filipino bloggers and netizens (draft manifesto) (influentialblogger.net)
- Reactions to the proposed Philippine Bloggers’ Association (globalvoicesonline.org)
- National Bloggers’ Association? (chryztyners.wordpress.com)
- What sort of a bloggers Association? (The Philippine Blog Press | blogpress.ph)