The Volatilian™ invites all its followers to have their say. We believe that to get the best grasp on the social issues that affect us all, the net should be cast as wide as possible. You’ll get less fish from a rock pool than you will from a lake, or better still, the open sea. That’s why we’re launching a new section – “Your Forum” – which belongs to you; it’s the place you can go to have your say.
You won’t be censored; you won’t be blocked – we’ve never done that and we never will. Just as everyone in a democracy has the right to his/her own vote, everyone in a free society is also entitled to have his/her views heard. Obvious trolls, however, will be restricted; they have no place in a free and open debate. Apart from that, there’ll be no gagging, no blue pencil, no selection process. No chains around your thoughts.
Here’s the format for Your Forum. Each week we’ll pose a question which will be based on a current topic – it could be anything: political, social, economic, cultural. You’re then free to express how you feel about that issue. We’ll participate ourselves, but that’s just us engaging in your forum like anyone else. Read down and you’ll find the first topic.
But here’s why we want to do this. In the days when we had newspapers we could trust – if anyone can remember that far back – part of what they encouraged was something known as “readership participation”. The once-familiar ‘Letters to the Editor’ columns were specifically for that purpose. It was a way of letting readers express their views which, in turn, would elicit the views of other readers. It allowed anyone to participate in the analysis of the news. It widened the debate.
Readers could express their concerns and frustrations on the issues of the day. For many it was the only way they could do that. This encouraged a healthy dialogue from right across society – not just from select groups or individuals – and, as such, added to the energy of the news coverage. It also broadened understanding of those issues. That’s what we hope will happen here.
However as mainstream media became more politicised – lacing to the Left like lemmings – they became more propagandist and less journalistic. Increasingly, newspapers and broadcasters practiced the dark art of self-censorship. They only wanted to hear from readers and viewers who supported their editorial stance. Thus, views that didn’t conform to their political direction were not published. They were put on the spike. Those that did were given plenty of space. So, effectively, “readership participation” became “readership manipulation”.
Now we come to the present day and the new medium for news distribution; the Internet. This is the home of social media which has blossomed – largely – because of the deaf ear of the mainstream media which have long treated their audiences like mindless cattle. This has become the prime space for independent news sites, bloggers and social-networking platforms which allow people – ordinary people – to express their views.
But the Internet’s also become the space for mainstream media – particularly the Western variety – which was forced to beat a retreat from the world of print for a series of reasons, including: falling advertising revenues; unsustainable print costs and desperately plunging circulation numbers. To greater and lesser degrees these were all failing media; for them the Internet was a lifeline for survival. They could drastically cut their overheads and live to fight another day.
But the fact is, many of these publications had already burned their readerships long before they took themselves online. What’s remarkable though is that they haven’t learned from the errors of their past. The very things that saw their popularity go down the toilet in the bricks-and-mortar world they’ve brought with them to the ether world. Here, though, the mainstream is unable to manipulate thought quite the same – though, as we know, that’s not through want of trying.
They continue to self-censor; they continue to be organs of progressive propaganda, having little or no regard for journalistic integrity, and they continue to treat their audiences like mindless cattle.
We believe strongly in freedom of expression as we do in freedom of the press. Unfortunately, by a bitter irony, it’s the press – specifically, the Liberal (meaning bigoted and intolerant) mainstream media – that’s made it its business to expunge that freedom.
What’s certain to us is that our followers won’t find a forum in any of those places where their views will be respected – unless, of course, they happen to reflect the same views of those mass media.
That sort of ‘editorial masturbation’ – for want of a better phrase – however, contributes zero to any discussion. It’s just more social engineering by the progressive Left; a sinister form of eugenics that seeks to brainwash societies across the map and create a their-size-fits-all one-world order. But more of that some other time.
Meanwhile, back to Your Forum. To launch this we have a double-barreled question for you:
Should the Philippines re-introduce the death penalty for serious drug crimes, and should it be extended to other heinous crimes such as child-killing and the butchering of kidnap victims by terrorist gangs?
Some brief background. Capital punishment which is provided for under the Revised Penal Code was “abolished” by President Corazon Aquino, re-instated by her successor, Fidel V. Ramos, placed under a de facto moratorium by his successor, Joseph Estrada, scrapped by the next president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, left scrapped by her successor, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, and its reinstatement is now being pushed for by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In March, the Philippine House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a Bill that would restore the death penalty – 216 members voted for it; 54 against – though this proposed legislation had been very much watered down from an original proposal that gave a list of 21 crimes where capital punishment could be prescribed. The Bill that passed and is now awaiting reading time in the Senate, limited the use of the death penalty to serious drug-related offences.
Those in favour of the earlier proposal – Duterte included – had wanted to include, among others, the following non-drug crimes: qualified piracy, qualified bribery, parricide (the killing of a parent or close relative), murder, infanticide, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence, destructive arson, plunder, treason.
Right now, the penalty for heinous crimes in the Philippines is “reclusion perpetua”, meaning permanent imprisonment – though in practice it doesn’t mean that at all; it means jail terms ranging from 20 years plus 1 day to 40 years.
Serious and heinous crime is an abiding problem in the Philippines. It affects not just the immediate victims but also their relatives and friends, their workmates, their schools, their churches and their communities.
The re-instatement – or not – of the death penalty, this is a major issue for the Filipino people. It is only right therefore that their views should be heard. This is Your Forum. Go for it.