Adam Nisbet, in his paper “Online Networks and Political Participation within the Public Sphere” for Georgetown University, had said it so eloquently: online networks have contributed greatly to “deliberative democracy” because they allow everyone to have his or her own voice. Moreover, online media platforms such as blogs increase the level of participation as they give Internet users the ability to share their opinion and edit their respective content.
In the Philippine arena, Dr. Ronald Meinardus, the man behind “My Liberal Times,” believes that political bloggers in the country still belong to the minority.
But that does not mean their voices are completely overpowered and ignored:
- During the 2007 Senate elections, our current president Benigno Aquino III wrote a letter addressed to the entire Filipino blogging community, asking for support for his candidacy. During the 2010 elections, he was one of the few politicians who comprehensively used online media, including blogs.
- In 2008, the Manila Blog Times shared the move of political bloggers headed by Manuel Quezon III (“Daily Dose”) to include the scrapped BJE (Bangsamoro Judicial Entity) MOA into Arroyo’s impeachment case.
- In Carla Montemayor’s interview with Alecks Pabico for her paper “Journalist-Bloggers and the Public Sphere in the Philippines: Exploratory Questions,” the website administrator for PCIJ blog revealed that there were more than a million downloads from June 2005 to March 2007 in relation to the Gloriagate scandal. The figure excluded the downloaded files from other private blogs and websites.
We may be lagging behind other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom with regards to plogging (political blogging), but the political voice of the Filipino people may be gaining more volume these past few years.
The upcoming forum entitled “Filipino Blogosphere and Political Participation”, initiated by SIRCA in partnership with Cebu Bloggers Society, Inc., therefore is very relevant as it aims to provide information on topics and issues such as the following:
- The present condition of political blogging in the country
- The result of a study conducted between political bloggers and their readers
- The motivation for political blogging
- Other modes of political participation
- Political attitude
The forum hopes to provide a venue for discussion and exchange of ideas about political blogging in the Philippines.
This article is written by Milafel Hope Awe Dacanay.