Then and Now: Freedom of Speech via the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted by Paolo Chikiamco On June - 6 - 2013

At present, it seems Pugad Baboy creator Pol Medina, Jr. is being penalized for the above comics strip (suspended, or fired, it’s not yet clear). For context, head over to Komikero.com.

I don’t want to talk about how the way PDI has reacted to the strip perpetuates the dangerous and malignant impression that homosexuality is somehow a slur, nor how their singling out Medina for punishment when the strip was approved by their editors is incoherent and inequitable. I doubt anything I say will be met by anything but a bland “thank you for your comments :D ” from their social media team. What I do want to do is let PDI talk to itself, in a sense.

These are statements that the Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial team has published or allowed to be published in their newspaper, on the topic of Freedom of Speech. Take them as you will.

“Who should go to prison for speaking his mind? In the modern democratic project, the answer is clear: No one. The conviction of social activist Carlos Celdran for the obscure crime of “offending the religious feelings,” then, raises many questions. Is the Philippines a modern democracy? Is freedom of speech a living civic virtue? Are religious feelings (not even religious beliefs or articles of faith, but the much more ambiguous notion of religious feelings) sufficient to block political dissent or free expression?” — Editorial, “Notoriously Offensive,” 1/31/2013. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/46003/notoriously-offensive#ixzz2VQg6vEgG

“The first fallacy is the view that if many people find it offensive, then it can be censored. Susmaryopsep. That’s precisely why we have the Bill of Rights! It protects, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, “not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”” — Raul C. Pangalangan, “Freedom for the Thought We Hate,” 8/11/2011. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/9801/%e2%80%98freedom-for-the-thought-we-hate%e2%80%99#ixzz2VQgZTQl3

“The test of a society’s commitment to freedom of expression lies in its defense of marginalized forms of speech. I say in class, free speech is for speech that you hate, not for speech that you like. The logic of the principle is simple: we don’t need to protect society’s treasured ideas and institutions—they pose no danger to us; we pose no danger to them. It is for those forms of expression that disturb, offend, and even anger us that we actually need freedom of expression, as these types of speech are those in danger of being suppressed if society were not serious enough about a democratic culture.” — Florin T. Hilbay, “The crucible of free speech,” 8/15/2011. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/9981/the-crucible-of-free-speech#ixzz2VQh0oLbE

“If any citizen is free to openly agree, but not to openly disagree, then freedom of expression does not prevail. An individual’s option to openly express disagreement without risk of any personal injury is a key part of the definition of a free society.” — Mahar Mangahas, “Disagreement and Freedom,” 3/3/2012. Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/24193/disagreement-and-freedom#ixzz2VQhRMnVM

One Response to “Then and Now: Freedom of Speech via the Philippine Daily Inquirer”

  1. Kenneth Yu says:

    “Her preliminary findings show that this cartoon strip had been rejected for its insensitivity when it was submitted in April 2013 but, due to a mix-up in the comics section, was picked up for publication.”

    If the printing in the publication was due to a mix-up because the strip was originally rejected, then the error is on whoever was behind the mix-up. So why is the cartoonist being punished? Shouldn’t the one being punished be the one who erroneously approved this rejected strip for printing?

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