Try to google “journalist killings” and the first entry you’ll see is the Philippine Maguindanao massacre. Google is known to be the most famous search engine in the internet and anyone who would be interested to type journalist or killings would always end up knowing the incident that took place in the country.
Just when the outbreak of the Maguindanao massacre hyped the Philippine and international community, facebook is a good venue to get reactions from people regarding the issue. “Where is justice?” was written in my new profile status.
Surprisingly, ridicule and serious comments thread the status box. There were friends who wrote jokes on justice but there were also who take heed in responding the question.
The new media’s inclination with users other than the audience gives a direct and fast feedback from personal friends. The television, radio and newspaper give a one-sided relay of information and at times, biased points.
New media’s user-subjectivity paved way to citizen journalism as well. In a report from ABS-CBN Thursday night in Magandang Gabi Bayan, the first photograph of the Maguindanao massacre was sent by a Boto patroller. Media men at that time were too scared to report anything about the abduction and killing, which is why a common citizen took a photograph of a body found in the site, with his cellular phone.
On November 23, 2009 an email from a concerned citizen in Maguindanao has also triggered the announcement of the brutal killings, when the only source at that moment is the rival clan of the alleged warlords– Ampatuans.
Back to facebook updates, the status box has been continually receiving comments from friends who are socially active. Social networking sites (SNS) have created avenues for forums and critiques of the said incident connect to the people abroad.
If you miss to see any of the given examples above, try catching up on youtube. My sister, who just arrived from a conference outside Cebu, has no clue of what had recently happened in the country.
Television is number one in audience-use because the more we move to a generation of technology, the more people’s attention span decreases as we become more visual. Drop off boring lectures, students or any persons prefer visual materials when listening. Thus makes YouTube second to television (knowing that not every Filipino has access to internet) since the latter is a passing medium while the former has an archive where you could see the videos over and over again (unless it is deleted of course).
Facing such advantages come drawbacks. My sister received an e-mail from a friend in Laos. The e-mail states that she is in London for the time being and she lost all her pertinent documents, which means she needed money and she’s talking about thousands of euros.
The internet as an uncensored, deregulated medium, houses cyber predators and scammers; The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization released an internet-use protocol. It states that users should filter or gate-keep any information they receive from anybody or read in the websites.
Responsible internet-use should start with each one of us. It is important to take precautionary measures when receiving and sharing information with cyber friends, knowing how powerful the new media works.