News, not nuisance

I have agreed with quite a number of Star editorials, but yesterday’s was just plain wrong.

On a busy Friday, payday, traffic was again at a standstill in many parts of the city of Manila. Why? Because there was another anti-government rally in Mendiola. The usual people who surely hold no steady jobs and don’t go to school since they can afford to stage rallies daily were augmented by a small bunch of individuals suffering from acute lack of public attention.

The argument from inconvenience has been raised before; it does not acquire new force merely because the particular inconvenience in question happened on a "payday." Almost by definition, the use of the democratic space available to citizens may inconvenience others who live in that space. That is simply the price of democracy.

The closing off of certain streets in Manila to honor Filipinos who have brought honor not only to the city but to the country, such as Manny Pacquiao or Lara Quigaman, also caused some inconvenience. Should we allow this kind of inconvenience only because there are no water cannons or fundamental civil liberties involved?

To be sure, the main headline in yesterday’s issue was about the rally: the son of ex-Vice President Teofisto Guingona called the violent dispersal an act of tyranny and oppression. But that choice of story does not, at least in my view, redeem yesterday’s editorial, or the false dichotomy foisted on the reader by its last paragraph.

The protesters last Friday, however, were not just after expressing a message in their usual inarticulate, infantile way that leaves no room for intelligent debate. They wanted maximum disruption of other people’s lives. Was their dispersal state repression? Only if you think being a public nuisance is an inalienable right.

4 Comments

Filed under Readings in Media, Readings in Politics

4 responses to “News, not nuisance

  1. eman

    I have not read the Star ever since Teddy Benigno died. He was the only decent writer there. The others are obviously paid lackeys. I have noticed since more than a year ago that it has replaced the Bulletin as the puppy paper.

  2. fandong

    nagbabasa ka pa ba ng philippine star?

  3. The rally was in Recto avenue, not in Mendiola. No rally has been held in Mendiola for quite a long time already because of the police policy of blocking protesters at the foot of Don Chino Roces bridge.

    Traffic was not really that bad near Recto because classes are over and it is semestral break for college students.

    (rallies in Recto are also symbolical because it is the national center of fake diplomas, passports, affidavits, certificates, etc in the same way we have a fake President in the nearby Malacañang.)

    If Mayor Atienza and police are really sincere in protecting the motorists and preventing traffic, then they must allow street protests in Mendiola – in front of La Consolacion and College of Holy Spirit.

    Star must blame Atienza and police for the traffic they are complaining.

  4. abdulrahman ismail

    Philippine Star’s problem is it can be bought for a dime. Malacanang spinsters always have their way on page one and op-eds. Yes, its really a star…for those twisters of the truth

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s