Robredo’s war on trolls endangers freedom of speech

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Freedom of expression can only be absolute. Otherwise it is pointless. Irrelevant.

These are the words of a research analyst and political science instructor who wrote an article about Vice President Leni Robredo’s “war on trolls” on Huffington Post.
Photo credits: Global Sisters Report

Jan Albert Suing opined that “in this day and age when being offended has become a perfectly acceptable justification to suppress someone’s freedom of speech, scarce are the people who advocate for the unconditionality of the political right.”

Robredo declared a campaign against trolls whom she claims are trying to silence her. As the person who holds the second highest position in the Philippines, her “war on trolls” comes off as an attack on free speech given that it was Robredo herself who urged the public to “fight for the right to speak dissent”, as Suing quoted.

Suing asserts that democracies are not rooted in protecting an “arbitrarily defined regime of truth” which Robredo said in a speech to be the basis of success, instead democracy depends on the “health of our political discourse.” Even the Philippine Constitution protects the right to free speech.

An important point in Suing’s article is his emphasis on the importance of understanding that one does not turn into a troll just because one express beliefs contrary to the majority. Robredo’s camp is guilty of reporting or flagging accounts as trolls just because it airs opinions contrary to theirs.

“Such strategy rarely works, nor does ignoring them. Silence is, in itself, a reaction. When a person tries to engage you in a discussion and you pull away, that person wins the argument. They get what they want,” Suing asserts adding that in these instances “engage, do not censor.”

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As a healthy practice in democracy, Suing says that “all opinions deserve the equal opportunity to be heard” because “any form of censorship retards the progress of political discourse.”

Suing cites President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous speech to the Catholic Church as an example of democracy and discourse, ““I may not agree with your statement but I will defend your right to say it,” and in these times of great contradictions and heated exchange of opinions, Suing asserts that censorship and silencing is a threat.

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Robredo’s war on trolls endangers freedom of speech Robredo’s war on trolls endangers freedom of speech Reviewed by Newsinfo Learn on March 07, 2017 Rating: 5

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