Article

The concept of ‘opposition journalist’ is generally doubtful

Written by The Frontier Post

Dmitry Kosyrev

If anyone else is paying attention to who is given the Nobel Peace Prize, then here’s a riddle for you: the website of an opposition journalist, the winner of this prize for 2021, has just been closed. What are we talking about? Well, it’s clear what about the Filipino Maria Ressa. True, she shared the award of this year with Dmitry Muratov, the editor-in-chief of the Russian Novaya Gazeta, but there will not be a single word about him further – only about Ressa and her website Rappler, who fought for a long time with President Rodrigo Duterte and anyone else just to fight.
A lot of lawsuits were constantly filed against the site and its leader (libel, tax evasion, etc.), but the one that claimed that the ban on foreign (in this case Americans) ownership of the Philippine media was violated fired. That is, simply Maria Ressa is convicted of being a foreign agent. This is not so new – encyclopedias call her “American-Filipino journalist”, she grew up and studied in the USA. As, however, and many other representatives of the local educated class.
Interestingly, her site was closed exactly on the eve of the end of the presidential term of her main enemy, Rodrigo Duterte. He stepped down on Thursday, and now everyone is waiting to see what the new president, Ferdinand Marcos, will do to the scandalous woman. Maybe he will pardon the condemned woman, although it remains to be seen whether he has the authority to do so given the intricate local administrative system.
It so happened that Maria’s career was closely connected with the presidency of Duterte. It is clear that now the Philippine media and the whole country in general are summing up the results of the rule of this man, very similar to Donald Trump. And a pictureit turns out like this: just like under Trump, people began to live better, many economic projects were launched – what did not work before, now it works. But freedom of the media has become much less, repressions in the medical field (coronavirus and not only) have embittered many, corruption has not been defeated (and it will never be defeated anywhere if it is part of the national culture). And most importantly, drugs are not defeated. There are even more of them on the streets, despite the president’s order to “shoot on the spot” drug dealers known to the police who allegedly oppose arrest. Thank you, now we know that the popular idea of extrajudicial executions doesn’t work.
In general, it turns out something like 50 to 50. Someone’s performance results are even worse. But here is the deceased site Rappler – there in journalistic materials there were no 50:50, but exclusively black paint: not a country, but a nightmare, not a regime, but horror, predictable corruption and murders everywhere. Officially, 6248 people were shot on the spot (which is a lot – and, we repeat, all in vain), but, according to Maria and other human rights activists, 30 thousand or more. Tell me: will you visit such a site if you want to seriously understand what is happening in the Philippines ? Maximum – you will compare it with others. And this is where the really serious lessons of the whole story begin with resources like Rappler, and there are a great many of them around the world. For starters, this is not journalism at all, but radical political activity.
Where Maria Ressa studied, in the USA, young talents are actively taught that a journalist must be in opposition to the authorities, he exists for this, and if he suddenly agrees with the authorities, so much the worse for him. True, if you look at what journalists from a democratic religion are doing somewhere in The New York Times, then their opposition is somehow not felt there. But to rot the authorities in other countries and demoralize foreign societies, including buying some media resources there, is normal, they even give Nobel Prizes for this, supposedly related to peace, and not to civil wars. And such people are made human rights icons, inaccessible models of journalism.
The concept of “opposition journalist” is generally doubtful. If in some media, even extremely truthful, you see only a carefully selected black part of the truth, then this is no longer the media (we recall), but an agitation platform from which hatred is inflated in society and despair is sown. At best, this is psychotherapy for people with a weak mind, who, if they see a reality that does not fit into their black picture of the worldview, they will cover their eyes and ears with their hands in horror: is that, have I been wrong all my life? And here, we recall, we are only talking about selective truth, and there is also outright and blatant lies.
But after all, in any country there are many different people who are not necessarily inclined to admire agitators who sow hatred. And just Maria Ressa’s Rappler turned out to be a social laboratory for the Filipinos, where at least two different hatreds converged: for the country and for those who consider it a complete horror. It was a site built on the principle of a social network, that is, there were many more angry letters from participants than speeches by journalists (and this, in general, who – how to distinguish them with such a policy of the site?). But opponents got to him too. And it turned out that the rage of the two sides went off scale in all plots. Ressa, of course, said that Duterte’s “troll factory” was working against her, and even led an investigation into one. But who will believe the investigator if he is busy fitting real or dubious facts to a predetermined bright and correct idea? Maybe, “factory” was and is. But there are just people who sincerely hate Mary.
And now, at the dawn of a new era of Philippine politics, they are considering, among other things, the phenomenon of forced opposition, as it were, journalism and the media in general. They give out such, for example, thoughts: we need to reinvent journalism anew. Because there has been a “fundamental shift in our information ecosystem”, and trolls, trash bloggers and other lies will not go anywhere. And this, in fact, is a disaster – they started with the idea that the media is a free market for ideas, but ended up with the failure of such a market strategy. Those who sensationalize the public are rewarded, while those who are smart and understand the subtleties of situations are ignored by this market, if not punished. How to be? Author’s answer: we need more “healthy positive”,
He probably thinks he said something new and smart. Filipinos generally believe that they are the only ones in the world, there were no others like them and there are none.

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