Morales: Timid press is a clear and present danger to democracy
MANILA, Philippines — Stand up and let your voice be heard against the “decay of democracy” in the country.
Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Monday issued this challenge to Filipinos as she joined efforts by a group of journalists and communicators to fight disinformation pervading on social media.
Like in other countries, Morales said it was unfortunate that cyberspace had become a tool in propagating lies and hatred against those seeking accountability from government officials in the Philippines.
The retired Supreme Court associate justice said media literacy should be supported as a “first line of defense” against disinformation and misinformation which, she said, were actually “forms of corruption.”
Decay of democracy
“Our democracy is sick and truth-telling is the only antidote,” Morales told the Second Conference on Democracy and Disinformation in Taguig City.
“What should we do to arrest the decay [of democracy]? We should assert our rights. We should not allow fear to overcome us. If you’re afraid, then the more reason your rights will be trampled upon,” she warned.
“I call upon all of you to raise your voice, to come up with dissent. Your voice should be counted. You can’t [speak] in whispers. You should not be afraid. By raising your dissent, there’s no crime committed,” she said.
Morales, who had called out President Rodrigo Duterte despite the fact that his son-in-law, Manases Carpio, was her nephew, also urged journalists to remain committed in uncovering the truth and exposing the lies in government.
“Our country’s democratic quotient has turned from bad to worse. Perhaps this highlights the urgency for us to stand up in front of the mirror with lights on now,” she said.
“The absence of check-and-balance mechanisms plus a timid press present a clear and present danger to democracy. One just has to rule by fear and intimidation to impose tyranny,” she said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.